National Services Review – Board decisions

28 October 2020

Message from IHC Group Chief Executive Ralph Jones

I am pleased to be able to update you on recent discussions and decisions at the IDEA Services and IHC Board meetings.

The boards met on 22 October and considered recommendations related to the National Services Review and IHC Community Centres in addition to general business.

Suzanne Win, IDEA Services Board Chair, was keen to provide you with the following update on discussions held on the National Services Review:

The IDEA Services Board considered a list of recommendations informed by the review and operating environment and have committed to change. We want to do better, not less.

During the review more than 2,200 people provided feedback. The voice of people we support was particularly strong in calling for a new way of providing day services that mean people can get out and about to socialise and do the things they like. There have been pockets of good practice but it has been acknowledged that the existing model no longer meets the needs of many, particularly those younger people who are seeking services.

COVID-19 has severely impacted how we provided services in a time when we had to put the health of the people we support front and centre. To keep people safe we had to adjust, meaning some bases are open and some aren’t, some people are going and some are supported from their home. We, as a board, were determined to look to the future while acknowledging this has been a complicated time for many and a frustrating time for some.

The government has indicated that our existing day services are not aligned to their future disability strategy and Enabling Good Lives. They have suggested those services don’t reflect the options they’d expect individuals to choose and purchase in the future. On top of that in recent years government funding has not kept pace with cost increases.

We want, and believe that people we support deserve a model that will work, is sustainable and will better serve people. We also want to know it’s working and will make adjustments if we need to. In discussions with management we have requested an independent researcher to monitor progress and outcomes for individuals so that we get this right and provide the best services possible.

Part of doing better means we want to make life easier for people – not harder. We know that this has been a stressful time for families and individuals. We have decided to keep providing daily services to people who live with families. Our funding does not cover the cost – but we are committed to providing that service for another year and a half. That gives us all security and the chance to talk more.

We will make changes. We must. The IDEA Services board has supported the recommendations for change and you can read about those in the document attached.

As we have discussed at forums and heard through feedback, each community is unique and we need to talk further to get the fit and options right.

Change takes bravery and change takes time. We will take the time to get this right with a determination to provide even better services for people now and in the future.

Tony Shaw IHC Board Chair, was also keen to update you directly on discussions relating to recommendations for the establishment of IHC Community Centres as follows:

IHC has had a long and proud history of bringing people together to share knowledge and experience, to connect with one another and to support our communities. However, with the introduction of the IDEA Services brand we have heard over the years that in some communities people connected with IHC (who may or may not be involved with IDEA Services) no longer felt like they had their own physical place – Timaru, where I live, is a good example of this.

The establishment of such centres was also raised as part of the National Services Review and was one of the best supported suggestions across all groups (people we support, families/whānau, Associations, staff and NASCs).

Management gathered information and suggested the idea of IHC Community Centres could go far wider than a place for people who use our services to drop in or visit for programmes and events. They therefore made a separate recommendation to the IHC Board to consider the establishment of IHC Community Centres (where needed and wanted) that bring all the parts of IHC together to work with existing community programmes and organisations.

The board had a robust discussion, knowing that one size does not fit all. We acknowledged that it would take time and discussions with communities to work out which communities would benefit most from such centres. In some places such community resources already exist. But we agreed that IHC Community Centres align well with our strategic priorities for leadership, connection and providing opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities.

We have therefore agreed to the establishment of IHC Community Centres and look forward to discussions in the new year.

IHC looks forward to ongoing discussions and keeping you updated on progress.

Please see the links below for more information, including an Easy Read version (IDEA Services – Looking to the Future).

Ralph Jones
IHC Chief Executive

National Services Review – Board decisions

IDEA Services – Looking to the Future