The Importance of Facilitators Being Independent 

At Enliven Community we are passionate about Community Cooperative facilitation being independent. This means the facilitator is separate from the support provider and the housing provider. By being independent, facilitators focus solely on Community Cooperative members and take their feedback to providers anonymously – meaning the provider does not know which members raised a topic.  

Participants felt safe to raise issues  

Of course, all clients should feel that they can raise concerns directly with their provider. Unfortunately, however, NDIS participants are conveying not feeling this way. Cooperative members have expressed concern that raising concerns directly with providers will have them perceived as “troublemakers,” and that having an independent facilitator to talk to avoids the fear that it will “come back to [them] for some reason”.  

Cooperative members explicitly fear raising concerns will have impacts on their tenancy and safety. One person recently shared that “if you feel [raising something] will impact tenancy or support that you need to live in your home then you do hold back.” Another mentioned that having the facilitator is “not just helpful, it’s about safety”.  

Independent Facilitators can focus on the participants 

Independent facilitators are better able to focus on outcomes for participants without factoring in organisational factors. This not only improves participant outcomes but gives them confidence that their facilitator is “not swayed one way or another.”  

The facilitation role amplifies the voice of NDIS participants [The role of the Independent Facilitator explained – Enliven Community]. Independent facilitators can focus exclusively on this when they are separate from the support or housing provider. The NDIS Review Supportive Analysis (2023) {Working together to deliver the NDIS – supporting analysis ( rightfully acknowledged that when facilitators are not independent, they “can face limited or competing incentives to act in the interests of participants, such as financial pressure to fill a vacancy quickly with limited regard to the preferences of the existing resident group” (p. 587).  

NDIS Review’s recommendation for this independence

Enliven Community was excited to read the NDIS Review Panel’s support for the NDIA commissioning shared facilitation support (Recommendation 8.4). Further, the Panel described facilitators as “most critically… [having] complete independence from the shared support, property management and SDA providers and to act in the best interests of the participant group” (p. 589).  

Enliven Community’s independence

Enliven Community is currently strongly linked with Enliven Housing, the SDA housing provider. Our goal is for Enliven Community to gain additional funding, allowing us financial independence in the future.  

In the meantime, protecting the independence of the facilitation in the way we work is vitally important to us. If you are in a Cooperative and want more information about your facilitator’s independence, you can contact them directly, reply to this email, or call us on 1300 310 320. 

While it’s important that facilitators work with shared providers of Community Cooperatives collaboratively, for Community Cooperatives to be impactful, and to give confidence and safety to participants, we believe that the facilitator must be independent.  

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