National Disability Insurance Scheme
What’s in it for residents of group homes? Little as far as we can see!
NDIS is dragging its feet in this regard. Their discussion paper
was announced over 12 months ago, but is still outstanding!
The original intention of this scheme was to reduce the length of the service waiting list, and ensure improved service level and quality.
The philosophy of support services in Victoria emanated from Department of Human Services (DHS/the department) managed Institutions. These originally had a very poor staff/resident ratio, resulting in poor minder-care and often questionable personal care.
Despite more support staff being provided for the subsequent change to group homes in the community, the charity culture of residents and their families being lucky to get anything and they were bludging off the government, was a culture which remains in both DHS and CSO services to varying degrees.
Federal funding has the potential to reduce the length of the waiting list, but the Productivity Commission’s intention of placing support service funding in the pocket of the consumer has little potential to improve service level and quality for residents of group homes, as many do not relocate easily - move from one service provider to another. And, given the demand, there will be little choice of services in the near future.
Already disability services are struggling to meet the ever increasing demand prior to the NDIS going statewide from the Barwon region launch site, which is reported as far from suitable to even consider going statewide at present. Let’s hope Barwon NDIS gets its act together soon.
One of the main restrictive factors for service providers under the NDIS, is receiving their remuneration in arrears. Under block funding, they received their remuneration in advance.
Receiving payments at a random time after providing the service, necessitates the service provider having a large war-chest and few bad debts, as staff want to be paid soon after they provide the service. Non-government, not-for-profit, CSO, service providers are also bogged down in unnecessary department bureaucratic expectations and demands.
This is in total contrast to the department using the ‘in-kind’ aspect of the state government’s contribution to the Victorian NDIS launch – providing existing Barwon region services free (in-kind) to the NDIS.
This allows the department to keep its foot in the service provision door, to continue its major problem of having a significant and consistent disconnection between service intent and service delivery, directly caused by the failure of all levels of its management to ensure there is no disconnection by properly and pro-actively monitoring its service delivery.
All consumers, NDIS or otherwise, should, at least, ensure the support service funding provides adequate “Active Support” . This is interactive. developmental and social activities for the residents of group homes and similar - in contrast to much of the current ‘minder-care’.
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