Government response to Select Committee inquiry - 2009
February 2009 - Government's response to the Social Services Inquiry's recommendations
The Government Response to Report of the Social Services Committee on Inquiry into the Quality of Care and Services Provision for People with Disabilities, presented to the House of Representatives.
On 9 February 2009, the Government released its response to the Select Committee's report.
There are two broad approaches to the Government’s response. For the majority of recommendations the response indicates that further work is required before the Government can make decisions on the particular steps it will take, as the recommendations are wide ranging and have significant implications for a range of government agencies and disabled people. The Government’s ability to respond to some of these recommendations is also affected by the need to consider the results of consultation processes before taking decisions. This particularly affects the recommendations relating to the Health and Disability Commissioner and the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001.
In other cases, however, the Government has already implemented several responses that are consistent with the Select Committee’s recommendations, or is expanding and modifying its existing work programmes so that they are consistent with the Select Committee’s recommendations.
The Government expects to progress the substantial work programme outlined in this response during 2009. The scope of issues to be considered, however, means that the Government will need to prioritise the order in which it considers issues. In doing so, the focus will be on steps that make the biggest difference to disabled people through enabling them to live an everyday life and to have increased control and choice over what they do. The current fiscal climate means that the immediate focus must be on using existing resources in more cost-effective ways rather than on major structural change or increased levels of funding.
September 2008 - Social Services Select Committee report - inquiry into the quality of care and service provision for disabled people
In September 2008, the Social Services Select Committee concluded its inquiry into the quality of care and service provision for disabled people.
The inquiry was prompted by concerns raised in the media about two major residential service providers and by more generally expressed dissatisfaction with current service provision. The issues raised with the Committee were not new.
The Committee has made a number of recommendations that can be grouped under the following themes:
- enhancing leadership and accountability structures
- improving advocacy and complaints processes
- improving the monitoring of services
- improving the way people access information and supports
- ensuring services fill identified gaps, are age-appropriate, and enhance consumer choice
- developing a disability sector workforce strategy.
The Committee recommended a lead agency be appointed to provide leadership and accountability. Another idea canvassed by the Select Committee was Local Area Co-ordination, which operates in Western Australia. This model is based on principles relating to self-sufficiency, self-determination, and relationships with family, whanau, friends and the community. Once a person's requirements for a 'good life' are established, they are helped to access services to help them live that life, rather than determining and providing specified services for disabled people. This approach is demonstrably capable of achieving significant benefits for a large number of people, while having relatively low infrastructure and operational costs. Its application could be explored further.
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