Key messages

This section has key messages and other information on what the Enabling Good Lives approach to supports for disabled people means.


Enabling Good Lives is a partnership between the disability sector and government agencies aimed at long term transformation of how disabled people and families are supported to live everyday lives. The primary focus is to enable disabled people and their families to have greater choice and control over the supports they receive and the lives they lead.              

Enabling Good Lives - Key Messages     


The intent of the Enabling Good Lives approach is to make changes so that disabled people and their families have control of their lives. This includes having the “say so” in how resources are used.


A diverse group of people is included in the term “disabled people”. Disabled persons and their families require different supports, services and approaches in order to achieve equity.

Value of family/whānau

The Enabling Good Lives approach respects the central importance of family/whānau.

Different communities

Enabling Good Lives recognises people live in varied communities. With the Enabling Good Lives approach, some things will be the same around the country (i.e. principles, general outcomes and monitoring processes) but some communities may need to do things differently to suit their specific circumstances and preferences.

Increased choice

An objective of Enabling Good Lives is to increase choice and not eliminate existing options.


Enabling Good Lives is both about a whole new way of doing things (i.e. systems change) and about supports and services doing things in different ways (i.e. service transformation).

A new 'system'

The Enabling Good Lives approach is based on the belief that for disabled people and family/whānau to experience real choice and control, complete system change is required i.e. Enabling Good Lives is not an 'add on' to the existing system.

A unified approach

Enabling Good Lives stresses the critical importance of change being across Ministries, ‘joined up’, strategic and consistent with the expectation and aspiration expressed by disabled people and family/whānau.

Joint governance

Disabled people, their organisations and family/whānau national networks must have key roles in both National and Regional Governance of the system’s transformation and the new approaches that are created.

Individualised funding

When 'system' transformation is completed all individuals and family/whānau will have individualised funding – people can choose to use this in multiple ways. All funding sources will contribute to the same pool of resource.

New roles

Many of the functions currently performed by Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination organisations (NASCs) need to be replaced by two separate functions in distinct organisations i.e. a simple assessment to determine and confirm funding levels and Independent Facilitation (navigation).

Move to a facilitation-based approach

All supports and services will move towards an approach that makes it easier for disabled people and their families to create good lives for themselves in the community i.e. towards ‘facilitation’ and away from ‘provision’.


A primary focus for services is to assist disabled people and families to access and contribute to community based (generic) options, supports and services.

Building a better way

All Enabling Good Lives initiatives are developed with the reasonable expectation they can improve supports and services according to the perspective of disabled persons and their families i.e. do no harm.       

Enabling Good Lives - principles     

These concepts are the basis for all decisions and actions

Self-determination Disabled people are in control of their lives.  
Beginning early Invest early in families and whānau to support them; to be aspirational for their disabled child; to build community and natural supports; and to support disabled children to become independent, rather than waiting for a crisis before support is available.
Person-centred Disabled people have supports that are tailored to their individual needs and goals, and that take a whole life approach rather than being split across programmes.
Ordinary life outcomes Disabled people are supported to live an everyday life in everyday places. They are regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation - like others at similar stages of life.
Mainstream first Disabled people are supported to access mainstream services before specialist disability services.
Mana enhancing The abilities and contributions of disabled people and their families are recognised and respected.
Easy to use Disabled people have supports that are simple to use and flexible. 
Relationship building Supports build and strengthen relationships between disabled people, their whānau and community.  

The objectives of the Enabling Good Lives approach

Individuals and families

  • Individuals and their families have increased control over their lives
  • Individuals and their families are able to imagine what a good life looks like for them and experience supports and services as something that makes this easier to achieve
  • Individuals and families have one “plan”. In this plan individuals and families describe what they need and want to build a good life for themselves. This plan is based on strengths, preferences and aspirations (dreams). All supports, services and funders use the same plan as the key point of reference.
  • There is one pool of funding i.e. all government agencies will put the money into one “bucket”
  • Any funding is worked out on a person by person and/or family by family basis. Individuals and families have control of this funding
  • Individuals and families will have initial contact with an Independent Facilitator (Navigator). They will be available to work with individuals and families in considering what a good life looks like for them and how they might achieve it. Note: Navigators do not decide on the level of funding.
  • Individuals and families decide on the level of involvement they want with an Independent Facilitator (Navigator)
  • Individuals and families have increased choice. These choices range from managing all of their resources themselves to choosing to buy support from service providers. Some individuals and families may choose a mix of options. Others may want the “say so” regarding their resources but have an organisation manage some or all of the tasks associated with making things happen.
  • Individuals and families will be able to connect with networks of disabled people and/or families to give them ideas about the choices they can make and the wide range of options that are possible.
  • Individuals and families will have input into designing and governing   systems, supports and services.
  • Individuals and families will have key roles in the monitoring and evaluation of any systems, supports and services.

Service providers will:

  • operate with a clear set of principles and expected outcomes
  • negotiate how they work on a person by person and/or family by family basis. Note: This will initially be informed by the disabled person’s plan.
  • experience one monitoring and evaluation process that is developmental
  • operate according to a facilitation based approach i.e. make it easier for individuals and families to achieve their goals by tailoring supports rather than the provision of a set range of service types
  • work to ensure community (generic) options are exhausted before specialist services are considered
  • operate with significantly reduced bureaucratic restrictions  
  • experience the “system” as being supportive of innovation.

Government departments will:

  • have shared principles and outcomes that guide their decisions and actions
  • have a shared monitoring and evaluation process
  • ensure that all endeavours they fund directly or indirectly (e.g. workforce development) operate in accordance with the same principles and intent as Enabling Good Lives
  • be trusting and trustworthy partners.       

Five key characteristics of the Enabling Good Lives approach     

1.  Self-directed planning and facilitation

All supports and services are led by the preferences, strengths, aspirations and needs of disabled people and their families. An aspiration-based personal plan is the central document to design and measure paid supports. While the core components of plans may be similar, plans make take different forms. Unique and changing aspirations are to be expected. Supports and services will need to continually adapt in the way they assist people to build and maintain a good life.

An Independent Facilitator (Navigator) can assist disabled persons and family/whānau to consider existing options and create new possibilities. The degree of involvement an individual or family has with a Navigator is negotiated between the parties.

2.  Cross-government individualised and portable funding

Disabled people and family/whānau have control of funding i.e.bulk funding, according to service type, will be replaced with individualised funding where people can choose how they create a good life for themselves. All government funders will contribute to one funding pool that is determined through a simple process of self assessment (or supported self assessment) and confirmation.

Disabled people and family/whānau will be able to move their funding as their preferences and needs change.

3.  Considering the person in their wider context, not in the context of ‘funded support services’

Disabled people and family/whānau belong to networks e.g. family, friends and community. These networks are respected as being fundamental to identity, belonging and citizenship.

4.  Strengthening families or whānau

There is direct investment in the networks of disabled people and their family/whānau. Resources are provided to assist understanding, educate and promote increased knowledge of options and how to maximise choice and control.

5.  Community building to develop natural supports

Disabled people are active and valued citizens with an everyday life in everyday places. Enabling Good Lives supports people to achieve desirable outcomes such as education and training; employment; being with friends; having relationships and a family; and taking part in community and cultural activities. Community (generic, mainstream) opportunities and assets are educated and supported to be inclusive and valuing of diversity.       

Enabling Good Lives - five elements for system change     

These are interdependent but can be implemented incrementally, either concurrently or separately in phases.

The five elements are:

  1. Building knowledge and skills of disabled people: to ensure disabled people understand the direction for change, and can take up opportunities to have more choice and control over their supports
  2. Investment in families: to assist families/whānau to best support their disabled family member to have a “good life” and help them develop a vision and aspirations for what can be achieved
  3. Changes in communities: to ensure communities, including businesses, workplaces, schools, and religious, cultural, sporting and recreational activities, are accessible and welcoming. Communities also need to recognise the contribution that disabled people can make to enhance cohesion and well-being
  4. Changes to service provision: to align organisational roles and functions, delivery models, workforce capability, accountability measures, monitoring and evaluation with the vision and principles of the transformed system
  5. Changes to government systems and processes: to support the system redesign e.g., integrated contracting, individualised funding, flexible outcomes-focussed contracting, funding pooled from across Votes (may include Vote structure changes) and involving disabled people and families in governance.       

The results of the Enabling Good Lives approach     

Disabled children and adults and their family/whānau will have greater choice and control over their supports and lives, and make more use of natural and universally available supports.

Disabled people and their families, as appropriate, 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 – whether I manage it, or an agency manages it under my instructions, or a provider is paid to deliver a service to me.
  • The level of support available to me is portable, following me wherever I move in the country.
  • 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.
  • I have a network of people who support me – family, whānau, friends, community and, if needed, paid support staff.
  • I feel welcomed and included in my local community most of the time, and I can get help to develop good relationships in the community if needed

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