Disability support system to be transformed

  • Nicky Wagner
Disability Issues

Associate Health and Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today announced a three month co-design process with the disability sector to begin a nationwide transformation of the disability support system.

“The current system does not work well for all disabled people. What we are working toward is a new system, based on the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) vision and principles, including individualised funding,” Ms Wagner says.

The transformation will build on lessons learnt from EGL demonstrations in Waikato and Christchurch, as well as evidence from here and overseas. 

“Input from the disability sector will be vital throughout the transformation process, particularly during the design phase. This change is about ensuring disabled people and their families have greater control over their lives as well as the support they receive from government.”

The new system will include:

  • Access to independent facilitation to assist people to be aspirational and feel connected to their community
  • A strengths-based assessment process
  • A personal budget for disability support (made up of funding from multiple government agencies)
  • Flexibility and choice about how to use the personal budget, and a range of options to assist its management
  • Capacity building opportunities for disabled people and their families
  • Referrals to other agencies for additional services including learning and income support.

“The new system will incorporate a social investment approach to improve outcomes for individuals and achieve savings over the long term. Additional funding has been allocated to run the co-design process, establish a change leadership team and collect baseline data,” Ms Wagner says.

The transformation will initially focus on those receiving support from Disability Support Services in the Mid-Central region.

The Waikato demonstration will continue, as will the arrangements put place in Christchurch when that demonstration finished. 

“Rolling out this new way of working will require a significant culture change in all parts of the disability support system, including Needs Assessment Coordination Services, providers and government agencies,” Ms Wagner says.

“To date, the disability support system has been more about the system than disabled people. The EGL approach makes it about the person, their strengths and the kind of life they want to live.” 

Cabinet is expected to consider the system design in mid-2017.