The Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, is demanding a 50% increase in living expenses from its supported accommodation group home residents, to allow it to continue as a service provider under the NDIS, as well as help offset the state’s share of NDIS funding. This out-of-control government department is seeking to have its bread buttered both sides!
For years this department has made sure it had financial popularity to offset its very poor service record. This was done by underfunding the non-government services, so they have to charge their residents more to compensate for the shortfall in support-service funding provided to them by the department.
The department, consequently, being able to provide more support service funding to their own services, with their residents paying less than the residents of non-government services.
Whereas, now, the department’s priority is to stay a service provider under the NDIS. This means it has to take a lower support service fee to compete with non-government services. Having no scruples, the department is prepared to scalp its residents, in its desperate quest to stay as a service provider when all support service funding is from the NDIS. Yet it can be virtually guaranteed, the service level and quality will not change for the better in consequence of the proposed 50% increase in what DHS residents are currently paying.
Therefore, if the DHS stays as a service provider under the current public service, charity hand-out regime, developed under the block-funding culture, residents will eventually pay their NDIS, ISP, for similar department charity hand-out services.
Whereas if we consider the marketplace scenario, where the families of six residents in a supported accommodation group home are financially able to pay both the service fee and the accommodation (B&L) fee, “Would they not expect a first class service in every way, and with wall to wall customer service?” “Of course, they would! Indeed, they would insist it was!”
In total contrast, the captive market scenario is where the service fee is from government block funding or, in the case of the NDIS, from government in the form of an ISP, The natural question is, therefore, “Why is the captive market service not similar to the marketplace service?
In general, this is because service provider management and staff see residents and their families who take government funding, as bludging off the government. And consider residents and their families should feel eternally grateful for whatever the staff do or don’t do, and should never, ever, complain.
We ask the question, “Why is the level and quality of service so dependent on the funding source?” We suggest this is because service management and staff have a sense of safe employment in a captive market situation. Whereas in a marketplace situation, service management and staff feel responsibility is a requirement to retain their employment.
There is significant concern the captive market situation will not be broken with NDIS, ISPs. The captive market is far too entrenched to be enhanced by a mere change of funding source. An over-supply of service providers would be needed to make serious inroads into the captive-market culture.
Consequently, little more, than more of the same charity hand-out services, in contrast to entitlement services, will likely result from NDIS funded support services.