This project documented CLP’s family-led model to empower service users and families to manage their own support workers in such a way that informal and formal supports are strongly aligned with the participants’ needs and wishes.
For over 30 years, Community Living Project (CLP) has been committed to strengthening family leadership and creating conditions where ‘right relationships’ can flourish between participants, families and workers. In CLP’s family-led model, workers are sourced from diverse (non-traditional) backgrounds who are individually recruited and employed to work with a single person and their family. Subsequently, individual job design and the use of an interactive, behavioural orientation package continues the individualised approach. CLP partners with participants/families to co-design all the workforce management processes around their individual support.
Key to this is building the participant/family’s skills and confidence to manage their own support workers, simultaneously coaching workers to respond to the central role of the participant and family, and constantly looking for opportunities to develop freely given relationships to safeguard the future.
A misalignment between formal and informal supports has led to a lack of coherence in service delivery, and questions being raised around ‘whose needs are being met’. CLP developed the family-led model to empower service users and families to manage their own support workers in such a way that informal and formal supports are strongly aligned with the participants’ needs and wishes. The model evolved into what it is today, but had so far not been properly documented or reviewed.
This project built a robust evidence base of critical co-design elements for a sustainable and autonomous workforce that delivers outcomes for participants and families in this family-led model. Through examining what workforce practices currently build participant self-direction and family leadership, and why, it aimed to build on what works and further adapt this model to the NDIS environment. This includes the use of person-centred tools and practices and reaches as far as the culture, beliefs and behaviours required of providers to partner in ‘right relationship’ with participants, families and staff.
The project set out to develop a validated strategy, ‘how to’ resource and improved tools to provide to families, support workers and the broader disability sector around implementing family-led workforce management practices.
At the end of the project the following was developed:
To support the project a Project Steering Group (PSG) was set up. The group consisted of two service user representatives, two family representatives and a key worker representing frontline staff. The other members are representatives of CLP senior management and the partner organisations in this project, Flinders University and Kathleen Milne Consulting.
Flinders University was engaged to review of the family-led model. Kath Milne Consulting was engaged to review best practices in available person-centred workforce practices and innovative family-led approaches happening elsewhere in the sector.
CLP realised that while their original model was highly valued by people and families, discussions with workers revealed some potential risks:
In their new model CLP has taken this feedback on board and the changes to the workforce model – through the split to an Inclusion Coach and a Support Manager - directly address these concerns.