Information, Linkages and Capacity-building (ILC) Information Session

This was the final session at the Advocacy Sector Conversations forum held at St Michael’s Hall on 9 July 2019.


Overview

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is looking to invest almost $400m in inclusion programs across the nation over the next three years.  During August and September 2019, funding rounds open for the   Individual Capacity Building Program, Economic and Community Participation Program and Mainstream Capacity Building Program. Daniel Leighton, Branch Manager, Information Linkage & Capacity at National Disability Insurance Agency, provides an outline of the strategic intent of each program and the inclusion outcomes they are looking for.

 

 

scroll to the bottom of this post for links to resources mentioned in this presentation.

 

Transcript & Audio

 

MELISSA HALE, DARU COORDINATOR:
The last session of the day is normally the Office for Disability.  This time we thought it would be timely to have an information session on the Information Linkages and Capacity Building Program and let’s face it that’s why you’re all here.

Given that a lot of organisations are in attendance today have been affected by the funding changes in the sector and are looking to the ILC program to meet the needs of your clients I’m sure you will welcome everything you learnt from today.

You probably remember Daniel Leighton from Inclusion Melbourne and he is now sorting all your ILC problems out, is that correct?

DANIEL LEIGHTON, NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE AGENCY
Trying.

MELISSA HALE:
Okay, welcome Daniel.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Good afternoon everyone.  Sorry for the delay in setting up the screen.  My name is Daniel Leighton I’m the branch manager of ILC or Information Linkages and Capacity Building.  It’s a pleasure to be here with you to talk about ILC and its directions.

Let me begin particularly during NAIDOC week by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my deep and personal respects to their elders past present and emerging.

I wanted us to have the chance to have a conversation.  Basically just run through ILC where we’ve been where we’re heading and have the chance to engage with you.  Whilst I’m standing here in front of the microphone to support those people who need that I’m quite happy given we’re not such a big group to take questions throughout.

As I’m sure all of you will know, the goal of ILC is ultimately to create a more accessible and inclusive and connected Australia.  ILC is taking over the provision of services that have traditionally been part of State and Territory funding in relation to provision of information around disability as well as supporting a wide range of services that have supported people with a disability.

ILC the NDIA began implementing the ILC policy which was agreed to by COAG in 2015.  Since that time there has been a range of grant rounds that have been run and a series of documents that have been put out.  I don’t really need to walk through each of those.  Just to say there has been a fair bit of work that’s gone on to get us to the point where we are now.

In delivering all those grant rounds there were a few lessons that were learnt and consideration given as to what actually would be the best way to roll out ILC and more importantly what is the best way to support the organisations who do this vital work.  In developing the strategy the team looked at what were some of the lessons from those grant rounds.

The first one that stands out as I’m sure you’re all aware; annual grants.   Grants that are only of 12 month duration are cumbersome for you they are also cumbersome for my team.  They take up time and they also don’t provide the certainty that’s required in order to ensure the viability of the organisation.  They also don’t necessarily provide enough time to actually make a sustainable and impactful change.  It’s what we really want to do.

We’ve also seen a whole lot of projects and activities that have been a bit of a scatter gun approach.  We wanted to have a bit more of a national focus where we could measure outcomes and we could look at measuring those outcomes and then look at how we could quickly replicate or scale those activities to rapidly support people with a disability across the country.

We also learnt the difficulty that many organisations have around their own organisational capacity and we began to think about what we could do to support people and smaller organisations particularly disabled persons organisations to be able to be better prepared and more resilient so that they can spend more time in their communities doing the good work that they’ve been doing.

Taking all of that in consideration, the policy that’s up on the screen now was released in December last year.  In it created four programs:

  1. Individual Capacity-building Program
  2. National Information Program
  3. Mainstream Community Building Program
  4. Economic and Community Participation Program

The strategy released finally a clear purpose which was about investing to create more inclusive services, communities and workplaces and also set up some clear outcomes which the ultimate outcome is that people with a disability are actively contributing to leading shaping and influencing their community.

The four programs as I mentioned, I’ll run through them in greater detail in a minute, whilst they’re seen as discreet they’re also complimentary and we will explore that throughout the rest of this afternoon.  Also sitting within ILC is a fifth program which is local area coordination which sits off to the side of the work that I do, which is the delivery of the partners in community around supporting people with a disability in the community.

To just look at the summary of activities that are provided through each of the programs; the first program is individual capacity building, which is around enabling systemic access to peer support, mentoring and other skill building for people with a disability, their families and carers, which will be largely delivered through building and strengthening a national network of disabled persons and family organisations.

The national information program is around building a core of high quality information that provides information around different disability types and support options in a variety of formats and looking to disseminate these through the DPFO network and also through partners in the community.

The third program is around mainstream capacity building which is going to focus in on targeting critical mainstream interface areas and I said that without saying inter faith which I often do.  And to look at how we can get better response in those interface areas such as health, education, justice and housing and try and bring all the players together to look at how we can make durable change.

Finally, economic and community participation which as the name suggests is around looking at strategies that support employers to employ more people with disability, around building the skills of individuals with disabilities to gain employment but also a focus in at the micro level within communities at clubs and associations to ensure that they’re more accessible and inclusive for people with a disability to be able to participate not only as members but as potentially players or serving on committees.

Is that all making sense as an overview before I go on?  I’m seeing a couple of no’s.  We will head into the detail and I will see if that answers some questions.

Firstly, incapacity building and this will be the largest of the four programs that will be released.  We’re looking at how we provide access to peer support, mentoring and skill building for people with a disability.  We’re doing it to establish a systemic approach.  We’re looking at how we support a national network of disabled persons organisations and family’s organisations and where there are gaps we will look at using other organisations to be able to provide some of these activities.

An underlying approach is that we want to have after three years a stronger and more resilient what we’re calling DPFO sector and I appreciate that it’s DPOs of DSOs and family organisations but as in the Government we like to throw everything into something that’s easy for people to say.

Individual capacity building, what’s it about:  We’re looking at peer to peer support whether that’s at the most micro level of people just being able to come together and talk and share information either online or in their local communities.  We’re looking at and we will be calling for activities that support capacity building around building empowerment for individuals.  We’re looking for ideas and proposals around leadership and professional development for people with a disability.

We’d be interested in hearing about programs and activities that support people who are participants in the scheme to be able to self-manage their own plans but also more generally about how one can build autonomy and active citizenship within community.  That’s the sort of thing we’re looking to achieve through that individual capacity building program.  There’s a couple of extra little bits I will talk about later that also support this activity.

National information is pretty much as the name suggests.  Is around how we gain some consistency and quality in the information that is provided to Australians.  We want to look at information that sits alongside the information that’s already provided by Government.

What we’re looking at is in the first round that’s already gone out and is currently under assessment, we requested information by disability type, however in future rounds we will be looking at thematic approaches to provision of information to people with disability such as how people with a disability might be able to gain access to arts, sport and recreation within their communities.  Looking at connection to education, other areas of life.

Why are we taking this approach?  As I mentioned part of our responsibility is around the provision of information which has previously been the responsibility of State and Territory and Governments.  As their contribution to the sector winds up and their funding goes into the NDIS it is our responsibility at the Commonwealth level to ensure these services exist.

We understand first and foremost that the nature of my autism, the nature of my down syndrome, the nature of my deafness or blindness doesn’t change regardless of which side of a State border I am on.  We don’t need for example seven or eight websites around down syndrome, seven or eight websites around autism.  We need one that provides high quality information in each of these areas to provide that information for those cohorts.

There will be a fair bit of work to do as we seek to build this consistency.  Over time and as flagged within the grant opportunity guidelines, we will be looking to work with the people who receive funding through the national information program on the development of a national platform where we can have all the information available.

If you can picture disability.gov type approach and we will be using data garnered from the website to look at visitor flows to be able to work out what sorts of information are most relevant to people at different points in their life and journey.  For example, if we identify that one of the most popular pages on information about down syndrome is about supporting a young child with down syndrome to enter into school and we recognise that we don’t have that sort of information for someone who has autism, then we will work with the providers who are delivering that information to develop up equivalent information that provides useful information and tips to support a family and a child with autism to benefit from mainstream education.

That’s the approach that we will be taking and then obviously we’re also going to be undertaking more work around what some of the new technologies are that can support a person with a disability.  What’s the feasibility of using geo located material through your smart phone so as a person with a disability is wandering down their street they might be alerted through message, through a notification to say there is an activity that’s being funded here through a DPO that may be of interest to you.

They’re the sorts of things we’re just trying to get a handle on that might be of interest to people with disabilities, their family and carers and we want to see roll out over the next five years.

The third program, is around mainstream capacity building and this program is really about driving practice change in the delivery of mainstream services through the development and trialling of what we’re terming best practice frameworks.  To explain that what we’re looking at because it’s not within our province to be able to fund on going supports in this space, what we’re interested in doing is providing catalytic investments to trial new ideas.

The initial mainstream capacity building program will focus in on health when that is announced.  We’d be interested in hearing from a hospital about how they might have ideas on how they can improve emergency access presentation by people with a disability.  We’re interested in proposals around how to improve preventative screening for people with a disability and I note that both breast screen and prostate screen occur via your name being on an electoral roll.  The majority of people with an intellectual disability aren’t on the electoral roll therefore how are they gaining access to these preventative screening measures.  We would be interested in someone doing work around that.

These projects we’re talking about being funded for 18 months to two years, potentially up to about $2 million where we would like to see area mental health services partnering with Universities, partnering with local organisations with people with a disability to look at how they might trial something new.  Whether it’s about additional training for staff, whether it’s about trialling new rostering methods, whether it’s about access to interpreters, whether it’s about thinking about how they might recut existing data in order to support access to people with a disability.  These are the sorts of things we’re interested in.  Yes?

QUESTION:  MARY SAYERS, CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AUSTRALIA
Mary Sayers from Children and Young People with Disabilities Australia.  Interesting you’re focusing on health in the first instance.  We’ve had a lot of discussion today about the medical model of disability which I’m sure you’re well aware of.

How will people with disability be informing this mainstream capacity building?  The risk if it’s just led by the health sector is we’re repeating some of the mistakes in the past if it’s not led by people with disability.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Thanks Mary,  Firstly, we will be contacting all of the State and Territory Governments.  We’ve already started that process and we have done some analysis of their State and Territory disability plans to call out what they see as some of the issues and priorities in relation to access to good quality health systems for people with disabilities.

We also note that that’s missing in some State and Territory disability plans so we’re asking them directly do they have some priorities, are there other documents such as the Vic Health document that was just presented that we can turn our attention to.

One of the things that I haven’t mentioned is that ILC sits in this funny little space in that within the policy we are not to duplicate the existing funding of other Governments and other Government services.  We have to be careful that we’re not duplicating.  If we’re talking about employment readiness of people with disability that we’re not duplicating something that’s already funded through DSS.  If we’re looking at health that we’re not duplicating something that’s provided by a particular State or Territory Government.

As part of the assessment process we have people with a disability advising us but we also seek feedback from the State and Territory Governments to make sure A, it’s targeted correctly and it’s in line with State and Territory priorities but also that it’s not a job that sits fairly and squarely within the province of the State and Territory or local government.

We’ve got a few checks and balances in place.  We’ve got some work that we’d like to do in that space that will evolve over the coming two to three years around collaborative commissioning where we have a much more joined up approach about that and I’ve got a slide on that in the minute.

I think it’s important to recognise that many of these services should be universally accessible and they aren’t.  So the conversation that we’ve already had in relation to a number of grants is yes, X or Y Government or Government department should be funding that but they’re not so let’s forget about what the ideal looks like.

Let’s go we will provide this funding, we hope that we see an outcome and we want to then bring those partners to the table to say this has been proven to make a difference which is why we want University partners on board to be able to undertake evaluation on these that would be robust and sufficient for a State or Government department to go yes we will support this change in practice to ensure it spreads beyond wherever the trial site was.

The final program is about economic and community participation and it’s really about building the capacity of the community to create opportunities for people with a disability to be able to contribute within their own community.  There will be three streams occurring so economic participation around creating pathways to employment for people with a disability.  And specifically calling out volunteering as a pathway to employment for people with a disability.

I know the scheme actuary has already been able to show through some of the  analysis that the increases or people with disability who have entered into work as a result of the NDIS have typically engaged in volunteering activities first which suggest something around potentially building a range of soft skills around being able to interact with others, building a sense of responsibility and ownership.  Potentially even just building the confidence to catch public transport to get to a location to be able to volunteer.

No one has drilled down to that level of detail but we can presume there are a range of factors that have supported people who have previously volunteered to be able to gain employment and we know there have been studies looking at migrants that has also shown that affect.

Social and community participation, is around we’re looking at ideas, and activities that will support people with a disability to participate in community life.  We will be looking at a small grant around activating community inclusion.  Supporting changing attitudes, potentially providing small pieces of equipment to community groups and the like.  Modified equipment that makes it easier for a person with a disability to participate whether that’s running disability awareness training for members of the local Auskick committee, whether that’s around having adapted easels for a local artist society, they’re the sorts of things we’re considering now as part of this range.

QUESTION:
I was just wondering when you use the word “streams“what’s that going to look like and if that will be different grant rounds?

DANIEL LEIGHTON, INCLUSION:
So firstly I’m not certain you will see the word streams in the grant rounds.  There is someone developing a taxonomy around what all the language is whether they’re programs, activities etc. etc.

These will be I guess particular call outs within the grant rounds.  The grant rounds will go out whether as economic participation or as mainstream.  Then kind of subheadings around what we’re looking for that may or may not have different funding amounts put against each.

QUESTION:
In 2005 I worked with Swinburne University and we did a major evaluation of managed individual pathways for people with disability.  Overwhelming the participants in the study that I evaluated were said that they didn’t want jobs.  They wanted to run their own businesses because it was actually better for people with disability not to have the stress of whether or not they would lose their job or whether their health might vary more than average.

They had more autonomy if they were running their own social enterprises.  We got quite a few of them through with support at Swinburne to running their own social enterprises.  I kind of look at what you’ve got up here and it’s really top down kind of frameworks the community development.  The assumption is that the health services serving people with disability, well the assumption is that the economic system as it’s currently constructed is going to serve people with disability well.

Instead if there was a stronger partnership orientation you could actually develop systems that would be more inclusive rather than try to make systems that aren’t necessarily giving good services as they currently are, accessible to people with disability.  For a lot of reasons people are ignoring them they don’t want to go to them.

For example, with economic participation one of the real opportunities is looking at community economy and peer with peer economies and how consumers of services could establish their own economies to meet their own needs in localities or networks. There doesn’t seem to be that thinking explicit in the model.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Firstly in relationship to micro businesses and entrepreneurship our most recent round which was the economic participation and interim round that was laying the ground work and letting us test some of the attributes of this program did actually call out and –

QUESTION:
Grant funding?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Yes, a grant funding round.  I will come to that question.  It did call out support for entrepreneurship for people with disability.

QUESTION:
By people with disabilities?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Some will be some won’t, the Minister is yet to make an announcement.  Absolutely the intent is that we would look where possible for activities that are led by people with a disability.

To the other points around the  systemic models, I think ILC exists because we recognise that the current models don’t necessarily work and we want to provide evidence based approaches on how they might work.  Having said that I worked a number of years ago with the Business Council of Australia which represent the hundred largest corporations in Australia on employment for people with disability.  It was heartening for me thinking, going in there that this was window dressing but they actively recognised that their workforce needed to represent the community in all its diversity particularly those that had a greater focus on retail.

Let’s put miners to the side but if you’re talking Woolworths, Coles, Telstra, Wesfarmers they were very interested not only in employment of people with disability but what they needed to do to make their businesses more accessible.  They recognised particularly with the One in Five Campaign that was being run around the same time by the Every Australian Count Campaign that people with a disability comprised a large group of consumers that they were missing out on.

They were interested in how they might change that and we can see that through if we look at the building communities inclusive projects here in Victoria, with the sensory screenings that began as a project in Greensborough by a local metro access worker that’s now nationwide.  Village and Hoyts now run sensory friendly screening times every month.  Similarly the use of the quiet times for shopping with the major supermarkets is now increasingly spreading across the country.  That began as a simple idea in one store one supermarket.

We are seeing change occur.  We have to show people on both sides that we can make this happen and that they can do so without significant disruption to their business models and that’s what we’re hoping in some of these spaces that we can do this work.

MELISSA HALE:
There is a few people watching on live stream and they’re sending questions to my phone.  I’ve got a question from live stream.  This is from Deaf Victoria.  They said the mainstream capacity building round looks great.  Definitely Victoria is currently doing two projects that relate to deaf people and health.  Who can we talk to about more information?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
For the mainstream round?

MELISSA HALE:
For the mainstream round, when you were talking about the health intersection.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
We are going to be running a webinar.  We’re currently planning a webinar so I hope that occurs either in the last week of July or first week of August.  We will then be running a series of sessions such as this around the country that people can come to.

We do have an email address where people can sign up for news and we will let you know if we’ve got your contact details.  I think it’s just ilc.ndis.gov.au – it should be at the end of my presentation if not I will make sure I get it distributed to you.  That’s the easiest way to sign up and register.

Also in relation to when our grants open all of our granting activity is conducted through the DSS community grants hub.  If people haven’t signed up to that mailing list they should because it lets you know when a grant round opens.

So I spoke before around two other bits we were looking at to support the disabled persons organisations and family organisations to be able to deliver and to grow their capabilities.

The first of these is the establishment of what we’re currently calling a technical support hub.  We’re open to any other names that sound better than that.  The role of the technical support hub will be to assist disabled persons organisations in not only implementing their activities but also support them with other tasks such as assisting with recruitment of committee members, providing governance training to committee members, supporting staff to understand around IT and ranging information and training around developing websites.

There’s a whole range of skills that we see that would benefit the DPO sector and we will be looking to establish this.  It will be tendered out next year, early next year and we will be looking to have it up and running by mid next year to be able to support organisations.  Any organisation that is getting funding through ILC that is a disabled persons organisation or family organisation will be able to call them up for some support.

QUESTION:
Sorry to keep asking questions.  Will that be a not for profit organisation that is running that or will you be looking at a more commercial agency?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
I honestly can’t say.  I mean I don’t want to prejudice anything but I can think of a dozen different organisations who would be capable of delivering that.  If we think about something like VCOSS and all the VCOSS’s around the country I think they’re a well-placed organisation to do that sort of work.

Equally yes I’m sure there will be some consultants who want to jump in and say they will provide that.  I don’t believe anyone will be able to provide the whole range of services that DPOs will be seeking but as long as they have partnerships with an RTO or if we’re going to do training they’ve got a deal with Leadership Victoria or AICD or the like that’s the thing we could foresee.

QUESTION:
I guess I was more cautioning against the big KPMGs, the big consulting firms say that have capability but perhaps don’t understand the sector.  I’m sure you’re aware of that.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Yes.

MELISSA HALE:
Another question.

QUESTION:
I come from more the customers, I’m a self-advocate for my daughter.  I was also wondering is that capacity building also looking at the LECs and the early intervention partners?  I would say some of that capacity is severely lacking.

For example, my planner left the organisation but I was never informed and I was literally ringing for two months leaving messages on a person’s phone who I didn’t have an email address for and obviously it was never being answered.

I guess there are a number of examples around those, sort of building capacity around that.  Understanding how self-management works.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Short answer is no, the longer answer is yes.  What I mean by that is that we don’t directly feed into the partners into the community the LECs and the early childhood intervention coordinators.  However, we are doing work in that area to improve their training to make them more aware around ILC and we’re doing work to better integrate their work to work with people with a disability who don’t have a funded plan.

We’re doing things like working on the database so that we will be able to capture information so that we can have appear on their screen geo located information around there are these fifteen funded activities through ILC in the local community.  They can refer people on.

We are doing work around that, which should hopefully improve their understanding.  But allied to that there is a whole lot of activities that are just happening within that area of the agency.

The next part to support people with a disability is what we’re terming Promising Practices.  Promising Practices as I said we wanted to have a national approach and we wanted to be able to support people with a disability where a good project emerges and be able to share that right across the country.

We are also building a monitoring and evaluation framework and all the infrastructure that goes with that to be able to identify whether the activities we are funding are delivering great results and outcome for people.  Where through our evaluation framework we can see that particular activities are having above average results then we will be going out and having a group of evaluators, I’m picturing potentially some Universities to go and look at some of those activities.

To sit in some sessions, to look at their materials, to work with people to be able to shape those up so to evaluate them more rigorously and then if they continue to show potential then we look at how we shape up those materials and that we make them available to all DPOs across the country so they can implement them.

Then working with something like the Tech Hub we would provide training and facilitation on how to deliver those materials so that the DPOs no matter where they’re located feel confident to be able to deliver that material in a way that it delivers outcomes for people with a disability.

There’s a question?

QUESTION:
It’s a cultural question as much as anything.  It’s just about the tendency just to defer to for example, a University department to be the evaluator.  Would you consider in terms of a capacity building initiative engaging people with disability in participatory action research so they can become empowered as the observers and enquirers and also the deliverers of reports on the programs that they’re participating in?

You could get a lot more bang for your buck if you invested in people with disability as researchers rather than the University sector who will add 20% just for administration charges.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Thanks again for the question.  Absolutely nothing is ruled out at this point.  I would say that we need to have some rigor around what we do so there might be a panel rather than an individual entity.

As long as we can assure that we’ve got a consistency in how an evaluation occurs whether it’s occurring in Geelong or in Townsville or in Karratha so that we’re confident that the funds that we’re spending will deliver the same results no matter who picks it up to us then absolutely, we’ve got no issue.

QUESTION:
One of the weaknesses of a Federal approach is that you will just get one size fits all kind of strategies rather than reflect the incredible diversity on the ground in communities that you could generate if you invested in local researchers.  The drive to have a homogenous frame will mean you’ll lose so much richness.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Thanks.  Finally I mentioned earlier, collaborative commissioning and I spoke as to some of the reasons why we would do it.  That is that every State has its own peculiarities around the service systems that have been established and the supports or absence of supports that exist.  It’s impossible for any single group or team to be aware of all the intricacies of what’s occurring on the ground.

For example, the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Care sector is far more advanced in supporting young children with development delays than in other states.  That is not an area where we would look if for example an application was to come in in relation to that very early years work whereas we might consider the same application if it were to be delivered in another State where they don’t have already that level of expertise.

What we’re really keen to look at doing is how we can create and feed from the ground up information around priorities for all of these programs so that we can understand exactly what’s happening.  It’s not just an exercise like I described earlier where we’re doing some desktop reviews and speaking with bureaucrats but actually we are feeding up and I would love to see us feeding up from every local government disability action plan so we’re not only looking at jurisdictional level but actually at a sub-regional level around what types of supports are most favoured and desired by people with disability in those areas.

With that I’m happy to take any further questions.

QUESTION:
I just had the capacity building you mentioned about self-management, I do self-manage but I found there was a real lack of information or support or anything really to be honest.  I understand there’s eight to ten percent of people currently that self-manage their plans to try and push that to a higher level.  How are you hoping to achieve that?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Yes, firstly I think it’s far in excess of ten percent.  It was certainly about seven percent last year.  There’s been a big increase, I don’t exactly know what the percentage is.  I’m not going to try and make up a number but it’s certainly grown quite a bit.

There are some materials out there in fact I’ve had people come to me and say don’t you dare fund another resource on self-management because there is already forty two out there and we prefer the money going to support facilitation of groups where people actually understand what those tools and resources are.

I am surprised to hear your comment around that but absolutely it’s – I would think that it would be the desire of every person to be able to manage their own funds.  It’s something we should be aspiring to.

QUESTION:
Is there plans to make sure that people with disability are involved in the planning process on the ground level of actually implementing these things that are funded?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Yes.  Certainly as I mentioned individual capacity building, we are calling out that we want DPFOs to run those.  A DPFO is an organisation that is run by and for people with a disability.  We’re very clear on that.

In relation to economic and community participation and mainstream capacity building, our preference will be for organisations that are aligning themselves with and involving people with a disability.

I don’t believe we will be able to achieve it in the first year of the grant rounds.  But in subsequent years I would like to actually have that built in as part of the evaluation requesting who they are working with and seeing a line item for paying people for their time, for that consultancy.

QUESTION:
My name is Anya I’m from Darebin City Council and my question as well is very self-kind of driven motivated.  You’ve mentioned they’re building inclusive communities program before which is known as Metro Access and we all know it’s coming to an end.  What role would you foresee for local government local council to play in this ILC space?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
It’s a very interesting question and one that I asked of the MAV, the Municipal Association of Victoria just a week or two ago.  Local government is interesting particularly in relation to supporting people with a disability.  Local government has quite a broad range of legislated responsibilities but it also provides a broad range of activities for which it has no legislative responsibility.

There is no legislative responsibility around providing youth activities.  But nearly every council would do it, I would be astonished if there was a council that wasn’t doing that.  Likewise providing support for arts and cultural activities, not a legislative base but most councils do it.

It’s interesting within building inclusive communities the metro access workers, when initially surveyed, when the councils were initially surveyed this year about their willingness to maintain their contribution the majority of councils said that without that little bit of funding from the State Government they would cease that activity.

Quite frankly I’m appalled that councils that are turning over in excess of $50, $80, $100 million can’t find $75 to $100,000.00 to fund a worker and find some activities in their local area.  It’s beyond me.

Absolutely ILC has at its heart as it was mentioned earlier, some place based approaches particularly around community engagement and the like and we see that councils have a really important role around coordinating some of that activity.

What we would really like to do is to not be putting up grant rounds with our own list of priorities generated in some kind of ivory tower somewhere in this land of bureaucracy but driven by local needs.  We could simply say there is a really great Disability Action Plan in the City of Stonington, you apply for anything they’re calling out and you will get funded.

QUESTION:
I guess to start with Daniel I wanted to say thank you so much for coming to speak with us.  I don’t want to speak for other people but I’m sure it’s safe to say we really appreciate the time to hear about the ILC and the information is very welcome.

I guess I was just wondering down to brass tacks a little bit, whether there is any details around the timing around some of the grant rounds coming up, around forward planning and things like that.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
That’s a good question.  Our timelines have slipped a little bit with the election that got in the way, with the appointment of the new Minister.  I’m hoping the new Minister will endorse some new timelines and we can talk about these in detail very soon.

Having said that I would be encouraging people to look at the ILC strategy to take a look at the recent interim rounds that were run late last year and early this year for the DPFO and economic participation as some guidelines around some type of things we will be doing or the way it will be structured.  The big difference to note is that we will be moving to multiyear funding for community organisations.  That makes a difference.

The Minister has expressed a preference that we get the money flowing as soon as possible.  That unfortunately kind of bangs up against the sectors desire to have longer opening rounds.  When the rounds do open they will only be open for four weeks.  I’m well aware that people would like six or eight weeks.  We’ve pulled back from that because at the other end that also means another two or four week delay in getting funding happening.

As was alluded to earlier with transition that’s already occurred there are many organisations who need to ensure some stability and funding for their organisation.  They not only want to hear now but they actually want to see the funding flow now.

MELISSA HALE:
Any other questions, particularly for people on livestream the phone number should be up on the screen now so you can text in your questions?

QUESTION:
Sorry I thought of another one.  I guess to date the grant rounds have come out consecutively like one at a time so you may not know what the next ones exactly look like if you’re an organisation choosing to apply to waiting to see if the next one would be more suitable.

With the three programs that are still to open up this year hopefully, will there be information at the same time or will it be sequential again?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Thank you that’s actually a really good reminder for me to talk about the fact that there will no longer be any jurisdictional rounds.  Every round now is a National round.  There may be calls from time to time but consider that the exception and it might occur in the aftermath of a National round where we identify we just got no applications that are supporting remote individuals or we’ve got no applications working with CALD communities in Tasmania or whatever the case may be.  Otherwise all our rounds will be national rounds.

One of the other issues that we’re aware of and that’s a problem of our own making has been the lack of clear communication as we’ve been working up the programs.  I think it’s really important that people think about what their organisations are best suited to and more importantly what the mission of that organisation is.

We’ve seen organisations apply for every grant round potentially using the same application when they don’t fit.  What we really want to do is help organisations not endure mission drift but actually stick close to the heart of what their mission is about.  We would ask organisations to think about are you best placed to do individual capacity building or are you focusing on community participation.  It’s not to say that you can’t do both but for many organisations in this sector they would be far better off really excelling at one thing.

When we release the grant guidelines we will be looking if we don’t release them all simultaneously we will be looking to provide detailed information to help organisations make that decision.  Spoiler alert there is a potential that we might actually release some of the rounds simultaneously.

Yes, Mary.

QUESTION:
The mainstream capacity building around health, when are you thinking about the later education, justice and the other streams are they going to be this year or likely to be next year?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Next year.  The decision around health was made based on feedback from States and Territories as the first cab off the rank to try and address.  In subsequent rounds we will focus in and the decision has been made because as I mentioned they will be grants in the order of one to two million dollars per annum for a couple of years and we’ll be funding kind of thirty to forty, maybe three or four in each State.

If we were to look at multiple issues we just wouldn’t get the coverage to then really focus people’s attention and create a conversation potentially within COAG around well the totality of these projects is deliver this.  We see this as a really great opportunity for health Ministers to come together and have a conversation around how they might respond as a group to these issues.

If we were to fund projects from all interface areas we just wouldn’t be able to draw together that focus and have that conversation.

QUESTION:
It kind of builds on Darryl’s point before in terms of the intersectionality between health and education, if we’re looking at health and the health system there is sort of health in all the interfaces around.  Will you be looking at proposals that potentially look at – is it only hospitals primary health or is it looking at health in a range of settings?

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
No, well we’re getting down into some of the details here.  That’s certainly not the intention that we’re just focusing on primary health.  It’s really around from my perspective the outcomes, the health outcomes that people with disability are poorer than for the average Australian.

We will look at whatever high quality proposals offer some potential solution or alternative approach that might improve the outcomes for people.

MELISSA HALE:
I think we’ve got time for one more questions if anyone wants to sneak one last question in.  Looks like you’ve solved the problems of the world Daniel, well done.

DANIEL LEIGHTON:
Thank you.

MELISSA HALE:
Thank svery much Daniel.  We all really appreciate having that insight into what’s going to happen next.  Especially because a lot of our advocacy organisations are just waiting waiting waiting for information so it’s been really really helpful.  Thank you for making the time to come and speak to us today.

[APPLAUSE]

Okay that brings us to the end of the advocacy sector conversation for today.  Thank you all for coming.  Thank you to Expression Australia for our livestream and thank you to the Auslan interpreters and to Michael up the back for making sure you can all hear everything properly.

Safe travels home, see you next time.

 

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Author:
DARU

Date published:
Tue 9th Jul, 2019