Active engagement with disabled people has strengthened as the review has progressed. The Ministry’s Disability Directorate, disabled people and their organisations and advocacy groups have been part of the review since its commencement, including seats in project governance, attending sector engagement workshops and hosting and focus groups.
Disabled people representatives within Standards Review Governance Structure
Disabled people are represented in each layer of governance for the Standards Review project. The disabled representatives and their organisations and affiliates are listed below, for more information about these groups, please view their terms of reference.
Phase 2: Scoping Workshops
Scoping workshops were held across health and disability services to understand what was working well and what needed to be changed in the updated standard. At each scoping workshop, a minimum of two seats were reserved for people who use the relevant health and disability services. Often, more attended and two disabled people attended each of the working groups for residential disability services and home and community services.
Venues were always wheelchair accessible. Attendees were asked what their accessibility requirements were. These requirements, including ensuring attendees had the time they needed with any documents in order to be involved effectively and support people, were met by the project team.
Disabled People focus group
In November 2019 a focus group was hosted by the Ministry for disabled people in residential disability services. The purpose was for the Ministry to learn from disabled people who use residential disability services what changes were needed to the new standards to improve their day-to-day experiences. The Disabled Person’s Assembly (DPA) and People First New Zealand Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi (PFNZ), a member of Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) Coalition, were contracted by the Ministry to host the focus group in Palmerston North. This location was selected as advised by the DPA and PFNZ in light of the ongoing Enabling Good Lives process and local Disability System Transformation work.
The DPA, supported by PFNZ, hosted the focus group with facilitators experienced in working alongside disabled people. The focus group followed appropriate meeting protocol including having information accessible. Easy Read translations were developed by PFNZ. Support people were asked to remain out of the room during this focus group to ensure the voices of disabled people could be heard in a safe setting.
The DPA provided a written report of the focus group to the project team. The themes and discussion points were anonymised and included in the Sector Solutions Working Group for Residential Disability services.
Phase 3: The Working Groups
Five working groups were established to develop overarching standards that would apply to all health and disability services. Of those five groups, four included disabled people or whānau.
Six working groups were established to develop sector solutions on how the new standards may apply different care settings. Disabled people were invited to attend and the DPO Coalition was invited to put forward representatives for each relevant working group. Two DPO Coalition representatives attended each relevant working group.
For the sessions where residential disability sector solutions were developed on how residential disability providers could meet the new standards, fourteen people attended. Five (three of whom were disabled people) represented consumer organisations, four were from residential disability providers, three from government agencies and one auditor. Participants commented positively on the balance of participants between providers and consumers, which they felt demonstrated the Ministry’s commitment to uplifting the voice of disabled people.
Feedback from disabled people was also positive, with one disabled participant saying: ‘Thank you so much for hearing our experiences in residential care and the changes that need to be made.’
Phase 4: Standards New Zealand process
The Standards Review project has now been handed to Standards New Zealand, a business unit within the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, to commence their legislated process. As part of this process, there will be a period of public consultation.
It is important to the Ministry that disabled people are centre in the decisions that impact on them. Discussions are underway with disability-led organisations on how to best partner with disabled people during the remainder of the review, including the period of public consultation. If you would like to be involved in these discussions, please email the project manager, [email protected]