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Diversity and Inclusion forum 2023

Angela and Matt speaking about the Disability sector at the recent Diversity and Inclusion forum in Melbourne.

COVID19 Q&A with Service Providers 

Highlights:

Q: Are there any practice innovations that came out of COVID-19 that improved the support given to participants?

A: Working with participants to engage with technology. This adds another vital element to support community inclusion.

Q: How did you manage safeguarding and quality assurance remotely?

A: We engaged in an upskilling program with our front-line leaders. We took them offline for 1.5 hours each fortnight in small groups and taught them leadership skills in challenging environments. We also went through indicators of declining quality and what they could do about it from a modelling perspective.

The advantage of this program was it created another avenue of feedback from the front-line.

Q: Have you had to change your medium and long term intended investments due to the commercial costs of COVID-19 and how?

A: COVID-19 has highlighted the need to make strategic investments in:

  • Technology
  • Incentives for our front-line
  • Creating time and space for leaders to get off the dancefloor for a different view of the organisation

Q: How has your organisational strategy changed because of COVID-19?

A: This varied amongst our panelists, but most agreed it was an opportunity to stop, reflect and re-build. For one of our organisations the approach has been to take their team offline for 2 days and go into a deep dive on their strategy. For another it was refocusing their service delivery model.

All, however, agreed the key concepts have been:

  • Rebuilding operations
  • Rethinking the organisation
  • Accelerating the adoption of digital solutions
  • Recovering revenue

Q: How will you refocus consumer choice and control, post COVID-19?

A: COVID-19 really highlighted what people value. Our panelists worked with their customer bases to understand what they will continue to value. They seek to refine their service offering to reflect these and tailor the individual experiences based on those insights.

Things that became apparent were:

  • Consistency of rosters and smaller staffing pools for SIL homes had a positive impact
  • Our desire to protect people with a disability could often come at the expense of limiting their freedoms. True health equity is the key to reducing the impact longer term
  • Despite the competitive market created by the NDIS, we can achieve better outcomes in the disability sector by working together. COVID-19 created an environment where providers collaborated and shared their intelligence on best practice. By continuing with this approach, we can achieve a lot.