Transforming the Disability System and Enabling Good Lives (EGL)

An initial reference for carers and whānau

In June 2017, the Government announced support for the transformation of the disability support system in New Zealand.

This is in its early stages. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done.  However, change is coming and this brief resource highlights some of the things that will happen and how carers and families can prepare.

If you want more detailed information or want to see the latest cabinet decisions please go to Enabling good Lives. Please note, some of the points below may be worded slightly differently from the material on the website. Further changes may be made as ideas are further developed.

Some of the things that have been agreed:

  1. Funding will be available at a national and regional level to build the capacity, capability and leadership of disabled people and whānau.
  2. Disabled people and whānau will be able to choose, if they wish, to have an EGL connector walk alongside them to develop an idea of what a “good life” looks like and how they want to achieve this.
  3. Disabled people, families, whānau and providers will be involved in regional and national Leadership Groups. These groups will protect the original intent of the Enabling Good Lives principles and vision, contribute to the new way of doing things and monitor changes.
  4. There will be a new way of allocating resources. This will be based on people’s strengths and what they need to achieve their goals.
  5. Disabled people, their families and whānau will have a personal budget and this will enable more control over resources.
  6. Disabled people, their families and whānau will have access to a range of ways to manage their personal budgets.
  7. The full transformation will start in the MidCentral Region.  There will be time to develop things, see how it works in practice and then adapt approaches according to what works best.  The transformation will then go to Christchurch and Waikato.  There will be a plan developed for how this will be rolled out for the whole country.
  8. There are many other things, like a new way to get clear and current information about the disability sector and how people will be safeguarded when they interact with disability supports, that have been talked about. You can read about all of the things contained in the “high level design” by going to Enabling Good Lives – System Transformation.

What this might mean in the future

One way to look at the changes is to think about six steps.  The steps look like this:

1 I know what support is available There is a welcoming place where I get all the information I want.
2 I am listened to and respected I am able to build trust with the people I have contact with – they take the time to get to know me and my family.
3 We decide what we want to do and how we want to do it We plan for what we want (with support from an independent person if we want it), find out what resources we have and then explore different ways of achieving what we want. This might mean we buy supports and services through an organisation – or we may want to do many things ourselves. We choose.
4 We make it happen We have considered options and now get on with making it real (we can change our minds about our choices if we need to).
5 We live the life we want We get on with it. From time to time someone touches base with us to see how things are going – what is working well and what might need to be changed.
6 The system responds I have the chance to learn new ways of doing things – but the “system” also keeps changing to make things easier.

When we are going through these steps, I can connect with people, including other carers or an EGL Connector/Tūhono, who can help me from time to time if I need more information or ideas.

What this means for me now

For many carers there will be time to think about what you want and to find out what works well for carers in the MidCentral region.  To get started you may want to think about the following things:

Old Approach

  • The government and services seem to have all the power.
  • It seems hard to find the information we need.
  • We go through assessments that don’t always seem to value us or the person we care for.
  • We must choose from existing services that are offered by organisations.
  • Organisations are focussed on providing set ‘programmes’, services and activities.
  • It sometimes seems we are seen as “the enemy” or as a barrier.

New Approach

  • The disability community (disabled people, families, carers and service organisations) work together with the government.
  • We have more control over resources.
  • There is clear and current information available.
  • We can connect with people who help us understand options and what is available.
  • The process for understanding everyone’s situation is friendly and based on our strengths, preferences, culture and goals.
  • We can build what we need and want. Service organisations will listen to what we are wanting from them – and build something around our situation.
  • There is lots more flexibility for everyone.
  • We are all valued.

How I can prepare for this – during this stage of development?

  • Connect with other carers and whānau to make sure your views are heard and understood.
  • Stay informed and have your say.
  • Start thinking about what might work best for you.
  • Think about what you need to know and the ways that information is best made available – tell carer and whānau networks!
  • Spend some time thinking about how you can describe yourself and your situation to others. What strengths do we have, what do we like and what do we value? Think about what a “good life” might look like for you. Try to identify things you really want to see happen in your life and how this might happen. Dream big!
  • Consider the types of things a service organisation could do to make your life easier.
  • If we can choose what supports or services look like – what would that be for me?
  • We all become partners in building good lives and great communities. What can I contribute?

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