Section two: Progress against the Disability Action Plan 2014-2018

Four shared results prioritise action

Implementation of the Disability Action Plan is focused on four shared result areas:

  • Increase employment and economic opportunity: Focuses on building employers’ confidence to employ disabled people and provide accessible workplaces, opportunities for work experience, entrepreneurship, and education achievement and skill development.
  • Ensure personal safety: Focuses on promoting systems and practices to protect disabled children and adults in all settings.
  • Transform the disability support system: Focuses on ensuring effective engagement with disabled people and coordination across sectors and across agencies to concentrate on outcomes and maximum progress from available resources.
  • Promote access in the community: Focuses on accessible buildings and spaces, transport and urban design, information and communication, access to health and justice services, and political and civic participation.

There are 21 actions across all four shared result areas. (Appendix two lists all actions).

Working groups support implementation

There is one working group to support implementation of each shared result area. Each working group includes representatives from the government agencies, DPOs, and other organisations with particular experience or expertise in the shared result area. The Office for Disability Issues chairs the working groups.

The working groups are intended to add value with implementation and strengthen the new way of working together by:

  • bringing expertise together
  • building relationships and enabling a greater shared understanding
  • supporting action and developing new actions
  • coordinating a consistent approach with implementation across government agencies.

The working groups meet every three months.

It is important to note that implementation of the Disability Action Plan is not the sole responsibility of the organisations on the working groups. Implementation will require the input and support of many other organisations.

The working groups were established in mid-2014, and met three times by the end of 2014. These meetings focused on scoping together the 12 new actions in the Disability Action Plan. The remaining 9 actions were already being implemented by the time the Disability Action Plan was approved.

The working groups also have a role in monitoring actions implementation to ensure alignment with the Disability Action Plan’s vision and person-driven outcomes.

At the governance meeting on 21 November 2014, the scopes of six new actions were approved. Further details on these actions can be found in the following sub-sections. The remaining six new actions will be further developed in early 2015.

Summaries of working group meetings are available on the Office for Disability Issues’ website at: Summaries of working group meetings

Increase employment and economic opportunities

This shared result area focuses on building employers’ confidence to:

  • employ disabled people
  • provide accessible workplaces
  • provide opportunities for work experience
  • contribute to educational and skill development
  • encourage entrepreneurship.

Two actions are underway. The focus of Action 1 (a) is to build capability for inclusive education to improve delivery in the CRPD context. This action is led by the Ministry of Education and is a priority for the whole Ministry. It is known as Success for All – Every School, Every Child. Success for All, and is the Government’s vision and work programme to achieve a fully inclusive education system. Inclusion of all students in learning is one of the founding principles of the New Zealand school curriculum. Some of these students have special education needs and require additional support to learn and achieve. Put another way, the objective of Success for All is to focus on the student’s educational or learning needs rather than on their impairment or medical diagnosis.

An exciting development in the Success for All work programme is the launch of Special Education Online Knowledge Centre at the end of 2014. The objective is for the Online Knowledge Centre to become the one stop shop for early childhood centres and schools to find tips, tools and strategies for inclusive practices, and for the teaching and learning of children with special education needs. The Online Knowledge Centre will make it easier for early childhood centres and schools to get useful information on helping disabled children to learn and do well and will complement the services and support currently available into schools and early childhood centres.

The second action underway is Action 3 (a): implementation of a long-term work programme to improve employment outcomes for disabled people, including the development of guidelines on reasonable accommodation. Action 3 (a) is led by the Ministry of Social Development.

One of the key principles underpinning the long-term work programme is the use of a strengths-based approach. In other words, the abilities and skills of disabled people and people with a health condition are recognised, and they have the opportunity to be employed on an equal basis with other New Zealanders.

The Ministry of Social Development has collaborated with the health and disability sector (DPOs, beneficiary advocates, specialist employment providers, health practitioners, the wider disability sector and other government agencies) in the development of the long-term work programme. A Health and Disability Reference Group has also been set up to provide input and advice on the implementation of the work programme.

New action 3 (b) will develop better alternatives to replace the minimum wage exemption, looking at existing and new schemes. The scope of this action was approved by the Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues and the DPOs in November 2014.

Led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, this action includes:

  • defining what is meant by ‘better alternatives’ and developing objectives for this action
  • identifying alternative options within employment legislation that are compatible with the wider system of vocational and employment services
    • working with the Ministry of Social Development to identify alternative options that are outside of employment legislation
    • identifying options to transition to any new system
    • identifying weaknesses with the current system and high level options to improve the existing system to address these weaknesses, which can be assessed against the alternative options identified above
    • recommending preferred option(s) to relevant Ministers.

Two other actions will be further progressed in early 2015:

  • 2 (a) Improve transitions (led by the Ministry of Education)
  • 4 (a) Government to take a lead in employing disabled people and providing paid internships (led by the Office for Disability Issues).

Ensure personal safety

This result area focuses on three key priorities:

  • Reducing barriers to disabled people making decisions to determine their own lives.
  • Reducing the number of disabled people who are victims of violence, abuse and neglect.
  • Ensuring that civil defence and emergency management responds appropriately to disabled people.

Two actions are already being implemented:

  • Action 6 (d) Reviewing the current care and support arrangements for disabled children who are (or may be) subject to care under the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989. Led by the Ministry of Social Development, this project has been set up to address issues raised in submissions to the Vulnerable Children Bill concerning disabled children subject to out of home care. There will be a public consultation process in 2015 leading to development of options for change to be submitted to the Government.
  • Action 7 (a) Promoting implementation by local civil defence and emergency management sectors of the guidelines for inclusive practice in civil defence emergencies. This action is being led by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. A stocktake is presently being undertaken to understand the implementation of guidelines by the local Civil Defence and Emergency Management sector to improve responsiveness to disabled people in civil defence emergencies.

In November 2014, the scopes of two actions were agreed.

Action 5 (a) Ensuring disabled people can exercise their legal capacity, including through recognition of supported decision making will be led by the Office for Disability Issues. This action will explore what is needed to ensure disabled New Zealanders can experience their rights under the CRPD Article 12 (Equal recognition before the law).

This action seeks to develop a shared understanding on:

  • what are the expectations of Article 12?
  • which disabled people are affected by Article 12, and what are their experiences with realising their rights under Article 12?
  • how do domestic arrangements (including legislation, policies and practice) compare to the expectations of Article 12 and are there any gaps?
  • what are examples of leading practice (domestic and international) in relation to Article 12?
  • what is needed to achieve better implementation of Article 12, including options for implementation?

Action 6 (a) Educating disabled people about their rights not to be abused and what abuse is will be led by DPOs. This action seeks to get a current view of best practice and what is currently available in the area of abuse prevention is for disabled people both in New Zealand and internationally. This will also consider school bullying and prevention guidelines that take into account disabled children.

Other initiatives supporting this shared result

The Ministry of Health established a working group to review safety regulation in disability support in late 2014. The purpose of this working group is to identify ways the regulation of safety in disability support services can be improved to make sure disabled people can make choices and live everyday lives without greater risk of harm than other New Zealanders. This includes looking at the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001, which allows the government to set standards that certain providers of health and disability services must meet to be able to continue to provide those services. The group includes representatives from DPOs, service providers, families and carers, the Ministry of Health and the Office for Disability Issues. The governance group for this work is the Steering Group that has been set up to oversee implementation of Putting People First.

Putting People First

The 'Putting People First' quality review for the Ministry of Health (November 2013) made 36 recommendations aimed at improving the Ministry’s processes and systems in order to strengthen provider performance.

In line with the leadership role the Ministry has in overseeing the safety and well-being of disabled people, and setting the tone for the future, three working groups within the Ministry are undertaking over 60 activities associated with the 36 recommendations.

Work on these activities is grouped under the headings of:

  • Supporting providers to place disabled people at the centre of their service
  • Giving disabled people a voice, and
  • Improving performance management.

Disabled people are represented at both the governance and operational levels of this project.

Completed activities to date include the introduction of an internship programme within Disability Support Services for disabled people, reorganising the roles of residential Contract Relationship Managers on a regional basis to better support local providers, and the more frequent use of ‘no notice’ audits.

A visual representation, showing all work areas and interdependencies, will be available on the Ministry of health website shortly.

Transform the disability support system

This shared result focuses on ensuring effective engagement with disabled people and coordination across sectors and across agencies to focus on outcomes and maximum progress from available resources.

Two actions underway are being implemented through the Enabling Good Lives demonstrations (see section one). These are:

  • Action 8 (a) Evaluate learning from the Enabling Good Lives Christchurch demonstration in 2014/15, and consider in 2015/16 improved assessment processes which are culturally responsive, strength based, holistic, involve whānau (whānau ora principles), and are integrated (for example in Enabling Good Lives)
  • Action 8 (b) Enabling Good Lives demonstration in Christchurch with the involvement of DPOs.

Action 9 (a) builds on the commitment for a new way of working together between DPOs and government agencies (see section one). The action 10 (a) Develop and implement effective ways for disabled people and DPOs to provide feedback (both qualitative and quantitative) safely about the quality of services and support and to monitor, evaluate, and scrutinise and make providers accountable to funders for achieving outcomes is led by the Ministry of Health. It will be further developed in 2015.

Other initiatives supporting this shared result

The New Model for Supporting Disabled People

The Ministry of Health’s New Model for Supporting Disabled People (the New Model) was developed in response to the Social Services Select Committee’s Inquiry into the quality of care and service provision for disabled people. The purpose of the New Model has been to offer more choice, control and flexibility for disabled people in the support they receive and the lives they lead and to ‘test’ new elements of a disability support system.

Elements of the New Model include Local Area Coordination, Supported Self-Assessment, Enhanced Individualised Funding and Choice in Community Living. These elements continue to be trialled in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland regions. At the conclusion of the trial periods, the evaluation of these elements will provide an informed base for incorporating the work into Enabling Good Lives and the future of disability support services.

Promote access in the community

One of the key result areas identified for implementation in the Disability Action Plan is promoting access for disabled people in the community. This focuses on a wide range of issues regarding access to the community for disabled people:

  • Increasing the levels of accessible buildings and spaces, transport and urban design
  • Increasing accessible information and communications
  • Increasing access to health and justice services
  • Increasing political and civic participation.

It does this by focusing on three key priorities:

  • Increasing government services’ responsiveness to disabled people
  • Increasing the accessibility for disabled people of the built environment and transport services.
  • Promoting disabled people participating in political and civic processes.

These priorities are supported by actions which are already underway and actions which are new.

Actions already underway are:

  • Action 11 (b) Understanding the journey through the justice sector for disabled adults, disabled children and their families through the development of a National Data Standard for Disability. This action is being led by the Ministry of Justice.
  • Action 11 (c) Increase access to health services and improve health outcomes for disabled people with a specific focus on people with learning/intellectual disabilities. This action is being led by the Ministry of Health.
  • Action 12 (b) Reviewing the building accessibility regulatory system. This is led jointly by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Office for Disability Issues. Options will be presented in early 2015 to the Minister for Disability Issues and the Minister for Building and Housing on a long term plan for improving the building accessibility system. The review is supported by an Access Reference Group consisting of representatives from DPOs, other disability sector organisations, local authorities, and experts in building design.

Actions that were approved for implementation in November 2014 and which will be progressed in 2015 are:

  • Action 11 (a) Increase accessibility of information across government agencies. This new action aims to achieve a consistent experience for disabled New Zealanders when accessing information provided by government agencies for a public audience. This will involve development of an accessibility commitment statement and accessibility guidelines to support the statement. This action is being led by the Office for Disability Issues.
  • Action 12 (a) Understanding the issues with accessibility for disabled people of transport services, by completing a stocktake and then determining options to improve the accessibility of transport services. The stocktake (using the Human Rights’ Commission Accessible Journey Report as a baseline) will take place in early 2015 with a view to identifying key recommendations to the Chief Executive’s Group on Disability Issues in mid-2015. This action is being led by the Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

An additional action will be further progressed in early 2015:

  • Action 13 (a) DPOs to complete a stocktake of what are the areas needing the most attention and which will make the biggest difference to promote disabled people participating in political and civic processes. This action is being led by DPOs.  

Other initiatives supporting this shared result

  • The Government’s agreement in December 2014 to proceed with detailed work preparing for a trial of online voting in some local elections. The Department of Internal Affairs will work with local government to support this trial.
  • The responses by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Government to the Government Administration Select Committee’s inquiry into the accessibility of Parliament, which were published in December 2014.
  • In the 2014 General Election, telephone dictation voting was made available for the first time, which allowed blind people, for example, to vote with greater secrecy and independence.
  • The Government has committed (subject to other priorities) to commencing the process of domestic treaty examination in 2015 to inform its decision on whether New Zealand will accede to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled. This treaty will remove barriers to importing and exporting copyrighted works that have been produced in accessible formats.

Think Differently

The Ministry of Social Development’s Think Differently campaign encourages and supports a fundamental shift in attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people and is a key initiative supporting the Disability Action Plan. The campaign works closely with individuals and national and community organisations, employers, educators, churches, councils, businesses, families and other influencers.

The key objectives of the Think Differently campaign are to:

  • mobilise personal and community action for positive change
  • change the social attitudes and beliefs that lead to disabled people being excluded
  • increase people’s knowledge and understanding of disability and the benefits of inclusive communities.

The campaign supports communities through:

  • national partnerships with organisations working at a national level, which allows the campaign to contribute to existing change projects and to build on the expertise that already exists
  • the Making a Difference Fund to provide funding for community-led projects
  • building the capacity of the community to drive change
  • communications, including media training, and research and evaluation.

In 2013/2014, the campaign supported 14 organisations as National Partners with funding totalling approximately $1.2 million. At 31 October 2014, the campaign had confirmed three national partners for the 2014/2015 financial year.

For 2014/2015, the campaign has committed approximately $0.8 million to 41 community action projects through the Making a Difference Fund. In 2013/2014 approximately $0.9 million was made available to 43 community action projects.

In 2013/2014 the campaign launched the Social Change Toolkit ( to support organisations to plan and develop their social change projects. The tool was created to help organisations pull their ideas together in one place, and gives them tips and guidance to help them to realise their community project.

By 30 October 2014, the campaign had facilitated more than 20 media training workshops to support more positive media coverage of disabled people. A media training workshop is offered to individuals and organisations that deal with the media on a regular basis – with a focus on Think Differently partners. The one-day workshop encourages attendees to use strong, clear messages in the media and aims to increase participant confidence in dealing with the media.

An evaluation of the Think Differently campaign is currently being undertaken by research and evaluation company Synergia, who will support community-led and national projects to evaluate the effectiveness of their initiatives. The findings from these evaluations will be available by July 2015.

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