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Sydney’s leading Disability Service providers recently came together at a roundtable event to discuss concerns, challenges and how best to prepare for the recently announced Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
As part of a national series of roundtable events, twelve CEOs from Sydney disability organisations joined leading Grant Thornton advisors at the event, which aimed to highlight concerns and share knowledge, insights and lessons learned from the Aged Care Royal Commission, to help navigate the path ahead.
Following the announcement of the Royal Commission and the publication of the Terms of Reference, the roundtable participants were unanimous in their key concern.
“The key worry related to the breadth of the scope of the Terms of Reference,” John Picot, Principal, and local Head of Health and Aged Care, Grant Thornton, said.
“The breadth of scope is undefined and it makes no mention as to how to go forward – it’s really around uncovering what’s happened and this is a challenge for Disability Service providers in determining what they need to focus on,” he said.
According to Picot, there are several things Disability Service providers can do now to face this challenge and prepare themselves for what is to come.
“The key takeaway from the roundtable was to ‘prepare, prepare, prepare’. For Disability Service providers – based on learnings from the Aged Care Royal Commission – preparation is crucial.”
Using learnings from the Aged Care Royal Commission, Grant Thornton’s specialists attending the roundtable proposed several key areas where organisations can prepare:
- Put in place a structure, a steering committee with authority and the delegation to move mountains in their organisations
- Start to gather all the data and information they may be asked for around past issues, challenges, abuse. “This is also critical for organisations who have acquired business units during the last 5 years (mergers and acquisitions), who may be asked to be accountable and responsible for reporting on abuse that may have occurred.”
- Have a process in place for data mining. The volume of data involved in surfacing issues is a major challenge, but it’s the issues that are more difficult to find that could potentially cause the most damage reputationally.
- Have a clear communications plan, at community level, consumer level, and most importantly the people who deliver the services – the workforce. Be clear, open and honest about what the problems are, what you have got wrong, what you are doing to change.
The Sydney roundtable event highlighted an overwhelming desire to create an industry that is much better in the future and has a solid reputation for caring for people living with a disability.
For more information or guidance through the Royal Commission process contact Grant Thornton’s Health & Aged Care team.
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