Reviewing Shared Onsite Support

Independent Facilitators provide supported collective decision-making.

With multiple Cooperatives in the Pilot, this has included the decision of whether to proceed with the current shared onsite support provider or investigate a replacement.

Preparing to make a decision

Cooperatives prepared for this decision by

  • Working together to identify what’s important to them in their supports 
  • Reviewing how the current provider is tracking against this
  • Providing feedback to the provider on this and on things they may like to see change
  • Learning about what changing providers might involve for them.

How Cooperatives make decisions

How Cooperatives make decisions is decided by themselves. This vastly varies, with some voting privately to reach a chosen majority, some choosing to share their perspectives and aiming for consensus. It’s important people coming together are not only supported to make decisions but empowered with options on how a decision is made.   

What decisions we’re seeing

All of our Community Cooperatives to date have chosen to continue with their current providers, for varied timelines. While some have been highly satisfied and chosen to continue for extended periods, others have felt extended for shorter periods. In one instance, the Cooperative had seen a major improvement in service in response to their feedback in recent months. They wished to ensure this continued before committing to their services for a major period. 

It’s important before a group to have morale and an understanding of each other’s perspectives and experiences to best make a collective decision, and have collective ownership of this decision.

Working on a path forward with providers

This process also creates an opportunity for Cooperatives to document their service expectations of providers. This flips the historical script of “this is what you get by living in this building” seen in many disability housing circumstances, to consumer power and self-governance, which the participants are building capacity to execute. 

Cooperatives have, to date, been providing this documentation to the provider and inviting the provider along to their next meeting to speak to it, and to negotiate on what is and is not achievable for them, and in what timeline. 

All providers have been grateful for the feedback, and have taken the opportunity to improve their services. Many have taken the ideas from the Cooperative and rolled them out in other homes.

What participants are saying

Participants have appreciated having the opportunity – a first for all – to sit down and consider whether the shared support provider is the right fit for them. While ‘choice and control’ is the NDIS line, often means that by choosing a certain home, you are told who your provider is. While some SDA providers support the initial selection of a provider in a new property, this review throughout based on performance offers a major opportunity for people to come together collectively and reflect meaningfully on whether the existing provider is the right choice to continue with.

Making collective decisions that affect each individual’s life can sometimes be hard. But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided.

Cooperative members have shared the feeling that “they finally have power” through this process.

One person shared “It’s nice we get to have a say on who supports us. Although we have issues with the provider this will give us time to work through them and make sure we are making the right choice to stay with them in the future.”

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