Department of Human Services

Information for families and friends of the people we support 22 April 2021

Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 22 April 2021

Welcome to another instalment of our Accommodation Services Family and Friends e-Newsletter.

Since the last edition in January, we have introduced Service Agreements across our service for NDIS participants.

Service Coordinators have been speaking with you about the importance of these documents and consent.

The Service Agreement rollout is a part of our work to allow Accommodation Services to be a sustainable service as an NDIS provider in the future and also a service of choice, placing the people we support at the centre of everything we do.

To date, we have continued to deliver Accommodation Services through a funding arrangement, called in-kind funding, with the Commonwealth Government. Not as an NDIS provider. The in-kind funding arrangement finishes on 30 June 2023 and we must be operating as a fully registered, compliant NDIS provider by this date, to continue providing services to your family member or friend.

The next step on our path to becoming an NDIS provider is undertaking the NDIS Practice Standards & Quality Indicators Certification Audit. In late April 2021, independent auditors will be reviewing documents, platforms and processes. Later in May 2021, the audit continues with auditors being in our service, assessing the work that we do and how we do it.

During this second stage of the audit, auditors will be speaking with the people we support as well as their family members and guardians, about their experiences of the service they receive. Further information as well as information to opt-out of participating in this audit and future audits, will be sent to you directly.

We will continue to keep you informed about each stage of the process to become a fully registered, compliant NDIS provider. This includes keeping you informed about associated projects that are shaping our service to be sustainable, into the future.

A review of client fees relating to meals, utilities, communal furniture and whitegoods and general household consumables is currently being undertaken and a consultation process with families to clarify and streamline these fees will begin in mid-2021.

Regardless of how your family member or friend receives funding for care and support, whether that be through the NDIS, MyAgedCare or Continuity of Support (CoS), Accommodation Services can continue to be their supported independent living service into the future.

Update on court appearance of disability worker

Following the arrest last year of former disability worker, Arjun Kandel, we committed to keeping you informed as new information becomes available. 

Today, Arjun Kandel appeared in court again and pled not guilty to sexual assault offences. The next court appearance has been scheduled in the District Court on 16 July 2021. 

While this continues to be a very difficult situation, our paramount concern is the safety of everyone we support, including your family member or friend. Any steps we take will always be about protecting their safety and wellbeing and ensuring that all possible safeguards are in place.

Sale of Highgate Park to benefit people living with disability

You may have heard in the news lately that after extensive consultation, Highgate Park, formerly known as the Julia Farr Centre, will be sold. Any proceeds from the sale will be used to help people living with disability, through the trust that owns the site. 

Many South Australians will fondly remember Highgate Park as their former home or workplace, so this sale is a significant and historic one for our community. 

The decision to sell Highgate Park was made following thorough and extensive independent community consultation with people living with disability and disability experts.  

Many of you were made aware of the consultation process and we would like to thank any of you who did participate for your valuable contributions. 

Anyone who is passionate about how any proceeds from the sale are spent by the trust are encouraged to express an interest in being part of the Trust working group. This working group will be formed to consider the future focus of the trust and provide advice to the Minister, as the sole trustee, during the sale process. 

JFA Purple Orange – the non-profit disability advocacy organisation which was formed out of Julia Farr Services - will facilitate the group, allowing people living with disability to have an authentic voice in how any proceeds from the sale should be spent.

Read more about the Highgate Park sale or complete an expression of interest

Update on traineeship recruitment

There has been an overwhelming response to Accommodation Services’ call for disability support trainees since it was announced by Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink in March 2021. 

To date, the recruitment drive has attracted more than 300 applications and the first 16 trainees chosen after a stringent evaluation process will start their training next week. 

The traineeships are being offered over the next two years under a South Australian Government Budget initiative, with a $9.5 million commitment to deliver 175 trainee disability services officers over two years across Adelaide, Mount Gambier and Kadina.  

This will create both an employment boost and increase in workforce availability at the end of the traineeships, assisting Accommodation Services to deliver more consistent support to people living with disability. 

Up to 85 roles will be filled in the first year of recruitment. More rounds to follow in 2022.

COVID-19 vaccination update

We are happy to report that all the people we support, who had provided their consent at the time, received their first COVID-19 vaccination during the months of March and April.  

Prior to the beginning of the vaccination clinics Accommodation Services staff have asked for consent for clients to have both COVID-19 vaccinations. We are now obliged to check that your family member did not have an adverse reaction to the first dose of the vaccine and are consenting to the second dose. Accommodation staff will be in contact with you shortly to undertake this consent process for the second COVID-19 vaccination. 

It is to be noted that no one showed any adverse reactions and we will continue as planned with administering the second dose. 

Mount Gambier Accommodation Services staff and the people they support have received their second vaccination. These were administered through the Limestone Coast Local Health Network at the Mount Gambier Hospital hub. 

The effort to get all our staff members vaccinated against COVID-19 is well under way with dedicated vaccination clinics at Highgate Park for our Adelaide Metro staff, as well as access to vaccination clinics at the Women’s and Children’s hospital. 

Throughout the coming months we will be rolling up our sleeves to help protect everyone we support as well as our wider communities in the pursuit of more normal community involvement, celebrations and travel since the pandemic began.

Complaint handling

The people we support in Accommodation Services as well as their families, friends and guardians, have several options through which to provide feedback and complaints.  

Details for anyone wanting to give specific feedback for Accommodation Services are on our complaints and feedback page. This also includes external reporting avenues if families and friends are wanting to go beyond complaints within the department or Accommodation Services.  

Additionally, DHS has developed and published online a formal Accommodation Services Complaints and Feedback Procedure (PDF 420.1 KB) for use by our staff, to support the safety and well-being of the people we support. Anyone interested in the procedure is welcome to download it.

Update on Restrictive Practices  policy changes

In January this year, DHS undertook a public consultation process about proposed changes to restrictive practice laws in South Australia.

A restrictive practice is any type of support or practice which limits the rights and/or movements of a person living with disability.

If you were able to participate in this important process, thank you for your time. Feedback received has helped inform the policy direction ahead of the bill Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices – NDIS) Amendment Bill 2021, being introduced to the South Australian Parliament.

The proposed changes aim to ensure restrictive practices – such as restraint and seclusion – are used only as a last resort and in accordance with individual behaviour support plans. Additionally, the bill proposes the creation of a new restrictive practices authorisation unit that will work with and educate NDIS providers.

The bill was introduced into Parliament on 4 March 2021, where it continues through the Parliamentary process. A summary of the process is also being kept up to date on our restrictive practices legislation web page.

People's Advocacy Group visits SA Parliament

The People’s Advocacy Group, an influential group consisting of NDIS participants supported within DHS Accommodation Services, had the opportunity in early February to tour South Australia’s Parliament House along with the Minister for Human Services.

The group was formed more than a year ago to allow the people we support to give feedback about how they, their friends and housemates are supported to live in their own group homes throughout the community.

Since experiencing the life-changing transition from institutional care to community living, group members have developed a common passion for improving the lives of people living with a disability and influencing their lives for the better.

Participants have since undertaken self-advocacy training, provided feedback on the development of a Customer Charter and influenced policies affecting the daily lives of more than 500 people with disability who are supported by Accommodation Services.

The tour of Parliament House was one of several get-togethers for the group during the first quarter of the year.

As well as exploring the iconic building and chambers where key decisions affecting South Australians are made, group members had an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences with the Minister before enjoying light refreshments.

Questions and feedback

If you have any questions or concerns relating to this matter, our dedicated phone service for families and guardians remains available.

Phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3)
Email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

For any other matters about your family member or friend’s needs, please continue to speak directly with your Service Coordinator.

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Page last updated : 17 Jul 2021

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