Effective Service Self-Monitoring – Where is it?
Care and support services for those with intellectual and multiple disabilities fail to
properly and consistently monitor their services for level, quality and integrity
Since time immemorial, support services for vulnerable people have relied on parents, families, volunteers, official visitors, community visitors, the media etc, to monitor service level, quality and integrity for those unable to do so effectively for themselves.
The various support services are intended to have effective internal service evaluation and complaint investigation processes. There have been specific, so called, independent complaint investigation bodies - such as the IDRP (Intellectual Disability Review Panel), and the current DSC (Disability Services Commissioner).
There are the generic, so called independent statutory bodies (pseudo government departments) who will consider complaints, questionable practices and occurrences. They are: the Ombudsman, Office of the Public Advocate, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Health Services Commissioner, Victorian Public Service Commissioner, Equal Opportunity and Human Rights, Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, etc.
As the main disability service provider in Victoria is a government department, the Department of Human Services, they set the pace for complaint and service evaluation avoidance within what is currently captive-market services, for which they are first class and protected by the above mentioned agencies to do so.
As all of these agencies consider the department knows best. The consumer has, therefore, to ensure their complaint / concern / observation is beyond reasonable doubt, and able to stand-up in the supreme court. Even then, there is little chance against a well-heeled, well protected and very awesome captive market bureaucracy.
Raising service level, quality and integrity concerns by either consumers, stakeholders or support staff is, therefore, a very risky business. Consumers and their stakeholders risk serious intimidation. They are often in a worse situation after raising a concern, than they were before.
And direct care staff can suffer shocking intimidation for daring to raise concerns. Many just take the pay and look the other way. Those who want to do good work, are frustrated and intimidated by those who do not.
There is a culture which still hangs around from the main institutional days - that those with disabilities are not real people and need not be treated as such. They are considered lucky to get support services at all. They and their stakeholders should be content with whatever they get, and should leave the service if not satisfied.
In total contrast, and what is promoted by training courses and dedicated staff, is that any complaint or observation of questionable activities / occurrences should be welcomed - seen as tools to service improvement and as a slight against the service provider. Any complaint should be seen as one too many, treated as urgently needing resolution, and consumers and their stakeholders treated as always right.
Proper, consistent and effective internal monitoring of support service level, quality and integrity can be achieved by non-government services, but is almost impossible with government direct service provision. Traditional public service lore and union lore inhibit the setting, monitoring and maintaining of consistent and meaningful staff work value expectations - no matter how good the service management.
The movement towards NDIS funded services is currently expected to provide little incentive to achieve consumer focused services, especially where governments remain direct service providers under the NDIS.
As parents remain unable to live for ever, much as they feel the necessity to do so, they need to feel comfortable services will be well monitored to provide consistent quality of life care and support for their family member into the future.
Extra 1: New Sex Abuse Rocks Yoorala – Senior employee charged!
Extra 2: Case Study on Yoorala’s Systemic Failure – JacksonRyan Partners
Extra 3: Disability Discrimination by Craig Wallace - President of People with
Extra 4: NDIS Service Price List – May 2014 (Victoria)
Extra 5: NDIS Making a Service Agreement – May 2014
Extra 6: My Choice Matters – NSW Consumer Development Fund
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