Vulnerable charitable disability services may fall prey to for-profit service providers keen to gain market share. The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme should mean growth in quality private sector services for people with disabilities. A new market is about to open up that will cause a massive surge in private businesses offering disability services. Currently, the majority of disability services are provided by community organisations and charities. This new environment will likely create a lucrative market for private providers, with a business model geared around attracting as many people as possible to their service. I know how hard it is to keep a small charitable service operating, through a quagmire of regulations and burdensome reporting requirements. There are increasing cost pressures, staff turnover due to low sector-wide wages, increasing regulation, and 'service reorientations' (code for reduced government support). A PricewaterhouseCoopers report into Out of Home Disability Services commissioned by the federal Department of Human Services in 2009 found that over 70 per cent of Victorian disability services have greater expenses than government funding provided.
The latest example was in the latest Victorian state budget, where the indexation (of 2.5 per cent) was only added to 80 per cent of the funds - the bit that the government says is used to pay salaries (never mind that until budget day it was agreed that salaries comprised 85 per cent of the government funding). Many organisations in the disability sector struggle to maintain the quality of their services while competing with larger charities, in order to secure their long-term funding base.
As these large, private service providers stand poised to capitalise on the introduction of the NDIS, it may come as a surprise to many that these for-profit private organisations are currently able to dabble in the sector but have none of the reporting requirements that non-profit charities do.
While not averse to competition or the presence of for-profit providers supporting people, I am concerned by the motivation of providers for being in this space, and by the unequal playing field. The NDIS aims to eliminate waiting lists and enable people with disabilities to access supports 24 hours a day. Similarly, with the profit motive behind their operations, it is arguable that we can expect the quality of services to suffer over the medium to long term. New for-profit businesses entering the disability service sector will have considerable resources at their disposal to aggressively gain market share. My concern is that these new providers will supplant vulnerable community based charitable disability services, rather than complement them. If we as a nation seek a more inclusive, compassionate society where everyone can participate equally regardless of ability, now is the time for a debate on the role and relevance of the not-for-profit sector in the future provision of disability support services. Caring Mum, the criticisms about individualisation in the NDIS are fair if we look at the whole picture. As a long time worker in the disability sector what frightens me more than anything is this move to privatisation. As a long time worker in various forms of disability support, I have to say that I think it is a good thing to bring in privatisation.
Is this the same Inclusion Melbourne that charges people up to 55% of their individualised funding package for 'case management'?.Most disability service providers like Inclusion Melbourne offer an outdated product.
I think we are concentrating too much on NDIS as the answers lie in community development and the NDS and nothing much or meaningful is happening in this space.Most of the large disability services - supposedly not for profit are run like large corporations and personal fiefdoms anyway so essentially there is little difference. This site is where you will find ABC stories, interviews and videos on the subject of disability. In 1895 Mark Twain made quite an impression on his audiences during his whistlestop visit to colonial Australia.
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While viewing any Flickr photos page, click on the bookmarklet to open the same view on Flickriver. But Daniel Leighton wonders if a business model geared toward profit will look after some of the most vulnerable people in the community. In theory, it means a doubling of high quality services being offered to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Most of these groups are funded by the government, but survive on the smell of an oily rag, receiving less than $1 million in funding per year.
It proposes to eliminate waiting lists for services and provide the funding directly to people with disabilities, who can then 'shop around' for different services.
Large, private care providers, for example in aged care, already have the infrastructure and scale to enter the disability services sector. I work for a support service called Inclusion Melbourne, which works hard to provide meaningful community based activities for adults with intellectual disabilities. And this doesn't even include the challenge that comes with moving to individualised supports, where services are provided to people one-on-one rather than in a group (something that Inclusion Melbourne offered many years ago). This is because while government changed the rules and expectations about what services to provide, they didn't change the out-dated funding model. It did this even though it appears the Government's own estimates of inflation are higher than this for the next three years. Coupled with this, increasing compliance and regulatory burdens favour economies of scale - rather than the current composition of a blanket of small community providers. In fact, private providers are not even required to register with the government, but are still eligible to receive tax-payer funds. Just as we have seen scandals in for-profit aged care, we shouldn't be surprised if it were to happen in for-profit disability services. I have already met with an international company investigating starting franchises in Australia once the NDIS comes online.
While the owners of these for-profit businesses may be make a handsome profit, our communities, and most importantly, the people we care for, may continue to experience disenfranchised lives. The distinction between not for profit and for profit organisations is irrelevant in todays society. It is of course better for people to have control over how they spend funding on their own individual needs, but there remain questions about how other useful services will be funded under an NDIS. Already I am seeing organisations raising prices and charging for what had always been given a part of your service.
Many services in the not-for-profit sector have assumed for years that their funding will return next year, no matter what, and there are just not enough motivational factors to improve or sustain the quality of service.
We've recently seen existing services rebranding their programs calling them 'life skills' and 'vocational support' and even 'colleges', and then delivering the same old babysitting services they always have but with bigger promises. As you browse through the site, the links you follow will take you to stories as they appeared in their original context, whether from ABC News, a TV program or a radio interview. Once added to your personalized homepage, just edit widget settings to select your desired view. The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme or DisabilityCare, which when fully operational will grow to ultimately double the size of the pie, from $6 billion per year in initial government funding to $12 billion or more.
According to the 2011-12 Victorian Department of Human Services annual report, only fifteen per cent of these bodies in Victoria have a budget between $1-2 million. This will bring much needed service innovation, and a shake-up of the sector isn't necessarily a bad thing. The kinds of pressures that Inclusion Melbourne faces are typical for many disability services providers. So small charities will have to scrimp and save - and rely even more on the good will of staff to meet all the other bills that that need to be paid. Industry insiders are already openly talking about a round of mergers as the only solution to this challenge.


Unfortunately, there is little impetus for those businesses to invest in many of the areas that community-based charities have traditionally supported: community development, community strengthening, research, and funding volunteering support roles.
And remember, for-profit providers currently have none of those pesky quality reporting requirements to fulfil. Similarly, other colleagues have been approached by other international providers to establish local branch offices. According to my analysis of the Register of Disability Service Providers lists from 2007-2013, over 15 per cent of registered disability services have closed or merged in the last five years in Victoria alone. For example, it is unlikely that many consumers would pay for systemic advocacy or community development that focusses on access to public transport in a fee-for-service structure even though we know these are important strategies for societal change.
I am fairly sure that if a service provider is making there clients happy now they will stay with the organisation in the future.
We are even making families prove their limited finances by producing payslips and bills to prove that they are low income earners, and thus qualify for a reduction in fees.
How many services do you know that have lost a license or funding due to poor service provision?
I felt embarrased for him, bobbing his head up and down swearing in front of that audience!. A recent news article from the UK reported that one in six charities were planning to shut up shop, due to rising costs and reduced funding. On current trends, we could expect as much as one third of the sector to vanish before the introduction of the NDIS. My business income may increase due to the NDIS however, I don't believe I'm a threat to disability services as I offer a unique service.
We need to have a balanced approach to ensuring that the services people say they need are funded appropriately and while individualised funding is good for the person receiving highly-tailored services, it isn't the answer to everything we need.
I know of many not for profits that have tens of millions in the bank for a rainy day, but who scrimp of the service offered anyway.The second issue is with the NDIS itself and how it is being promoted. However, in order to attract and retain these highly skilled disability workers, we need to ensure they have job security, ongoing training and supervision, to ensure standards are met.a€?a€?The draft bill as it stands has not given adequate attention to how minimum standards of employment and qualifications for disability workers will be overseen.
When people want a decent education, services run in-house courses which qualify people for nothing more than more disability services.I recently spoke to a rogue case manager from a 'non-profit' who said that staff have been told that as they prepare for NDIS funding, they will be no longer accepting referrals from people on a low-income, but will tailor their services to clients who would be willing to pay fee-for-service on top of their funding package for additional assistance.
Whilst I agree and applaud increased funding and control devolving to those that receive the services, there is a real risk that terminal underfunding will result in some very disappointing outcomes for people, i.e. We cannot afford to have insecure work in the disability sector, or workers will leave the sector.
Staff members are not allowed to tell people how much case management costs clients and therefore how much the individual support package might be without their overpriced services attached, are not allowed to tell clients about Direct Payments or even what the balance of their funding package is at any time because at the end of the financial year, the service gets to 'keep the change'. Again off that package.Many on these packages are quite capable of organising their own funding in as much as they can call the Agency to arrange a 'carer' cutting out at least one $45 fee. When Josh and Tiffany invited me to blog, I said I wanted to make some of my posts about environmental topics. One of the major concerns that isn't being addressed urgently in the lack of suitably trained staff and the known shortfall in support staff that will approach the tens of thousands.
I'm thrilled that the NDIS might offer a chance for new providers to enter the scene, as long as people with a disability get wise to the fact that most services offer big promises but deliver little to people in areas beyond personal care and the same old time-wasting programs. If for-profit service offer people real results, the results that they actually want, bring it on. Hiring through a service provider will be dearer again, as they'll also want a cut for admin and profit etc, so based on what providers have been known to pay for oncall support staff, you can double this figure.All the maths aside, what is called for isn't small not for profits disappearing or for profits bowling the sector over, but a new model of service delivery that allow people to get the support they need, whilst providing a real income and career for those that choose to work in this sector.



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