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Key Messages from Transforming Disability Support System Workshop 30/31 May

02 June 2017

Photo of Workshop participants

On 30 and 31 May 2017, the co-design group met to review, test and refine the high level design for the new disability support system. By the end of the workshop, we were confident about the overall shape of the design and had spent time on some of the building blocks that needed more work to feed into the next iteration of the design.

At the workshop we:

  • Reviewed, tested, identified gaps and made changes to the first iteration of the high level design
  • Focused on four key building blocks which needed more thinking and work
  • Discussed and refined the design criteria that underpin the high level design and detailed design
  • Started to talk about the future work programme and how we engage with the wider sector in the next phase of design.

We reviewed, tested and refined the high level design

Between the last workshop on 17 May and this workshop, a small team had pulled together all of the thinking, discussions, post-it notes and pictures from the previous workshops and turned this into the first version of the high level design of the new system.

Overall, the co-design group was pleased about how all of their work had come together in the new design.

We spent a whole day reviewing, testing for different disabled people, identifying gaps, and making changes to the design for:

  • the experience for disabled people and whānau in going through the system
  • critical shifts from where we are now to the new system
  • more than 20 system elements or building blocks for the new system.

While we were reviewing the design we were thinking about:

  • Does the design support disabled people to put the Enabling Good Lives’ principles into practice?
  • Will this work for all disabled people and whānau including people with high and complex needs, people who do not have a support network of whānau or unpaid friends, and people who are currently in residential care?
  • Is the design providing flexibility and choices, and making sure cultural values are responded to across the system?

Some of the new building blocks the group were most excited about were:

  • a new front end to the system which includes pro-active and responsive contact with disabled people and whānau through a range of channels including outreach, peer and family networks, face-to-face, phone, email and a digital hub
  • a new information tool that enables people to record their progress, think about what they have learned and add to system insights, but also gives disabled people the control over who they share this information with
  • understanding and using insights across the system and government about what is and isn’t working for disabled people and whānau – these will be reviewed by disabled people and whānau and shared with Ministers, government agencies and the Office for Disability Issues
  • connecting to the wider community through many of the building blocks so we can influence and shape more inclusive communities for disabled people and whānau.

By midday on Wednesday, we were feeling confident with most of the high level design with a few small tweaks. There were a few outstanding building blocks which we felt needed some more fundamental change.

We split into small groups to achieve the required breakthroughs …

The building blocks that we thought still required more fundamental work were:

  • Disabled people and family capacity and capability building
  • Support networks – with a focus on supported decision making but acknowledging there may be a need for some substituted decision making in the short and/or longer term in some extreme cases
  • Funding allocation and processes
  • Service delivery team.

We divided into four teams – each focusing on a different building block. In one very focused hour, we made a lot of progress with major breakthroughs for funding allocation and everyone feeling that we had captured the key features and identified any outstanding questions to be worked through for the next version of the design.

We discussed and refined design criteria

The overall objectives of the co-design are to increase choice and control for disabled people and whānau. We have the Enabling Good Lives’ principles but there are also some other criteria that drive our design, both at the high level, and for the next stage of the detailed design. Some of the design criteria include:

  • All disabled people are able to access the benefits of the increased choice and control offered by the new system, irrespective of whether they have support networks or are able to make decisions independently
  • Safeguarding is built into the system so disabled people are encouraged to take opportunities and calculated risks and are at no greater risk than non-disabled people
  • The system is a learning system, gathers insight and makes improvement based on this; disabled people and whānau influence the improvements. Reflection, learning and growth are encouraged for individuals, whānau, and the system.

We started to discuss the next phase of work and how we engage with the sector

While we are confident we will have a high level design to take to Ministers in the next month, there will be a lot more work over the next nine months or so to complete the detailed design for the new system to be implemented in mid-Central. We will be identifying what needs to be done in the next phase and developing a road map for change at the next workshop.

As a group, we started to talk about how we inform and engage with the sector during the next phase. We talked about the need to:

  • Involve disabled people and whānau in developing detailed design for key building blocks including the front end of the system, evaluation, funding allocations and processes (and many more)
  • Create opportunities for groups of disabled people to test whether the new system will work for them including people with high and complex needs, people without whānau or other support, the autistic community, Maori, Pasifika, migrants, young people and older people
  • Provide more information for different groups to understand what will change and why including disabled people, whānau, service organisations and providers, NASCs and government agencies
  • Provide high level communications to keep people informed.

We will be talking more about this at the next workshop.

We feel good about the high level design – it has been fun and hard work

At the end of the two days, we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were feeling confident about where we had got to with the high level design and looking forward to testing the next version. We think we have worked through most of the outstanding issues.

There has been a lot of laughter, challenging discussions and hard work. We are now looking forward to the final workshops and starting to make the new system a reality for disabled people and whānau.

If you would like to contribute any ideas or have any questions, please contact us through

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