Disability at War with Bureaucracy
“Rarely a battle is won, let alone the war!”
Most people with disabilities have so little in their lives in comparison with most of the general population, yet they and their families have to battle for basics
The response from government direct service to consumers saying they would receive better service from the marketplace is, “You are not comparing apples with apples.” The marketplace is there to make a profit, we are not. Services from government are a charity, not an entitlement. So you should appreciate anything you get!”
This is effectively saying, public servants have a licence to do as they wish, just because service funding is provided to them from government. Whereas, if the same funding was provided directly to marketplace services, or to the consumer for marketplace services, it would not be seen as a charity and consumers would be seen as having an entitlement to quality services of their choice.
A senior public service manager recently wrote: “The department has in place a range of checks and balances to ensure that opportunities for improvement can be identified and actioned, with complaints processes being one of the many feedback mechanisms. These mechanisms provide a level of objective and independent scrutiny of service delivery against clearly stated criteria or standards, rather than an individual view or opinion.” And, a house supervisor recently said: “I can countermand any complaint made against this house!”
With this well entrenched level of anti-consumer philosophy, it is difficult to believe the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria, has the audacity to want to continue to be a service provider under the NDIS - using the state government ‘in-kind’ agreement, and subsidising its residential charges to make them extremely attractive in comparison with non-government service providers.
Whereas, the COAG Disability Resource Council said in a media release on 16 February 2015 - Governments across Australia are working together to ensure the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) delivers the best possible support for people with disability.
A public consultation process was launched by the COAG Disability Reform Council – made up of state, territory and federal disability ministers – to discuss quality and safeguards for the NDIS.
We question this, given the potential of state governments continuing to be service providers under the NDIS, as their staff and managers are public servants where our extensive hands-on experience of public service is that work value expectations cannot be set, monitored and maintained on public service direct care staff to ensure service delivery equals service intent. Service level and quality are almost totally dependent on staff integrity rather than management direction.
The Disability Ministers said people with disability have a right to feel and be safe when using NDIS funded supports, and should have confidence that their provider has met rigorous quality standards.
“Some people with disability are more vulnerable to abuse, so we need a strong system to keep them safe,” said the Chair of the Council, the federal Assistant Minister for Social Services Senator Mitch Fifield.
The Ministers said the consultations are about finding the best ways to ensure all NDIS registered providers offer services that are safe and effective, while ensuring participants have choice and control when choosing a provider.
“The development of a new quality and safeguarding framework is an opportunity to streamline the rules across all states and territories to make it easier for people with disability and service providers,” Minister Fifield said.
The consultation paper outlines a range of options for registering providers, handling complaints and screening of staff to ensure they are safe to work with people who may be vulnerable.
“We want to hear what impact different options could have on people with disability and providers. This will help us develop a nationally consistent, quality and safeguarding framework,” Minister Fifield said.
South Australian Disabilities Minister Tony Piccolo said South Australia welcomed the release of the NDIA paper on quality and safeguarding.
“It is essential that measures, such as those already put in place by Disability SA, guarantee that people with disabilities receive best quality services and that they are free from harm,” Minister Piccolo said.
The Council encouraged all people with disability, their families and carers, service providers and advocacy groups to get involved in the consultation by making a submission on all or any of the issues, attending a public meeting or joining the discussion in the online forum.
Feedback from the consultation will help shape the new framework. The consultations are open, and will close on 30 April 2015. Access at: LINK LINK LINK LINK
LISA Comment: Our main bulletin distribution has been delayed due to significant battles with government bureaucratic bloody mindedness in refusing to accept persons with very limited ability and no expressive communication cannot meaningfully evaluate the service they are receiving, and cannot be represented.
Extra 1: “What is truly new in accommodation for people with disabilities?”,
by JacksonRyan Partners.
Extra 2: NDIS – “Affordable Housing: What’s the Plan?”
Extra 3: Senate Enquiries
Extra 4: ICL Policy Framework
Extra 6: Community Visitors, Victoria
Extra 7: NDIS Rights
Extra 8: Disability ignored by media – open letter
Extra 9: Food for Thought – Consider this …
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