May or Must : Guidance or Direction
Implementation of disability support service intent is directly proportional to the use of such words within care policies, standards and practice at service points.
Traditional block funded disability support services in Victoria are/were intended to be provided within the very extensive and very comprehensive care policies, standards and values of the Department of Health and Human Services, Disability Accommodation Services (the department).
The department has always insisted that all non-government support services taking state government block support service funding must provide support services within the department’s extensive care policies, standards and values. Yet the department fails to hold its own direct care services to similar account.
Despite the onset of the NDIS, the department continues to directly manage more than half the group homes in the state – as it always has. Even continuing to self fund / block fund / in-kind fund their group homes in NDIS areas of the state. With their NDIS plan residents denied an NDIS service agreement. All very much business-as-usual.
Department management, and many of its public service direct care staff exploit the “May/Should” aspect, which is throughout the department’s care policies, standards and values to allow adherence flexibility – Staff can choose, so management can’t be held responsible. Whereas, management can be held responsible when the direction is, “Must”.
The “May” aspect is directly within policies or inferred within policies . Such as, “You ‘may/should’ do this or that”. Rather than. “You ‘must’ do this or that”. The intention being that of protecting department management from having to set, monitor and maintain direct care staff work value expectations to ensure service provision is consistently within the positive intention of the department’s very extensive and very comprehensive care policies, standards and values.
A classic example of department management keeping itself at arms length, is its failure to have a central safety and interaction policy for group home residents travelling in department mini buses. Occupational health and safety of residents is left to the whim of direct care staff, where the standard practice is, “Staff in the front, residents in the back”. Whereas, at least one staff member should be in the back with the residents for safety and interaction. Most non-government services have a firm, written policy.
The Disability Service Commissioner continued to promote the “May” aspect in his recent all day forum on abuse and neglect. The event promotion contained the statement, “Preventing and Responding to Abuse, Guidance for Victorian disability service providers”. Rather than, “Direction for Victorian disability service providers”.
Despite most people with intellectual and multiple disabilities have so little in their lives, and need so little to make their lives reasonable, the attitude of many service provider staff is they and their stakeholders should consider themselves lucky to be getting anything – a mindset from block funded service provision.
Whereas, the intention of the NDIS is the total reverse. Where consumers (people with disabilities and their stakeholders) are front, centre and valued. The main question is, “How long will non-government service providers take to change their mindset to that of consumers being valued?” This is especially relevant where many DHHS-DAS staff move, within the intended movement of DHHS-DAS group homes to non-government as public service attitudes are often well entrenched.
In this regard, it should be noted that the Productivity Commission is condemning in-kind / block funding. And, the KPMG is condemning the entrenched negative attitudes. We can only trust the, NDIS “Quality and Safeguarding Framework Commissioner will very actively move the disability support service mindset towards the consumer being front, centre and valued. And that all consumer complaints and concerns be very actively seen as tools to service improvement.
This is rather than the consumer having to navigate extensive bureaucratic hoops of fire with any service level and quality concern they may have. Frequently being told, “your concerns are your opinion” or just, “your comments have been noted”.
Will the NDIS funded services have any better service accountability than traditional block funded disability services?
Most disability services occur out of sight of scrutiny. Monitoring the implementation of intent relies on very limited areas which are open to manoeuvring and deceit. And where consumers are expected to prove their concerns/findings beyond reasonable doubt, sufficient to stand-up in the supreme court. This must stop under the NDIS!
Extra 1: Victoria says to hell with the NDIS – We will run our own show!
Extra2: Joint committee is seeking submissions and information.
Extra 3: Commissioned Study on NDIS Costs
Extra 4: Potential fraud of NDIA Funds and NDIS Participant Funds
Extra 5: NDIS information on service cost integrity and service agreements
Extra 6: A level playing field is not for NDIS participants
Extra 7: NDIS Rollout will be delayed – Staff shortages remain a problem
Extra 8: Productivity Commission condemns DHHS in-kind funding being used to support their group home residents as destroying incentive
Extra 9: Little NDIS benefit for residents of DHHS-DAS managed group homes who have NDIS plans
Extra 10: LISA Inc, NDIS Chat Room
NOTE 1: We are advised that NDIS Plans created by the NDIS can have their annual review done by the LAC. We are attempting to ratify this…… Stay tuned to LISA Chat
NOTE 2: 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.
Note 3: LISA Inc. Bulletins have been limited by the work needed to address DHHS intensive service accountability avoidance, determination to remain service providers under the NDIS and retain state disability policy within the NDIS.
LIFESTYLE IN SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION (LISA) INC.
Tel: 03-9434-3810 Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Web: www.lisainc.com.au : www.lisa-aus.blogspot.com
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