Disability Action Plan
This section describes some of the achievements of various government agencies in the three focus areas of the Disability Action Plan.
Enabling Good Lives
What is Enabling Good Lives? Enabling Good Lives is a new approach to supporting disabled people that gives them greater choice, flexibility and control over their lives. This includes having a say in how resources are used. It also creates opportunities for family, whānau and friends to gain the skills, confidence and information they need to support disabled people to live an everyday life in everyday places. The Enabling Good Lives approach was developed by an independent group of sector leaders in 2011.
Future vision for the disability support system
Disabled people, their families and whānau will be able to say:
- I have access to a range of support that helps me live the life I want and to be a contributing member of my community
- I have real choices about the kind of support I receive, and where and how I receive it
- I can make a plan based on my strengths and interests
- I am in control of planning my support, and I have help to make informed choices if I need and want it
- I know the amount of money available to me for my support needs and I can decide how it is used
- My support is co-ordinated and works well together. I do not have to undergo multiple assessments and funding applications to patch support together
- My family, whānau, and friends are recognised and valued for their support.
In 2013, the Ministerial Committee agreed to carry out a demonstration of Enabling Good Lives in Christchurch to test how the approach works in practice and to learn from the experience for future implementation. The Christchurch demonstration is trying to make a difference in the lives of school leavers with high needs starting with some students who leave school at the end of 2013. With its emphasis on local control, a local advisory group has been guiding the demonstration. It involves the Ministries of Education, Health and Social Development, who are also working with the Accident Compensation Corporation. It is trying to ensure that disabled students can leave school at the same time as their peers and receive support to transition into a regular life – whether that is in employment, training or having a good life in their local community.
Enabling Good Lives is also underway in Waikato, with a focus on investing in disabled people, their families and whānau. The Enabling Good Lives Waikato Leadership Group has been established with representatives of disabled people, their families and providers. The Ministry of Social Development is working with these local groups to develop a self-review tool and guidelines to support providers to transform according to Enabling Good Lives principles. The self-review tool and guidelines will be ready early next year.
The Enabling Good Lives approach is underpinned by many of the objectives of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, including those relating to education, leadership, creating long-term support systems centred on the individual, and enabling disabled children and youth to lead full and active lives.
Employment has been identified by the disability community as important. A partnership has been established between the Disability Employment Forum, the Employer Advisory Group and Government agencies. The Disability Employment Forum is a network of Disabled People’s Organisations and their allies. The Employer Advisory Group is an employer lead organisation designed to work with employers to build their disability confidence.
An important part of the partnerships is the conversations between the three parties in identifying factors that would increase the employment of disabled people. A number of initiatives were developed by the partnership to increase the employment opportunities for disabled people.
Promoting work experience
Lack of work experience for many disabled people has been identified as a significant barrier in achieving employment. The Disability Employment Forum and the Ministry of Social Development have reviewed international best practice to learn about work experience and internship. This work will help the partnership develop new actions for implementation next year.
Improving existing services
The disability community has said that existing services can be improved to make them more responsive to the needs of disabled people.
Three areas of work were developed:
- a survey to identify what disabled people and providers felt was the gap between what was available and their needs.
- review of support funds
- development of practice principles to underpin contracting in employment support.
The Ministry of Social Development is working with representatives from the disability and mental health sectors, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Accident Compensation Corporation to figure out ways to get more disabled people working.
As part of this work, a survey on improving existing employment support was conducted. The aim is to better understand what employment supports are currently offered, identify barriers to employment of disabled people, look at trends in the labour market, and identify ways of improving the funding for workplace support. The results of the survey will be available shortly.
Building employer confidence
Creating disability confidence has been a key focus of the joint activity. This work resulted in the “Think Differently” Campaign undertaking research with employers around attitudes and factors impacting on disabled people getting into employment.
These initiatives have included:
- holding information seminars
- developing a website (WorkAble) that provided information to employers
- connecting members of the Disability Employment Forum with large employers to make it easier for disabled employers to access potential employment opportunities.
Better information for employers
the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has developed a website called “WorkAble”, which provides information to help break down barriers to employment for disabled people wanting to enter the workforce. The website provides information for job seekers and employees and also for employers, co-workers, parents and support people. It emphasises that opportunities for disabled people to work are limited by a disabling society, rather than by a disability itself. The WorkAble website was launched in July 2013. It is located at: http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/workable/index.asp
Public services are leading employers
As part of an initiative to encourage public service agencies to become model employers of disabled people, the Ministry of Social Development has completed a review of its employment and human resources practices. The Ministry of Social Development is now developing an action plan to provide an inclusive environment for disabled employees.
Easier access to apprenticeships
The Ministry of Social Development has been developing a trial to explore ways to better support disabled people to access apprenticeships.
No placements have been made for the supported apprenticeships trial to date. Due to timing, the start of the initiative missed the beginning of the 2013. The Ministry of Social Development will continue to work with employment providers and disability organisations as well as Work and Income frontline staff to confirm clients for this initiative, with the aim of making 5 to 15 placements in 2014.
Better information for employers
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has developed a website called “WorkAble”, which provides information to help break down barriers to employment for disabled people wanting to enter the workforce. The website provides information for job seekers and employees and also for employers, co-workers, parents and support people. It emphasises that opportunities for disabled people to work are limited by a disabling society, rather than by a disability itself. The WorkAble website was launched in July 2013. It is located at: http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/workable/index.asp
There are three initiatives focusing on disabled people in Rebuild Christchurch:
- the free advisory service on accessible homes
- guidance on accessible homes
- more inclusive emergency guidelines.
Free advisory service on accessible homes
The Office for Senior Citizens and the Ministry of Health have supported Enable New Zealand to provide a new advisory service, up to June 2014, for Canterbury people planning to rebuild or renovate their earthquake-damaged homes. This provides free information and advice on cost effective and sustainable housing design. The service will help people plan for the future by using home designs that accommodate their changing needs and abilities over their lifetime. The service will be particularly useful for disabled and older people.
Guidance on accessible homes
Universal design is about producing homes that are convenient, safe and functional for all people of all abilities, at any stage of life. A new website has been set up, with information on making houses accessible for all, including disabled people.
The Accident Compensation Corporation, together with the Ministries of Social Development, Business, Innovation and Employment, and Health, working with BRANZ Ltd (the Building Research Association of New Zealand) have set up a website with information on making houses accessible for all, including disabled people.
The website presents a “universal design toolkit” and provides practical design solutions for accessible housing features. The website is designed for the use of consumers as well as the building industry. It is located at: http://www.branz.co.nz/cms_display.php?sn=215&st=1
Lifetime Design Ltd has been promoting an increase in the number of houses that are built according to universal design standards. This is about designing and building houses that accommodate, or are easily adaptable to, the needs of people of all ages and life stages, including disabled people, and that reduce accidents at home. The standards embrace the principles of accessibility, adaptability, ease of use, safety and lifetime value.
New state homes built by Housing New Zealand incorporate lifetime design principles such as lever taps and handles, and minimum door and hallway widths, to provide accessible housing to occupants of all physical capabilities. New state homes are also built in a way that allows them to be modified later to meet a tenant’s specific needs.
There have been several achievements relating to guidance on accessible homes using lifetime design standards. One highlight was the Christchurch Universal Design Seminar, which was held in conjunction with the Auckland Universal Design Conference in May 2013. Over 400 builders, designers and public sector organisations attended these events. Subsequently, there has been significant interest from agencies in Christchurch regarding incorporating universal design standards into their rebuild projects, with 178 lifetime design standards certified dwellings to date.
More inclusive emergency guidelines
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management published a guide for including disabled people in civil defence and emergency management, called “Including People with Disabilities: Information for the Civil Defence and Emergency Management sector”. This document was developed to address a gap in the response to the Christchurch earthquakes. It encourages the full participation of disabled people in all aspects of civil defence and emergency management, focusing on their strengths and particular needs. It is located at: http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/memwebsite.nsf/Files/Publications-Information-Series/$file/Disability-IS-16-July-2013.pdf
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