on 24 November 2017
Posted on: 24 November 2017
24 November 2017
November Update for System Transformation
Kia ora kotou,
I am really looking forward to engaging with new Ministers about all the work that’s underway across the programme to redesign the disability support system. Over the last month we have had working groups almost every day and, some days, multiple working groups. Each of these working groups has a third, at least a third disabled people, and no more than a third officials and the rest/balance of the working groups are made up from people from the disability sector.
The focus over the last month has been on the ones that need to be in place for the prototype that will be rolled out on the 1st of July, 2018. So that includes things like how do people access the disability support system? Where do they go to find out information? And how will the system reach out to welcome them? And looking at what will the team look like, what sorts of people will be in the team? What kind of skills will they have? How will they be organised? We are also looking about how do we need to be able to ensure that the system is a learning system? What information will be gathered? How will it be gathered? How would we work together to analyse it? And so that it will be fed back into the system. There are also a couple of working groups that have been focussing on the underpinning parts of the system. One of the first working groups that started off was one looking at the scope of funding. So what specialist disability support should come across from other parts of government into the disability support system? And there has been a lot of work about the safe guarding approach. How can we ensure that in every aspect of the system that disabled people have the opportunities to take risks but not be at any greater risk than other New Zealanders?
Over the next month there will be a whole lot more working groups kicking off and we are going to be starting to look at the interfaces between other government departments and the new disability support system.
We will also be starting the work on evaluation and an evaluation working group will be getting underway to look at all the aspects of how we are not only going to evaluate the new system but will build in monitoring, develop an outcomes framework and then work out how we are actually going to measure outcomes so that not just people who can tell us what’s happened have the chance to feed in their experience into the outcomes that we can see for everybody in the disability sector.
Not all working groups are going to start this year - as you are aware there are more than 20 working groups and we just can’t run everything at once so some working groups will start next year, for example, the market shaping working group.
As I go around the country, I am starting to get more and more questions about organisational form so I wanted to talk a little bit more about that. So organisational form, that’s a very kind of technical thing. What do we mean by that? People are asking questions about what will be the organisation or organisations that will run the disability support system. At the moment, policy and a lot of the operational guidelines are set by the Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services and the system is administered by 16 Needs Assessment and Service Coordination agencies across New Zealand. And people are asking what will it look like in the future? The short answer is, we haven’t decided so no decisions have been made on what the organisations will look like in the future. Some of the questions we need to think through is, where should the lead agency, which has been setting the policy framework sit? Currently it’s the Ministry of Health. Is that the right place for that?
We’ve identified a number of new roles within the disability support system. What’s the best way to organise them - into different or into one organisation or multiple organisations? For example, we’ve had a lot of feedback from disabled people and families that they think it’s really important that decisions around funding are quite separate from the people who are Connectors, who walk alongside disabled people. So we need to ask the question, how do you organise the functions and the roles in the new system in a way that enables everyone to work together that is a good experience for disabled people and whānau, but also ensure that there aren’t perverse incentives, like money driving decisions.
Some of the other questions are how many organisations? We’ve had lots of feedback that you know 16 NASCs, it is difficult to have a consistent experience across New Zealand. So, what’s the right number of organisations? And what sorts of organisations should there be? There are a range at the moment, in terms of the current system which has not for profit, profit and DHB, government-owned type organisations. One of the key questions about what it will look like in the future is, who will make the decisions about how organisations will run? So what will be the governance arrangements and how we make sure disabled people and whānau views continue to feed into the system so that we make sure the disability support system meets their needs not just now but into the future.
So as you can tell there are a lot of questions still to be asked. I anticipate that that process will take quite a long time, up to around a year. So we are not expecting there to be a decision about organisations by the 1st of July, 2018. But what we will be doing in the prototype is running organisations or having teams that look quite different from the existing system and learning about how that works through what we are trying in MidCentral on day one.
So hopefully that helps people to understand that we haven’t made any decisions on what the organisations will look like in the new disability support system. There will be a process for making those decisions and that will take some time. We will be going to Cabinet to get their agreement to the process either later this year or early next year. Thank you to everyone who has been involved with this process to date and to all of the people who are about to be involved in working groups and virtual testing groups. My sincere apologies about the delay in getting back to individuals and I will be continuing to communicate with people individually over the next month.