ODI Newsletter - November 2017

Bringing you news from the Office for Disability Issues and around the disability sector
  • Welcome from our new Minister – Hon Carmel Sepuloni
  • Development of the Disability Strategy – creating accountability through measuring progress
  • Interview with Paula Tesoriero, Disability Rights Commissioner
  • Co-design process attracts international interest
  • New presentations available from the Japanese young leaders programme
  • Five young leaders selected for the 2018 Japan trip
  • International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December
  • Meet an ODI member – Paul Dickey
  • Sharing your stories – SAFA Pilot

Welcome from our new Minister – Hon Carmel Sepuloni

Carmel Sepuloni. Minister for Disability Issues
Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Disability Issues

Welcome to this issue of the Office for Disability Issues newsletter – my first as Minister for Disability Issues. I feel both honoured and excited to have been given this opportunity to work for disabled people. Inclusivity and diversity is a priority for me and the government.

Addressing the challenges faced by disadvantaged minorities has long been a key priority for me but now, more than ever before, I will be able to drive change in the areas that will make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

The New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026, the Enabling Good Lives Programme and the on-going work to transform the disability support system are all positive steps forward. In my opinion, employing a co-design approach, as these initiatives have done, is imperative in any future policy development and service design process. Disabled people should be involved in every aspect of decision-making about their lives, with support from their families and whānau where needed. The best way to truly understand disability issues is to listen to the people themselves.

Of course, we need to have the data available to paint the full picture – a past shortfall that I’m pleased to see is being addressed with the recent introduction of disability-identifying questions in various national surveys. Having the data is just the tip of the iceberg though; we need to act on it, to deliver better supports and services, to improve the outcomes we are responsible for within our respective areas.

The gap between young disabled people and non-disabled people in education, training and employment, to take just one example, is of real concern to me. We should all have an equal right to access the things that are essential to living, which includes health, education, employment, transport and housing. I will be doing whatever I can in my roles as Minister for Disability Issues and Minister of Social Development, and working closely with my fellow ministers, to ensure disabled people are not left behind.

This is an exciting time to be working in the disability sector – there is much to do. At the Attitude Awards earlier this month, I was reminded of the passion, determination, humanity and leadership of people living with, and working in, disability.

Finally, thank you all for the work you do. I look forward to working with you, and meeting some of you in the months to come.

Best wishes

Hon Carmel Sepuloni

Development of the Disability Strategy – creating accountability through measuring progress

The Disability Strategy Outcomes Framework is being developed with input from the New Zealand Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group, relevant government agencies and other key groups.   In 2016 disabled people told us that they wanted greater accountability though measuring progress achieved against the Disability Strategy. 

At a full-day meeting in October the reference group provided further advice on the set of indicators that will provide evidence of progress being achieved for disabled people.
Work continues to refine the indicators, and consider the important issue of how those indicators might be measured. Early in 2018 we hope to take our work to the new government and get approval for public engagement to explain the indicators and seek input on the priority actions to be included in the update of the Disability Action Plan.

An interview with Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Disability Rights Commissioner

Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Disability Rights Commissioner
Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Disability Rights Commissioner

Paula Tesoriero took up the role as the Disability Rights Commissioner just over three months ago. In an in-depth interview with ODI, she explains the areas she’ll be focussing on “to really shift the dial for disabled people”. Read the full interview on our website to learn more about Paula and her motivations for taking on this critically important role.

  • What are your priorities during your term as Disability Rights Commissioner?

I am very clear about what my priorities are; they’re drawn from a number of things – what the disability sector has told me, what decision-makers have talked to me about, and a number of UN recommendations and domestic reports highlighting the need for progress. I’ve looked at all the complaints that have come into the Human Rights Commission, of which disability is over-represented, and looked at the anecdotal evidence. As a result I’ve come up with two categories of priorities – key initiatives and strategic advocacy.

The key initiatives I’ll be focussing on are: education, employment, shifting the hearts and minds of New Zealanders, building a more robust data picture of disability in New Zealand, and finally, supporting a strong disability sector. We’ve got a programme of work across all of those areas.

Strategic advocacy areas are those where we’ll be very deliberate about raising awareness, providing advocacy and supporting others. These areas are Housing; Accessibility – Infrastructure and information; Violence and abuse; Mental health; Seclusion and restraint; Bio-ethics (place in society); State abuse; Neurodisability issues; supported decision-making; and support for families.

  • So what will success look like for a disabled person?

Success for me is about shifting the dial on the well-being outcomes. Currently, the 42 per cent of disabled young people not being in education, employment or training has to shift. Disabled new Zealanders are over-represented in violence and abuse statistics, and over-represented in youth justice system, and care and protection stats.

Also, finally, the disabled population is behind other population groups in New Zealand and fare poorly across other key wellbeing indicators, such as health, feelings of security, and they’re more lonely. I’m not going to be able to shift the dial on all of those, but I want the conversation to be such that we all accept a responsibility across central and local government, the business community, and the rest of the sector, to shift the dial on these outcomes.

  • What has surprised you most about what you have learnt?

Certainly, my understanding when I came into the role was based on the roles I had had and on all the reading I had done around the issues. Notwithstanding that, I’ve been surprised at how far behind the disabled population is, and the amount of work needed to shift those outcomes.

The other thing I’m aware of is the amount of great work going on – we have an opportunity to be a bit more strategic and co-ordinated to achieve better outcomes.

I’ve been pleasantly reassured by the willingness of agencies to work with me to shift these outcomes – all seem genuinely committed. I see my job as being to keep raising their awareness and working with them to progress the key issues.

  • What can others do?

I can’t do all this on my own! The key organisations I see helping to take things forward are the Disabled Peoples Organisations, other disability organisations, government agencies, local government, the business community and NGOs.  In addition the Minister for Disability Issues and other Ministers are critical to help drive better outcomes.

It is important to me that the disability sector supports my role, raises issues with me and also holds me to account.

What I’m saying to stakeholders as I’m sharing my priorities is that I really want to be working in partnership with a lot of organisations – ODI, agencies and business. It’s the only way we are meaningfully going to be able to shift the dial on health and wellbeing outcomes for disabled people.

What I don’t want to do is duplicate work. I’ve tried to be careful in determining those priorities that what I’m adding is the uniqueness of the role I hold. In some cases it might be really leveraging what others are doing and adding my voice.

There’s a lot of mana for this role and what I have to do is earn the respect of people for the person who holds the role. That’s up to me.

Co-design process attracts international interest

Interest in New Zealand’s approach to co-design of the new disability support system with the disability sector led to an invitation to present at the annual International Initiative for Disability Leadership meeting in Ottawa, Canada.

The Ministry of Health’s Toni Atkinson and Sacha O’Dea, along with incoming president of the Disabled Persons’ Assembly and member of the Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group, Gerri Pomeroy, attended the meeting and various other presentations in Canada.

Gerri, Sacha and Toni were part of the co-design group which, earlier this year, developed the high-level design to transform New Zealand’s disability support system.

Speaking to the Deputy Ministers Taskforce on Disability and Inclusiveness, Gerri told the group she “found the co-design process both fantastic and challenging”.

“It was mentally tough, the conversations were frequently crunchy, and for myself, it took a while to trust that everyone in the group genuinely wanted transformational change.”

“The people in the co-design group were flexible, generous, honest and human. They brought different experiences, expertise, perspectives and networks to the table."

Sacha’s observations of the co-design process were that while not all the processes are perfect, ground-breaking work is occurring with System Transformation and the team is making genuine attempts to co-design with the disability sector.

New presentations available from the Japanese young leaders programme

Young Japanese leaderse with Brian Coffey (right)
Young Japanese leaders with Brian Coffey (right)

Last month, the Office for Disability Issues had the pleasure of hosting a group of young Japanese leaders taking part in the 2017 Community Core Leaders Development Programme.

Links to presentations:

Five young leaders selected for 2018 Japan Trip

Five young leaders working in the New Zealand disability sector will join others from the seniors and youth sectors, as well as similar delegations from Germany and Austria on a trip to Japan. The trip will involve a four-day discussion forum in Tokyo, followed by a regional programme to observe community-based services and attend local seminars specific to their field.

A total of 69 applications from young leaders across the disability sector were received for the 2018 Young Leaders trip to Japan – far more than in previous years. The calibre of applicants was outstanding, indicating that the future of New Zealand’s disability sector is in safe hands.

The selection panel had a hard job selecting just the five successful candidates – four plus a delegation lead. The panel included people from ODI, the NZ Disability Support Network, the Disabled People’s Organisations Coalition and past participants of the programme with lived experience of disability.

We look forward to hearing all about their trip and sharing their stories with you.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December

New Zealand to celebrate the UN's International Day of Persons for Disability
NZ to celebrate UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December is the day set by the United Nations to celebrate disabled people, to raise awareness and promote action on the issues disabled people face in fully and effectively participating in society.

The international awareness day has been running since 1992, with a different theme each year. This year’s theme is Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”. More info: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/international-day-of-persons-with-disabilities-3-december/idpd2017.html

Director of the Office for Disability Issues, Brian Coffey, says, “For those of us working in the disability sector, every day is focused on improving outcomes for disabled people. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an extra reminder to all of us – government agencies, local authorities, schools, businesses and local communities – that we need to be more inclusive of disabled people.”

There will be a variety of events going on around the country. Here are some we are aware of. If you know of any others, let us know and we’ll share them on our Facebook page. Email – odi@msd.govt.nz

Join in the celebration at an event near you:

  • Celebrate Us concert, organised by CCS Disability Action and Play it Strange, 1-8pm Sat 2 December, Corner Madras and Gloucester Streets. More info
  • Salonica - theatre performance with New Zealand Sign Language, 7.30pm Fri 1 & Sat 2 December at The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts. More info
  • Disability Pride Day, sponsored by the Wellington City Council, Sun 3 December, Wellington Waterfront. More info
  • Film screenings at Nga Taonga Sound and Vision, Sat 2 December. More info
    • 2.30pm -“Visions and Realities” – a documentary about the rise of the disability rights movement in NZ
    • 4.30pm – “Defiant Lives” – a film about the disability rights movements in the US/UK/Australia.
  • Tape Art New Zealand will be running a series of workshops for disabled people during Disability Pride Week (Thurs 30 Nov to Tues 5 Dec), culminating with the creation of murals at the Library and Nga Taonga Sound & Vision. More info

Meet ODI member … Paul Dickey

This issue, we introduce our most longstanding team member, Paul Dickey, Senior Advisor, who has been with ODI since 2002.

Paul Dickey, Senior Advisor in ODI
Paul Dickey, Senior Advisor, ODI
  • What did you do before joining the ODI Team?

I started my career working for Age Concern New Zealand at its national office. Over eight years, I was fortunate to have a range of experiences working in support of the local branches and advocacy for improving the quality of life for older people. It was a challenging time for the organisation as it was transitioning from a charitable welfare basis into a more professional provider of services and advocacy. In my role I was able to see and share how community organisations engage with government agencies and the big power difference between them. I have tried to hold onto my memory of what it is like to be in the community to inform my work inside government.

  • What are your biggest challenges in your role at ODI? What has surprised you most about what you’ve learnt?

Moving into the Office for Disability Issues in 2002, not long after it was established, was helped by my having some knowledge of disabled people from my role at Age Concern New Zealand. Including in the previous year, 2001, when the first New Zealand Disability Strategy was released promoting a completely different way of thinking about disability. However, the disability sector is much more complicated than the older people sector, not just because of the larger number of people involved but the wide range of issues affected.

A big challenge over the years in promoting action to improve disabled people’s lives has been the fragmented leadership across the disability sector.  It is difficult for government agencies to listen to the many different voices promoting issues impacting on certain groups of people with impairment. The challenge of leadership is not unique to the disability sector, and it is not helped by the limited resources available to support organisations to work together and develop more strategic approaches to leadership and engagement with government agencies. I would like to think that the Office for Disability Issues has played its part. In recent years, I have seen a shift for the better – helped by a general move towards thinking about outcomes, the government’s focus on a single Disability Action Plan, and the wider leveraging of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

  • And what about outside work, how do you like to spend your time?

In my personal time, I enjoy spending my weekends outdoors working in my garden and appreciating the quiet in living in a provincial town.

Sharing your stories… SAFA Pilot

The strategy in action story in the spotlight this issue is… Safeguarding Adults from Abuse (SAFA) interagency response pilot.

 The Safeguarding Adults from Abuse (SAFA) project’s overall goal was to develop an integrated safety response to safeguard “vulnerable adults”.

In 2016, Waitemata Police and Waitemata DHB jointly ran a six-month pilot of the SAFA response across the Waitemata District. As a result 40 victims were removed from unsafe situations and instead connected with support and services to improve their safety.

A Police review concluded that the pilot gave Police staff the ability to better recognise vulnerable adults, improve their confidence in responding and the processes to provide victim support. Feedback from stakeholders was very positive:

“Stakeholders felt that the process increased accountability for improving the safety of vulnerable adults, facilitating engagement of partner agencies and a more collective response.”

“Agencies felt the Pilot had supported them to respond better to the ‘grey areas’, particularly around what to consider when managing relationships with vulnerable adults, assessing risk and identifying appropriate support services and strategies.”

Safeguarding Adults Consultant and Coordinator, Sue Hobbs says:

“A Safeguarding Adults framework is needed nationwide for ‘vulnerable’ adults (under 65 years) with complex care and support needs who are at risk of or experiencing abuse, much like the new service, Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS), supports older adults (65 years and over) who are at risk of abuse, neglect and harm.

“SAFA will support organisations to work together to safeguard adults with complex care and support needs who are at risk of or experiencing abuse or neglect – which includes family harm and sexual harm.”

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