Seeking Rights, Not Avenues
Rights are Service Entitlements as Defined in Care Policies,
Standards and Values. Avenues are the Nightmare of
Bureaucratic Mazes Families have to Negotiate
People with intellectual and multiple disabilities, their families, guardians, advocates and friends have been seeking and battling to realise their reasonable human rights since time-immemorial.
Reasonable rights for those with special needs is not rocket science, but just plain common sense in most cases. Most of these rights are well defined in care policies, standards and legislation.
Yet we find disability service providers, government department bureaucrats and politicians using a huge percentage of their energy and resources implementing every trick in the book to block people from reasonable rights and needs. Forcing them to burn-out seeking compromise avenues through defences better than the green zone in Baghdad - or they give-up and accept the charity hand-out rather than entitlement.
The Department of Human Services in Victoria (the department) produces enormous volumes of very comprehensive care policies, standards and values defining the needs of people with disabilities. This is the show case, the front window, the firecrackers and balloons.
Whereas, behind this façade is a black-hole of hooded bureaucrats with master degrees in defence of the public service status quo to beat-off consumers who have reasonable service expectations that there shall be no disconnection between service intent and service delivery.
State government service intent for people with disabilities in Victoria is extensive and extremely comprehensive - being the Department of Human Service’s very extensive range of care policies, standards and values, in addition to their range of personal care standards for residents of supported accommodation group homes.
Yet this government department’s service delivery is almost totally dependent on the integrity of their direct care staff, rather than the direction of their management above house supervisor. Hence, service level and quality in department managed group homes fluctuates markedly.
All levels of department management, above house supervisor, are unable and/or unwilling to actively ensure there is no disconnection between service intent and service delivery. This almost entirely results from very long standing public service lore, and public service union lore that work expectations must not be set on public service staff.
Consequently, many department managed group homes provide little more than basic minder care for the residents – staff doing just domestic duties, personal care and administration. Little or no “Active Support” or “Positive Behaviour Support” – few if any interactive and developmental activities with and for the residents.
Where complaints are made by residents and their stakeholders regarding the lack of quality of life care, the department’s extensive complaints area often advise consumers to take their concerns to such pseudo government departments as the ‘Office of the Disability Service Commissioner (the ODSC)’ or the ‘Ombudsman’, rather than properly self-monitor their service level and quality is fully meeting departmental service intent and take positive, pro-active action is it is not.
In total contrast, most marketplace services do all in their power to avoid their customers feeling to need to go to ‘Consumer Affairs’ or ‘ACCC’.
Whilst non-government, not for profit CSOs are realising they must move away from their traditional block funded service mentality to stay viable within NDIS ISP style funding, the department is attempting to retain its traditional captive market culture by subsidising itself to remain a service provider within the NDIS.
A recent complaint brought before the ODSC, shows just how ineffective they are against the department’s traditional captive market culture. The ODSC refuse to investigate the reason for questionable occurrences – being the failure of department management. Rather than address the cause, they just look at the symptoms. The symptoms can, and do frequently return.
The cost of these government and pseudo government departments spending enormous resources on their in-denial and manoeuvring every which way to avoid pro-actively monitoring their service provision for credibility and accountability, is costing a fortune in both the financial and the moral aspects.
The financial aspect does little for those on the service waiting list, and the moral aspect does little to ensure all residents of supported accommodation group homes receive care and support which is well within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values.
Researchers at Scope, a leading no-for-profit disability service in Victoria, are testing surveys capturing the outcomes associated with disability services and social inclusion as experienced by people with disabilities in Australia. This national research is part of a multi-year project that will result in outcomes surveys that can be used by organisations involved in providing disability services in the future….. LINK.
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