Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Disability Support Services Contract Terminations – Response

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation prior to asking questions of the minister representing the Minister for Disabilities regarding contracts for disability support services for the coming financial year.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: It has come to my attention that Disability SA has abruptly terminated two contracts with a major disability service provider here in Adelaide. One leaves 60 people with disabilities and their families without support with only two weeks to procure a replacement service provider and support workers. We understand the service provider has been told to make the transition ‘as smooth as possible for clients’, yet the clients impacted by this sudden decision have been given no support from Disability SA (DSA), as I understand it, to find alternatives other than a web page that provides, again as I understand it, incorrect links to service providers.

Whilst some of these providers remain on the DSA provider panel, they may not be approved providers for that specific type of service, which these clients need. We are in a time of great reform in the disability community, as many would know, for people with disabilities, our family carers, community supporters and disability service providers. In addition to the introduction of the national disability insurance scheme, the last thing constituents in my office need right now is further uncertainty and no contracted support beyond 30 June this year. So, my questions to the minister are:

  1. What processes does Disability SA have in place to ensure continuity of support services that are provided to people with disabilities where contracts are terminated or not renewed?
  2. Does the minister agree that one fortnight is not an adequate time frame for individually funded clients to recontact agencies and support workers, and that Disability SA’s decision has apparently left families in the lurch?
  3. What does the minister intend to do to ensure that people with disabilities and their families have adequate supports and contracts in place by 1 July 2016?
  4. Where contractual disputes occur and services are not renewed or are terminated, what comprehensive case management does the department put in place to support people with disabilities and our families?
  5. Why is the Disability SA website apparently not up to date nor accurate in the service information it provides to the community?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) : I thank the Hon. Ms Vincent for her important question and again acknowledge her strong advocacy for the area to which her question relates. I will have to refer the question to the responsible minister in the other place for a response. I am sure the responsible minister will get an answer back to those five questions as soon as possible.

Response Recieved 28/03/17

In reply to the Hon. K.L. VINCENT (21 June 2016).

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety): The Minister for Disabilities has advised that the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion has advised:

Where contracts are terminated or not renewed, Disability SA and disability services case managers work with eligible clients to ensure continuity of support as the care of the client is the number one priority.

The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion is not aware of any client who was without services during the transition to new arrangements.

All clients who transitioned to new service providers had arrangements in place with the new service provider from 1 July 2016.

Case managers from Disability SA or Disability Services provide case management support to people with disabilities and their families as required to ensure continuity of care.

The department is committed to providing information that is as accurate as possible.