Implementation of Intent
Monitoring Intent of Service Agreements
and Support Coordination
One of the most important factors, if not the most important factor in support services for people with disabilities is the support being provided as intended. This factor being especially important for those with high support needs and those unable to self advocate effectively. Even for those with quite low support needs, as they are mostly not believed when reporting questionable support service provision.
Since time immemorial extensive energy and financial resources have been spent on support service intent for people with disabilities. State governments produced this by the ton, as does the NDIA for NDIS service providers. Yet, but a fraction of this energy and resources has or will be spent on ensuring service delivery consistently equals service intent right at the service points.
Under traditional block funded captive market support service provision, stakeholders with service level and quality concerns for their person with disabilities have had to prove beyond reasonable doubt, sufficient to stand up in the supreme court, their findings. Rather than the service provider being obligated to show the consumer (person with disabilities and their stakeholder) they are providing services as intended.
Pending the complete rollout of the NDIS, the traditional state government complaint services will remain. With the exception of VCAT, all independent statutory bodies who handle complaints in Victoria have no directive powers. They can only conciliate – chat over the problem hoping the service provider will come to the party. Even so, taking complaints to theses bodies is a very stressful for consumers.
Complaint matters take months, with consumers grilled to the Nth degree. The matter finally dismissed as the traditional complaint processes are designed and intended to discourage the bringing of complaints. Processes very effective at driving consumers away. Sending the message, “Don’t bother us!”
In total contrast, most businesses in the marketplace want to hear customer evaluation of their services, as these are tools to service improvement and the cheapest service evaluation. So we trust that when all disability support services are under the NDIS and the marketplace, competition to offer and provide good service will occur.
Although the NDIS process promotes choice and control, service entitlement and the consumer being valued, it will take some considerable time for this mindset to takeover from the traditional, block-funded, captive-market mindset of the consumer is a charity case lucky to get anything.
A key factor helping the consumer achieve the NDIS intent, that all their support services be consistently within their intent, is the NDIS “Service Agreement” documenting exactly the support services to be provided – especially when this agreement process is ratified within the NDIS Act 2013.
There were no service agreements prior to the NDIS. Group home consumers considered themselves lucky to get anything approaching the intent of state based care policies, standards and values. Service level and quality was totally reliant on direct care staff integrity. So something with the potential to hold the service provider accountable for service level an quality is a major breakthrough for consumers
The ‘Service Agreement’ is an agreement between the consumer and the service provider It should not be a one size fits all like, “this is what you will get” from the service provider. And not like the traditional “Residential Statement” in Victoria which is the service provider telling the consumer what they will get It should, also, not be a legal generic document which the consumer is expected to sign having had no input.
Support coordination is a scapegoat for NDIA planners who produce a plan based on little real understanding of the person for whom they are making it Then fund the plan without providing the intention of the funding components, saying this is the role of the support coordinator to try and make that for which they had no involvement, fit the needs of the participant.
Achieving service intent has always been a major problem. and will not lessen anytime soon. As more and more people have NDIS support funding in their pocket, services will become increasingly difficult to find and retain for participants. More demand than supply can equal questionable service quality.
It will be the role of the “Quality and Safeguarding Commissioner to ensure service delivery consistently equals the service intent as defined in the person’s service agreement, and why this agreement should spell out the intentions in detail.
Prior to the national quality and safeguarding commissioner, the states will hold this fort with their traditional investigative bodies, such as the “Disability Services Commissioner in Victoria”.
Achieving the said service intent could be difficult for the number of years before service supply exceeds demand, with good quality and safe guarding frequently difficult to achieve in this period. This is especially so if investigative bodies have little or no directive powers, and there are few penalties for service providers failing to ensure service delivery consistently equals or exceeds service intent.
In conclusion: The questions the NDIS are refusing to answer are, (a) “What benefit is there for group home residents under the NDIS?” And, (b) “Where is ‘Active Support’ funded in a NDIS ‘Shared Living SDA’ Plan?”
Residents living in group homes under the NDIS will have two basic service providers. SDA as the landlord, and SIL as the support service provider. And the NDIA have decreed there will be just one SIL service provider per group home. Not each resident having their own basic service provider/s.
Any SDA funding (Rent Subsidy, as the resident will pay just 25% of their DSP) will be paid directly from the NDIA to the SDA provider. The SIL funding is in the resident’s NDIS plan, with little more intent than carry on as under traditional block funding. Except, NDIA suggest there is funding in the plan for ‘Extras’. This raises question (b): “Where is ‘active support’ funded in the plan, or is this called ‘Extras’?”
There are four living components of group home living: Administration, Domestic Duties, Personal Care and Quality of Life Care (Active Support). Within traditional state based and block funded group home services, active support is/was included in the total support service funding per resident. So there was no need for ‘Extras’.
As it is well established that no one shall be worse off when moving to the NDIS from traditional state based and funded services, active support needs to be clearly identified in the resident’s NDIS plan. Not loosely called ‘Extras’.
Active support is not just community activities, it is resident interaction, engagement and development both inside and outside the home, and needs to be very well defined in the resident’s service agreement. As well as fully addressed and evaluated by the resident’s support coordinator. If not, the service is little more than mindercare for the resident.
Extra 1: Productivity Commission’s NDIS Cost Review – Submissions close 12 July
Extra 2: NDIS problems which must be addressed
Extra 3: The NDIS Mess by CEO Bowen
Extra 4: The NDIA say, “Look how good we are!” But not for those in group homes!
Extra 5: NDIS National Quality & Safeguards Commission
Extra 6: NDS on SIL
Extra 7: NDS on SDA
Extra 8: VCOSS Report on Housing for People with Disability
Extra 9: NDIS is an Opportunity to Reduce Abuse & Neglect
Extra 10: LISA NDIS Chat Room
NOTE: We are seeking contact with those living in group homes,
especially DHHS group homes under NDIS, and/or their families
to ascertain what they feel has improved under the NDIS.
LIFESTYLE IN SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION (LISA) INC.
Tel: 03-9434-3810: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Web: www.lisainc.com.au : www.lisa-aus.blogspot.com
NOTE: We are always interested in feedback and information;
general, specific, good or bad. If you wish anonymously:
Our mail address is, 73 Nepean Street, Watsonia, 3087