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A bolder approach needed for disability sector

A bolder and more coherent government approach needed for disability sector

9 August 2016

Disability service providers say bolder implementation of new approaches to funding and provision of disability services are needed to ensure that individuals and families get the flexibility and choices they want. A new approach referred to as “Enabling Good Lives” has the potential to offer real transformation.

The New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) has released their sector briefing for 2016, which outlines the issues they have with Government’s approach to transforming the disability sector.

Transformation, Inclusion and Citizenship outlines a series of matters impacting the effective provision of services to the disabled community, whilst acknowledging, if executed well, new approaches could allow individuals more choice and control over their own lives.

Chief Executive, Dr Garth Bennie says service providers have long-standing and ongoing issues with the levels of government funding along with fragmented commissioning and purchasing arrangements associated with contracting. This has resulted in a sector characterised by very low wages and real challenges when it comes to workforce development.

“There is a real need for the right investment from government to ensure that there is the support to enable everyone to participate in the Enabling Good Lives initiative with confidence and to understand what will be a very new environment.

Dr Bennie notes “the current structures and policy settings of Government don’t easily inspire the innovation demanded by the Enabling Good Lives principles. Being bolder about both the scale and scope of the initiative will mean a greater impact and better understanding of cost, benefits and necessary support.

“It will take time for both individuals and organisations in the disability sector to develop confidence. This is a fundamental change to the way in which we operate and the way in which services are accessed.

“There needs to be considerable thought and resources put into this transformation in order to make it successful for disabled people and families.”

The briefing paper provides recommendations to the Government and includes NZDSN’s own commitments to supporting change.

You can read NZDSN’s report here: nzdsn.org.nz

You can also find out more about Enabling Good Lives here: enablinggoodlives.co.nz


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