I first spoke about outcome focussed supports at a conference on NDIS in 2016. The idea of outcome focussed supports was still new. I can recall that many in the room didn’t like the idea, and felt that it was ok to keep doing as they have always done. It is a shame that somewhere along the line it has been forgotten that the NDIS is an insurance scheme, not welfare.
The aim of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is to increase social and economic participation for people with disability. Sure, there will be those that may not be able to achieve these goals entirely, or some will only go some ways to achieving them in part, and that’s ok. The scheme is still there to provide support. However, t
here is a focus on outcomes, that everyone can make progress, big or small.
Some how, many clients and carers have come to form the view, right or wrong, that the NDIS funding is there to use freely. This is not the case. While the scheme allows for flexibility, just like all public funds, there is an expectation that the funding be used responsibly and for the purpose intended. What is commonly forgotten, and perhaps its not been made as explicit as it should be, is that the funding received in a NDIS plan is contingent on participants working towards achieving goals, and making progress incrementally over time.
The reason for this is, and I totally support this, that people with a disability should be included in the community, not just socially but also economically. Now I can hear the groans from the disability sector saying, well that’s all well and good that NDIS wants this outcome.
However, the rest of society has got a long way to go before people with a disability can be included more, socially and economically. I don’t dispute that there is more work to do. However, that doesn’t mean we should sit back and wait for all the ducks to line up, or we will never get off the line. The point is, NDIS is here and providers are ready, willing and able to do the work to assist participants achieve their goals.
Many providers have been around for a very long time, and as a result have accumulated a status quo culture from these times. Some have made progress and are reforming and shifting to meet the new NDIS guidelines, while others are struggling.
The reason for the struggle is because for a long time many organisations provided supports that amounted to baby sitting for periods of time, and provided relief for carers and their families. I’m not suggesting that this hasn’t been necessary, or that this is entirely bad. However, my point is times have changed. There is now an expectation that providers need to lift their standard of service, and there should be some level of performance by the service providers for the funding they receive.
This is a good thing, not just for organisations but also for the people with disability that they support. Under NDIS, the expectation is service providers are there to support you, to help facilitate the achievement of your goals that you have in your plan. Supports should be planned, there should be a focus on outcomes, there should be continued progress, big or small and if there isn’t then there needs to be some accountability for the lack of progress. It is the responsibility of both the service provider and participant. The NDIS is an insurance scheme, not welfare.
The expectation is, over time, those that can, will move towards either reduced support requirements or achieve a point where they no longer need support at all. So how does Butter Fish Services deliver outcomes focussed supports?
We achieve this through planned supports. Planned supports have a purpose, activities are put together with the client and collectively decisions are made about what to do, when to do it and the time frames expected to achieve the outcome. We also take into consideration the goals in a client’s NDIS plan, we seek to find what other goals are important, or required along the way to achieving the much bigger goals.
Each time our support workers or capacity builders, as we like to call them, arrive at work, they know, and the client knows what needs to be done. Our service delivery process also ensure we have regularly progress reports available. This keeps us, as a service provider, accountable and our clients accountable. It also has the added benefit of keeping NDIS informed about what we are doing. A big help when it comes to review time! Ask yourself, is your support provider outcome focussed? Are they adding value and delivering for me?