Support Service Contracts
Potential to negate good NDIS intentions
Disability service providers have from time immemorial been government block funded for their support service costs (staff/management remuneration and overheads). This means they were/are not reliant on consumers (people with a disability and their stakeholders) for the financial survival of their not-for-profit services or business.
The Productivity Commission saw this as one of the main factors creating inequitable, fragmentation and inefficiency of disability support arrangements. Arrangements which cannot be called a genuine ‘system’ in which different elements work together to achieve desired outcomes. With consumers seen are far from being valued.
The Commission saw support service remuneration as the main factor having the potential to drive change through a very entrenched system. Hence the main focus of the NDIS is ‘consumer funded services’. Making service providers reliant mainly on consumers for their survival. Meaning they need to attract and retain consumers.
Having to pander to consumers is totally foreign to most service providers, especially government direct service provision. Traditional and very entrenched services for people with disabilities has been mainly that of, “You are so lucky to get anything that you should be forever grateful and never ever complain”.
Turning such entrenched attitudes on their head is a major task for the NDIS. Traditional service provision will not change without a fight, as occurred within most of the NDIS trial sites. Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was/is a classic example of determination to retain the traditional power-over-people culture.
This State government department provided part of the COAG funding agreement as in-kind material support, allowing them to continue to operate their Barwon NDIS trial site group homes with State Government block funding – business as usual. Whilst Barwon non government (NGO) service providers had their State Government block funding withdrawn, and the NGOs expected to survive on NDIS IFPs (Individual Funding Packages) from their consumers.
The NGOs now being marketplace service providers. Whilst the DHHS remain captive market service providers, as they intend to be within the next NDIS area – NEMA (North East Melbourne Area). This not only means DHHS group home residents will not receive the NDIS intended level and quality of fundamental care and support, NDIS extra services at best, but the DHHS is practicing gross unfair trading for which the ACCC and Consumer Affairs should be concerned.
Although the final intention of the Productivity Commission is that all support services for people with disabilities shall be marketplace, competition based with the consumer front and centre, this will be fought by many service providers reluctant to lose their traditional power over vulnerable people for which they are given ample time to retain. As the NDIS moves very slowly across the States, leaving them with ample State Government block funding from areas which have not changed to the NDIS marketplace concept.
The NDIS marketplace concept is mainly that of the consumer, rather than the service provider having the support service funding to help ensure the intent of the ‘National Disability Agreement’ - consumers (participants) having enhanced quality of life, including evaluation of service delivery through the mechanism of, (a) a service need assessment, (b) a support service plan and, (c) a support service contract with a service provider.
We are already seeing the said service contracts constructed and used as a tool to put the service provider back in the driver’s seat. Contracts compiled by the legal fraternity to negate the good intentions of the NDIS, that of the consumer (participant) having such as, ‘Choice and Control’, Entitlement, Individualisation and be Respected. etc.
Although the Productivity Commission say that moving is the answer to dissatisfaction, many people with disabilities do not move easily, and cohesion between service providers is a significant factor to counter the NDIS intention that consumers (participants), rather than service providers shall be front and centre.
Extra 1: LISA’s NDIS CHATROOM – Have your say about any aspects of the NDIS.
Extra 2: LISA Media Release - No NDIS for DHHS Group Homes
Extra 3: My NDIS Pathway
Extra 4: Federal Public Service faces further cuts
Extra 5: Get young people out of Nursing Homes - NDIS
Extra 6: Disability Support Crackdown funds NDIS
Extra 7: Australian Human Rights Commission – New Appointments
Extra 8: NDIS Grassrootes Discussion Forum
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