Disability Service Standards
In Australia, there are six National Standards that apply to all disability service providers:
1. Rights: the service promotes individual rights to freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making and actively prevents abuse, harm, neglect and violence.
2. Participation and Inclusion: the service works with individuals and families, friends and carers to promote opportunities for meaningful participation and active inclusion in society.
3. Individual Outcomes: services and supports are assessed, planned, delivered and reviewed to build on individual strengths and enable individuals to reach their goals.
4. Feedback and Complaints: regular feedback is sought and used to inform individual and organisation-wide service reviews and improvement.
5. Service Access: the service manages access, commencement and leaving a service in a transparent, fair, equal and responsive way.
6. Service Management: the service has effective and accountable service management and leadership to maximise outcomes for individuals.
Learn more on the Disability Service Standards website (external link).
The National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aims to give eligible people with disability more choice and control over their lives. Choice means that they should have more than one option about the support they receive and who provides it, and control means that they get to make the final decisions about their NDIS plan.
If you are a support person or service provider registered with the NDIS, it is important that you always allow people with disability to make their own choices about all aspects of their lives. You can help someone make a decision by giving them relevant information and advice, but you should not tell them what to do.
Requirements for NDIS Providers
To be eligible to become a registered NDIS provider, you must provide services that are consistent with:
- the NDIS registration requirements (external link)
- the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission requirements (external link)
Sometimes, women and girls with disability need support to make choices and decisions. Support can include explaining different choices to them or providing counselling and emotional support to help them make a decision.
If you are supporting someone to make a decision, it is important that you clearly explain to the individual what the possible decisions and outcomes are, but also be careful not to coerce them into making a particular choice. Whenever possible, the final decision should always be up to the person whose life is most affected by its outcomes.
Tip: You can learn more about supporting someone to make decisions by using the ADACAS Decision Making Toolkit (external link).
Where supported decision making is not possible, substituted decision making may be considered. Supported decision making should always be tried first and the appointment of a substitute decision maker should only be used as a last resort.
A Guardian can make decisions for someone when they cannot make decisions for themselves. Guardians are appointed to make health and welfare decisions on behalf of the person under their guardianship. Decisions may include where to live, what services to use and what medical treatments to have. A guardian cannot make decisions about money and assets, unless they have been legally appointed to do so.
When a guardian has been appointed, they should always try to understand the person’s goals, desires and values before making a decision on their behalf. A guardian can also help to build a person’s ability to make decisions for themselves.
Power of Attorney
A Power of attorney is a legal document that can be used to appoint someone to make decisions about property and finances.
A General Power of Attorney is used to give someone the ability to make decisions for another person for a set period of time. For example, if they go overseas or are going to hospital.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is used to give someone the ability to continue to make decisions for another person after they have lost capacity to do so themselves. An Enduring Power of Attorney can be used if someone wants to give another person power to make decisions for them once they can no longer do so.
Disability advocacy is work someone does to stop someone with disability being treated badly, or to help a person with disability with any issues they may have. Disability advocates may advocate for themselves, another person, or a group of people with disability.
Disability advocacy may include:
- providing information to people with disability about their rights
- assisting people with disability to uphold their rights by speaking with and writing to people and organisations to raise awareness of problems and seek solutions
- helping people with disability to make complaints or engage in legal action
- writing submissions and lobbying government to make changes that support the rights of people with disability
- lobbying for social change by speaking publicly and to the media to raise awareness of issues affecting people with disability.
If you are an advocate for other people with disability, it is always best practice to ask people with disability what they need and want. People with disability are the experts in their own lives.
The best way to support people with disability to make their own decisions and choices is to work with them to understand their needs from the very beginning. Co-design processes and programs focus on working directly with users to understand and improve their experiences of services, as well as the services themselves.
If you are running a program or service for people with disability, or developing a product to support people who need it, taking a co-design approach can benefit everyone. The process can involve the following stages:
- Engage: establish and maintain meaningful relationships with people with disability to understand and improve services.
- Plan: work with people with disability to establish the goals of your work.
- Explore: learn about and understand the experiences of people with disability and identify their ideas for improving services.
- Develop: work with people with disability to turn ideas into improvements.
- Decide: work with people with disability to prioritise and choose which improvements to make.
- Change: turn the ideas into action.
Tip: You can learn more about co-design on the People with Disability Australia website (external link).