Disability Sector Ready for Reform, Support Needed for Stretched Providers
National Disability Services (NDS) CEO Laurie Leigh has appeared before the Disability Royal Commission, which this week has been examining the policies and practices of disability service providers. The Royal Commission hearing is seeking to better understand and find solutions for fulfilling the human rights of participants, increasing workforce capability, and strengthening governance.
“Whilst we know there are thousands of committed and dedicated people in this industry providing excellent service and support, the Royal Commission has shown examples of poor practice which must be addressed,” said Laurie Leigh.
NDS has made a number of recommendations to government to improve the capacity of the sector to provide safe, quality and sustainable services to people with disability. This includes initiatives to increase recruitment, retention and the capability of the disability workforce, ensuring all workers in risk assessed roles undergo NDIS Worker Screening, and reforms to improve training and supervision for workers.
- We support the rights of people with disability to exercise choice and control about matters that affect them.
- We want to see Supported Decision Making embedded in practice throughout the sector, appropriately funded for all those who require it.
- We support reforms and more government funding to improve the availability of advocacy and self-advocacy development for people with disability.
- We think there should be a greater focus and increased funding for Positive Behaviour Support and practice leadership.
- We support governance reforms that put people with disability at the centre of decision making.
“Reforms and initiatives in these areas, appropriately funded and successfully implemented, can give people with disability greater choice and control in how they live and work with providers.”
“However, we also need to make sure that reforms aren’t just a sledgehammer to many providers, especially smaller organisations. With the current financial state of the sector, off the back of chronic workforce shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, it is critical that the sector is provided with the appropriate time and support for changes to be delivered correctly,” Laurie Leigh said.
“A skilled, capable, diverse and sustainable provider landscape is a desirable outcome for people with disability. As the recommendations from the Royal Commission are handed down, we need to be mindful of how we match the timetabling of reforms with the capacity of the sector to respond.”
“Our Vision is for an inclusive Australia where all people with disability live safely and equitably and we stand ready to work with the Royal Commission to see this vision realised,” said Ms Leigh.