As Disability Service providers anticipate coming under scrutiny in the upcoming Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, a series of roundtable events is helping providers prepare to navigate the royal commission process.
Convened by Grant Thornton, the third roundtable in a national series of events was held in Brisbane on 21 May 2019, and saw an eclectic mix of a dozen Queensland Disability Service providers join together to discuss concerns and strategies.
“A major area of concern for the Brisbane Disability Service providers at the roundtable was around the evidence they will need to give, and how they will get that information,” Simon Hancox, Partner and National Head of Not for Profit for Grant Thornton, said.
Brisbane’s Disability Service providers also voiced concerns regarding the ongoing challenge to ensure their organisations didn’t lose their good cultures.
“Based on what we saw with the Aged Care Royal Commission, where everyone – even those doing good– were tarnished in some way, in the eyes of the broader community … and within the Disability Service providers present at the roundtable, there was a worry that the Disability Services Royal Commission will put additional pressure on staff that will lead to a deterioration in culture going forward.”
Having a deep knowledge of the disability sector, and having assisted many organisations through the Aged Care Royal Commission, Grant Thornton provided insights into what organisations can do, to alleviate their concerns, and support the broader industry.
“It is a realistic possibility that the Disability Services Royal Commission won’t highlight any of the quality care that has been provided to people living with a disability but rather focus on the negative aspects. Service providers should be on the front foot, they need to be in the market before the Royal Commission starts. They need to think about how they position themselves and how they communicate all the good that has been done.”
Key takeaways from the Brisbane roundtable event were:
- Don’t be fearful of having to provide information to the Royal Commission. Think of a strategy, and position yourself to communicate all the good work you have done
- Focus on strengths of your organisation and your culture, preserve these through this process. Consider your organisation’s mission. What’s important? What do you do to support that mission? What programs are in place?
- Build resilience of your people – it’s not just executives who are called upon to provide statements, it’s also service managers, care workers and so on. Support your people in handling the process, be open, honest and give them guidance in handling aggressive questioning. Provide them with respite after the Royal Commission. Be aware of what is going on with staff, how they are reacting to the Royal Commission so you can proactively respond to any issues.
For more information or guidance through the Royal Commission process contact Grant Thornton’s Health & Aged Care team.
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