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

This section presents progress against the Disability Action Plan 2014-2018. An updated Disability Action Plan is currently being considered by Cabinet following public consultation.

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.

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.

Three actions being implemented under this shared result area are:

Action 1 (a) is about building capability for inclusive education to improve delivery in the CRPD context. This action is led by the Ministry of Education and is being implemented through Success for All– Every School, Every Child. Success for All is the Government’s vision and work programme to achieve a fully inclusive education system.

The objective of Success for All is to ensure all children and young people are able to be present, participating, learning and achieving within the New Zealand curriculum. This means a focus on all students’ educational and learning needs rather than on the impairment or medical diagnosis of individual students.

An exciting advance in the Success for All work programme this year is the development of tools and resources to build confidence of classroom teachers and school leaders, to include all students in their teaching and learning programmes. In particular, the Inclusive Education Website: , and Inclusive Practice and the School Curriculum: provides access to resources to help adapt and differentiate curriculum materials to meet the needs of all students in a class. A Roadshow throughout the country has introduced these new resources to professional development providers, specialists, teachers and others.

Changes to this action are currently being considered as part of the Disability Action Plan update.

  • Action 2 (a) to improve transitions, (led by the Ministry of Education) this is currently undergoing scoping.
  • Action 3 (a) is implementation of a long-term work programme to improve employment outcomes for disabled people, including the development of guidelines on reasonable accommodation. It is led by the Ministry of Social Development.

The Ministry of Social Development developed and implemented the Health and Disability Long Term Work Programme 2014-2018 with the health and disability sector. The programme aims to increase the number of disabled people, including long-term unemployed disabled people, in paid employment on an equal basis with others. It builds on the 2013 health and disability welfare reforms, which implemented the first phase of a new approach to working with disabled people. The new approach is based on the health benefits of work and the principle of self-management.

Specialised intensive case management has been made available to 8,000 health and disability clients. Service delivery has engaged more closely with stakeholders to inform training for staff to increase their capability to work with disabled people. The Ministry of Social Development has also improved the accessibility of some of its information, tools and forms.

In 2014, the opt-in trial was rolled out for young Supported Living Payment clients (disabled people or people with a long-term health conditions) to provide them with tailored support to find work or enter training or education.

There has also been a Post Placement Support trial to help clients achieve sustainable work outcomes.

Reasonable Accommodation guidelines have been developed for employees and employers and will be distributed in late 2015.

Some of the actions underway or planned for 2015/16 as part of the long term work programme are:The Ministry of Social Development will build staff capability to work with disabled people.

The Disability Employment Forum and Business NZ will introduce the Disability Confident Employer Strategy, involving the Ministry of Social Development, employment agencies and other stakeholders.

The Ministry of Social Development has extended specialised, intensive work-focused case management from 8,000 to 20,000 health and disability clients.

The Ministry of Social Development will work with the sector to improve specialist employment supports and services for disabled people, including a review of the minimum wage exemption that was previously under Action 3 (b).

Action 4 (a) the Government will take a lead in employing disabled people and providing paid internships. This action is being led by the Ministry of Social Development. A toolkit has been created to support government agencies in employing disabled people. It will be released in early 2016. A short film has been released about disabled employees in the public sector. The Ministry of Social Development is conducting a survey of staff in December 2015, to understand the proportion of staff with a disability. The survey will contribute to improving data collection about disabled people in the public service.

In 2016, the Ministry of Social Development will:

  • work with government agencies to improve existing internship programmes to ensure they are effective for disabled people
  • develop opportunities to recognise and reward government agencies who are demonstrating good practice in employing disabled people.

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.


Four actions are being implemented under this shared result area:

Action 5 (a) to ensure disabled people can exercise their legal capacity, including through recognition of supported decision making. This is led by the Office for Disability Issues.

In 2015, the Office for Disability Issues initiated its work to develop a shared understanding of disabled people’s exercise of their legal capacity, including the recognition of supported decision making. Progress has been made with building relationships amongst interested community stakeholders, and gathering information from international and domestic sources. In addition, an event is planned with Auckland Disability Law to promote good practice with supported decision making. The event is planned to be held by June 2016.

Action 6 (a) educating disabled people about their rights not to be abused and what abuse is. This action is led by DPOs. A key achievement includes the development of guidelines on prevention of school bullying that takes into account disabled children. An interest group for this work has been progressed, and will support the continuation of this work through the updated Disability Action Plan.

Progress on Action 6 (b) ‘Investigate funding of DPO partnered programmes that support disabled people to speak up for themselves and ensure this is linked with victims of crime work’ and Action 6 (c) ‘Increase safeguards for disabled people who are socially isolated and develop initiatives to remove what is socially isolating them’ are being reconsidered as part of the Disability Action Plan update.

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. This action is led by the Ministry of Social Development.

Key achievements include the completion of public consultation, with analysis currently underway to inform policy development for the review. Research by the Donald Beasley Institute on disabled young people with experience of a Section 141/142 placement will be completed shortly, with the findings also being considered as part of the review.

Action 7 (a) Promote implementation by the local civil defence and emergency management sector of the guidelines for inclusive practice, including learnings from experiences of disabled people in the Canterbury earthquakes. This action is being facilitated by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM).

MCDEM has continued to promote the practices outlined in MCDEM Information Series ‘Including people with disabilities’ [IS13/13] with Civil Defence and Emergency Management Groups and within national level documentation.

Other initiatives supporting this shared result

Putting People First

The 2013 Putting People First quality review of disability support services looked into residential care for disabled people and made 36 recommendations focusing on:

  • keeping the disabled person at the centre of everything Disability Support Services does
  • giving disabled people a voice in decisions made
  • keeping disabled people safe when they have something to say.

The two-year ‘Putting People First’ programme of work within the Ministry of Health that began in 2014, has made significant inroads into the 36 recommendations. These include:

  • establishing an employment internship for disabled youth within Disability Support Services
  • uptake of the Mainstream Employment Programme
  • updating a range of service specifications to address several of the review recommendations
  • a strong focus on safeguarding disabled people in residential support services, funded by the Ministry of Health.

Transform the disability support system 

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

Two actions 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.

Two other actions are also being implemented:

Action 9 (a) building on the commitment for a new way of working together between DPOs and government agencies. A scope for this action has been approved, with work currently underway to revisit work in the context of changes to the working groups.

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. Also to monitor, evaluate, scrutinise and make providers accountable to funders for achieving outcomes.

This action is being led by the Ministry of Health who have run an open tender for an organisation to obtain feedback from people living in Disability Support Services-funded residential services. A preferred provider has been identified and the work to obtain the feedback is to be carried out over a ten-month period, during 2016.

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 Inquiry into the quality of care and service provision for disabled people. The New Model has sought to offer more choice, control and flexibility to disabled people in the support they access to live their lives.

As components of the New Model, Local Area Coordination has now moved from demonstration into an operational mode in the Bay of Plenty and is also being tested through two Needs Assessment and Service Coordination organisations (NASC). Enhanced Individualised Funding continues in Bay of Plenty, Choice in Community Living continues in Auckland and Waikato and expansion to two further areas is being planned.

Next steps for Supported Self-Assessment and the funding allocation process are being developed. A number of evaluations have been completed and learnings from each of the components are informing the design and implementation of Enabling Good Lives, in both Christchurch and Waikato, and will inform future recommendations on a transformed disability support system.  

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, by increasing:

  • the levels of accessible buildings and spaces, transport and urban design
  • accessible information and communications
  • access to health and justice services
  • 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 five actions that are being implemented:

  • 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. The data standard has been developed and formally adopted by the sector. Justice sector agencies have agreed to implement the standard as system changes arise.
  • 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. Advice and a sector perspective is currently being sought through the Project Reference Group, comprising of Ministry of Health officials, health sector professionals, representatives of other agencies and experts such as academics. The aim of the Project Reference Group is to determine actions and interventions for improving the health outcomes of people with learning/intellectual disabilities. The Ministry of Health is working on the case for action in each priority area and identifying actions and interventions. The final report is expected to go to the Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues in 2016.
  • 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. This action is led by the Ministry of Transport.
  • Information from a stocktake has been analysed and the accessibility of public transport draft report is currently under consideration by DPOs. Final recommendations will be considered by the Chief Executives Group on Disability Issues and DPOs in early 2016.
  • 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. An Accessibility Plan: Public Buildings has been approved by the Ministers of Building and Housing and Disability Issues, with work to commence in early 2016.
  • 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. The stocktake is completed and priorities agreed to. Engagement between DPOs and government agencies will take place in early 2016.
  • Progress on Action 11 (a) ‘Increase accessibility of information across government agencies’ will be considered as part of the Disability Action Plan update.

Other initiatives supporting this shared result

Think Differently

The Ministry of Social Development’s Think Differently campaign was a five year social change campaign that aimed to encourage and support a fundamental shift in attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people. The Think Differently campaign has been a key initiative supporting the Disability Action Plan 2014 - 2018 as it meets an obligation in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to provide awareness-raising. Think Differently also fits with the aims of a Social Investment approach in that a more inclusive society will assist vulnerable people to lead improved lives over the long-term, and save taxpayers in the long run, for example through more employers hiring people with disabilities.

This $9 million campaign ran for five years to July 2015. It partnered with individuals, national and community organisations, employers, educators, churches, councils, businesses, families and whānau, and other influencers.

The key objectives of the Think Differently campaign were 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 supported communities through:

  • partnerships with organisations working at a national level, which allowed the campaign to contribute to 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 communities to drive change
  • communications, including media training, and research and evaluation.

Throughout its five years the Think Differently campaign has funded and supported 130 community projects, 52 national projects and two innovation projects.

The projects that have been funded aimed to increase inclusion by changing attitudes and behaviours through influencing:

  • social norms
  • access
  • employment
  • parents, families and whānau, and
  • leadership by disabled people.

The projects still underway from the 2014 – 2015 funding rounds continue to be supported until their completion on 31 December 2015.

The Think Differently online presence has been maintained as it still adds value, through the Facebook page, website and online social change toolkit: , which contains guides such as working with the news media.

Resources developed by projects as result of funding, as well as case studies are available on the website as they become available: .

A case studies report was completed in September 2015, and in October 2015, an evaluation of the Think Differently campaign was completed. The report findings showed that the projects funded through the Think Differently campaign are achieving changes in attitudes and behaviours with the groups targeted. It also found that projects that received grants in more than one year were achieving outcomes in terms of actual attitudinal change, building on prior commitment to change.

The evaluation also showed that:

  • the campaign has focussed in the right areas for challenging barriers to participation for people with disabilities, and
  • the projects have on the whole achieved their aims.



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