The foremost reason for NDIS (LINK), is to provide more funding to significantly reduce or eliminate the waiting list for services and equipment.
Equally important, is to ensure all people with a disability have an entitlement to services and equipment.
This is in contrast to the present 'charity hand-out', where people with a disability and their families are treated by government direct services, especially, as lucky to get anything, should feel eternally grateful and should never, ever, complain.
All people with a disability must have 'entitlement, entitlement and entitlement' to services and equipment.
This is not just as a general provision, but to ensure people with a disability and their families are treated as valued. As valued customers without whom service provider staff would have no job! And, these customers must receive proper and meaningful customer service at all times.
Although the NDIS provisions should ensure this directly, they do not! The Productivity Commission's initial direction relies almost totally on 'consumer power through money in their pocket', ISP funding, to drive marketplace service level and quality.
The non-government service providers, the CSOs, have been actively working towards a service provision which will address consumers with marketplace power. And there is an indication that government direct services are looking to continue to be direct service providers under NDIS, to protect and retain their bureaucratic, power-over-people, empires.
State government's make their supported accommodation services financially attractive to residents and their families, in comparison to CSO services. They are able to do this by keeping the CSOs underfunded (not fully funded). This forces the CSOs to charge residents more, pay their staff less and fund-raise.
This is not popular with many families, who would rather their family member was with government services, where there is always adequate funding and a sense of government security of tenure. And where families need to do nothing in support of their member! The trade-off is lack of consistent quality of life care and real customer service with government direct care services.
In their quest to provide direct care service within NDIS, state governments appear to be attempting to show they are mending their ways, with recent statements like -
Putting clients at the centre of service delivery Managed Support Service focuses on the client!
The trial of the new model of case management - the Managed Support Service - is underway in Dandenong, Geelong and South West Coast. The new approach places the client at the centre of planning, draws together the services they need and is sensitive to the needs of families. It is designed to build up an individual's or a family's existing capabilities, while addressing their immediate needs.
Departmental managed support key workers are already saying the new approach is more flexible and better for clients who experience it as an opportunity to meet their immediate needs and obtain sustained support to meet life aspirations. Early indications suggest that we are on the right track with the new approach
Families should be very cautious where government direct services are attempting to position themselves to be in the marketplace ready for NDIS customers. The traditional public service will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove the following traditional restrictive practice trappings, of being -
- Unable to change from its present 'reactive management' throughout, to proper proactive management, throughout,
- Unable to eliminate 'The Line' (staff 'lore', not management 'law' below house supervisor,
- Unable to accept ownership of complaints,
- Unable to accept guilt if there are any complaints against it,
- Unable to accept that its management & staff must see consumers as those without whom they would have no job.
- Unable to move its unwritten disability accommodation service philosophy of, Leave your family member with us, go away and never return! towards the philosophy of "Proactive Family Involvement!
- Unable to eliminate its bureaucratic philosophy of ignoring/avoiding/delaying the consideration and/or implementation of everything not its idea.
The Productivity Commission made two proposals for the distribution of NDIS entitlement funding to consumers, (a) by federal agencies or, (b) by state agencies.
The Commission erred on the side of retaining federal control. Whereas, the states appear to be baying for a 'bite of the action', so they can retain their power-over-people, and ensure 'entitlements' and 'consumer marketplace power' is well watered down - where services are little more, than more of what we have now.
With the current state government direct care group homes service-funded from state government bulk funding / general revenue, the Productivity Commission had just one answer to the statement: "If state funding is replaced by NDIS ISP packages for each resident, house funding will change from state to federal, but the service will remain the same - If it was poor before NDIS, it will be poor after!"
The Commission's answer was, "The resident/family who is not happy, can move. They now have control of their NDIS ISP - money in their pocket".
Therefore, in practice, government direct care services will remain, with all their questionable practices, as most government direct care residents and their families will hand-over their NDIS ISP to the government service and the status quo will remain.
We must trust the NDIA to have an intention the NDIS will do more than just produce 'more of the same'. Rather, that NDIS shall ensure servicelevel, quality and customer service is consistently at a standard where caring parents can feel comfortable to depart this world in peace.
Victoria Secures New Disability Accommodation, says Minister