Demonstrations of the Enabling Good Lives approach in Christchurch and the Waikato Cabinet paper December 2014
1. This paper reports on the progress of the demonstration of the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach in Christchurch, and seeks agreement on the high-level design for a demonstration of the approach in the Waikato.
2. In September 2012, the Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues endorsed a long-term direction for change to the disability support system across government agencies. The direction, based on the EGL approach, seeks to ensure disabled people have greater choice and control over their supports and their lives.
3. To gather information about how the EGL approach works and how to implement changes across the disability system, Cabinet agreed to a three-year demonstration of the EGL approach, and mandated the Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues to make decisions on the detailed design in July 2013 [CAB Min (13) 24/6 refers]. Cabinet invited the Minister for Disability Issues to provide a progress report on the demonstration in Christchurch in late December 2014.
4. Budget 2013 included $1 million per year over three years for the additional costs associated with the demonstration in Christchurch.
5. The key elements of the design for Year One of the Christchurch demonstration are individualised and integrated funding, and direct purchasing of support by disabled people. Funding from the Ministries of Health, Education, and Social Development was pooled within the Vote Health, National Disability Support Services non-departmental appropriation. This was allocated as personal budgets for participants to use to purchase individual supports.
6. Year One of the Christchurch demonstration had 52 participants with a focus on school leavers aged 18-21 years, with high and very high needs – as verified through the Ministry of Education’s Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). The first annual formative evaluation of the demonstration in Christchurch showed that two-thirds of the participants chose to purchase different supports from those traditionally available. Participants and their families also reported that the horizons for the participants had widened with some of the young people attending courses, undertaking work experiences and/or planning to live away from home.
7. The first evaluation also identified some challenges resulting from attempting to fit the EGL approach within the current service delivery model. For example, the Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination (NASC) process meant that some participants experienced a delay in accessing their personalised budget. Responding to these challenges has resulted in changing the priority for Year Two of the demonstration from initial thinking about widening the participant group beyond school leavers, to developing a new funding allocation tool and alternative purchasing options for participants.
8. Budget 2014 included $3.82 million over three years ($1.1m in 2014/15 and $1.36 million in 2015/16 and 2016/17) for a demonstration of the EGL approach in the Waikato. In conjunction with the Waikato Leadership Group, officials have developed a high-level design with four action areas – each focusing on a different group of disabled people and their families.
9. Both demonstrations of the EGL approach focus on using existing resources more effectively. Services are funded within the existing baselines of Votes Health, Education, and Social Development that are targeted to the more flexible purchase of disability supports.