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Transfer frequently asked questions

Ensuring a smooth and successful transfer of accommodation and respite services

What has the Government decided?

The Victorian Government has announced it is proceeding to a tender process for non-government providers to deliver disability accommodation (also called Supported Independent Living) and respite (Short Term Accommodation and Assistance) services in Victoria, which opened in February 2018.

Since the Expression of Interest (EOI) process in 2017, Government has undertaken a comprehensive evaluation to assess EOI submissions.

The response to EOI was strong, and demonstrated that a number of high quality providers are well placed to take on accommodation and respite services and share our commitment to people with disability, families and the workforce.

The tender will further test shortlisted providers’ ability to embed Government’s strict conditions of transfer, including that: 

  • they have the capacity and expertise to deliver quality services
  • strong and enduring safeguards are in place to protect people with disability
  • the right services are in place for people with disability
  • employees are seconded and transferred on fair terms of employment

To ensure these conditions endure, the Government has designed the transfer of services to enable a smooth and successful transfer, and to minimise disruption for participants and their families.

The first stage of the transfer process will see participants supported to transfer from 1 January 2019, and employees seconded to a successful provider.

Staff working in accommodation and respite services will be seconded for up to two years (1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020) before they are supported to formally transfer on 1 January 2021.

We will evaluate tender proposals from shortlisted providers and are expected to announce the successful providers from mid-2018, and transfer services from 1 January 2019.

The Government is finalising the EOI process for Behaviour Intervention Services (BIS) and Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) and is considering the next steps.

What was the outcome of the Expression of Interest process for accommodation and respite services?

The Government ran an Expression of Interest (EOI) process in April 2017 to measure the interest and capacity of non-government disability service providers to deliver services across the state, and to test whether our strict conditions and evaluation criteria, developed in partnership with people with disability, families and workers, could be met.

The response to the EOI from providers was very positive; a testament to our strong disability sector that has deep connections with the community.

High quality non-government providers demonstrated that they can meet the Government’s strict conditions for the delivery of accommodation and respite services:

  • they will work with people with disability, their families, and staff to deliver individualised and responsive services
  • they will work with the NDIS and ensure a smooth transition for people with disability and staff
  • they employ staff on fair terms and conditions and have a good workplace culture with high standards that will support collaboration and professional development
  • they can demonstrate innovative approaches in service delivery for people with disability
  • they have a strong safety record for clients and staff

What is the tender process?

Following the EOI, we have now entered the next phase where the Government has requested detailed proposals from selected accommodation and respite services providers, and will assess them against a targeted set of evaluation criteria through a tender process.

They will be further assessed on their ability to deliver high quality services that are person centred, individualised and safe, and are delivered by skilled and committed staff employed on fair conditions.

As part of this stage, providers will need to submit extensive information and evidence to demonstrate their ability to meet strict safety and quality thresholds. This will include information such as how they will meet participants’ needs, including engaging and communicating with participants and families, and supporting participants to self-advocate and access advocacy. 

They will also need to meet our strict evaluation criteria, which are based on engagement with participants, families and the workforce, and are designed to ensure we get the best providers that will offer the highest quality support.

We will evaluate proposals and are expected to announce the successful providers from mid-2018.

Which services are part of the tender process?

The Government has announced it is starting a tender process for disability accommodation and respite services currently delivered by the Government.

The Government is finalising the EOI process for Behaviour Intervention Services (BIS) and Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) and is considering the next steps.

Why is there no decision about BIS and ECIS services?

Designing the future of disability services is a huge undertaking – and we want to get it right.

Our preferred approach is to respond to the specific needs of different services to deliver what people with disability, their families and our highly-qualified staff value most and boost the sector’s confidence to grow, innovate and diversify to meet the needs of the future.

A more detailed update on the future of ECIS and BIS services will be provided in due course, with no changes to service delivery in the meantime.

Why is the Government transferring disability accommodation and respite services to non-government providers?

One of the main principles of the NDIS is that people with a disability have choice and control in the services and supports they receive.

Through the NDIS we have an opportunity to continue to improve disability services so they better meet the needs of people with disability, and improve their lives into the future.

To achieve this, we need to support Victoria’s disability sector to develop and innovate, with organisations providing a diverse and individualised range of disability services.

In December 2015, the Victorian Government announced that it would begin identifying which organisations are best placed to provide disability services currently provided by the Government.

The response to the EOI was very positive. High quality non-government providers demonstrated that they can meet the Government’s strict conditions for the delivery of high quality and safe accommodation and respite services.

This is a testament to our strong disability sector, and an important step to support our commitment to an NDIS that delivers high quality services and greater choice and control.

Will the Victorian Government remain a service provider in some form under the NDIS?

The Victorian Government will continue to deliver case management services, forensic services and outreach support services.

What is the timeline and process for transfer of services?

The tender is open from February until the end of April 2018.

We will then evaluate proposals and are expected to announce the successful providers from mid-2018.

There will be no changes for staff or participants during 2018.

We will then start the process to transfer accommodation and respite services and staff to successful non-government providers.

The first stage of the transfer process will see participants supported to transfer from 1 January 2019, with employees seconded to a successful provider for up to two years. During this time staff will remain employed by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Following the secondment period, the workforce will be supported to formally transfer to their new provider on 1 January 2021 through an offer of employment. The offer will be based on each worker’s substantive (ongoing) position and their current employment terms. The replacement Disability Services Enterprise Agreement (DSEA) and all terms, conditions, protections and accrued entitlements will transfer with them.

The two stage transfer process has been designed to provide maximum stability to participants and families and staff, and to ensure they are well-supported, confident and prepared for change.

This approach recognises the pivotal role that staff play in the delivery of high quality and safe services, and the positive and enduring relationships they have with participants.

The transfer process will be highly consultative and be supported by active engagement  from people with disability, their families and the workforce.

Will there be changes to services or jobs during the tender process?

There will not be any changes for staff, participants and families during the tender process.

How will the quality of services be protected?

Victoria’s commitment to quality and safety in the disability sector will continue as services are transferred to non-government providers.

Through the transfer and beyond, we will work in partnership with non-government providers to ensure the sustained delivery of high quality and safe services.

The Victorian Government has put in place strict protections as part of the conditions of transfer. This means:

  • All participants will continue to receive services. Successful providers will be obligated to ensure all participants continue to receive their current services.
  • People’s homes will be protected. The owner of the accommodation and respite services will not change as part of this tender process and people will not be asked to move. Under the NDIS, people will be supported to choose the accommodation or respite services that work best for them into the future.
  • Participants and families can continue to enjoy the relationships they have with the staff they know and trust. Government has invested in the workforce in order to ensure that participants can continue to be supported by the staff they know, in their home. This includes House Supervisors, who often have extensive knowledge about the people they support. Successful providers will be required to maintain House Supervisor, to provide leadership and peace of mind.
  • Transport provision won’t change. Access to transport will be protected as it is critical to the provision of high quality support. Successful non-government providers who take on government services will need to ensure there is no reduction in current transport services for participants.
  • Access to advocacy must be provided. Successful providers must ensure that appropriate policies, programs and procedures are in place to support the access of residents to independent and peer advocacy services.
  • Quality of services will be protected. The Government will monitor the performance of the successful providers to ensure they continue to meet our strict quality and safety conditions, and share our commitment to people with disability, their families and the workforce.

While under the NDIS there will be a national approach to quality and safeguards, the Victorian Government will establish a monitoring and performance regime focusing on safety, service quality and fair workforce conditions. Providers will also be required to put in place regular feedback processes, which will be designed in partnership with participants, families and the workforce, and outcomes will be monitored.

How will participants and families be supported during this process?

We understand that transferring to new providers is a significant change and are committed to ensuring the transfer is well planned so that participants and families continue to receive the best care possible.

Throughout the transfer process, our commitment is to provide information as soon as we can. The Government is holding a series of forums through February and March to make sure participants and families have the information they need about the tender process, and the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback about what is important to them.

Information sessions for residents that live in group homes will also be held, with specialist advocacy support.

And we are undertaking more interviews and workshops with participants, families and the workforce to help design how the transfer will work as part of our ongoing co-design approach.

This is just the start. The Government will continue to work with participants and families to shape the transfer so that disability services meet their needs and improve their lives into the future. There will be opportunities throughout 2018 to actively participate in planning for the transfer to new providers.

Participants and families can call the Disability Intake and Response Service on 1800 783 783 with any questions, or visit www.vic.gov.au/ndis which is being updated as new information becomes available.

How will accommodation and respite workers be supported during this process?

We have a highly skilled accommodation and respite services workforce, made up of thousands of committed individuals whose tireless efforts every day improve the lives of people with disability.

We know that this change represents a significant transformation of the sector, and how important it is to protect employment terms and conditions, and create incentives for staff to transfer to the non-government sector.

We also know how important it is for staff to continue to support clients and their families and maintain a trusted and positive relationship.

To that end, the Government and the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) have agreed to a significant package for our workforce. The wages, incentive payments, job security and protection of terms and conditions offered represent Government’s strong and ongoing commitment to the workforce, ensuring they will be supported to transfer to non-government providers on fair terms and conditions.

DHHS is engaging closely with staff, providing detailed information on the terms of transfer and regular updates on the process.

As part of this, information sessions for accommodation and respite staff are taking place across Victoria in February. These sessions will be followed by a consultation and engagement process, where staff will be able to provide input and feedback, and this will continue throughout the transfer process.

What consultation has the Government undertaken, both with disability workers and participants and families?

Victoria is putting people with disability and their families, and the disability workforce at the centre of the NDIS rollout, and is undertaking a collaborative design approach regarding the future delivery of disability services.

Since early 2016, the Victorian Government has engaged with people with disability and their families, and disability workers across the state, industrial representatives and large, medium and small service providers in metropolitan, regional and rural areas regarding the future delivery of disability services.

The information gathered during these discussions has shaped the strict conditions that the Government has placed on the transfer of services and both the EOI and tender evaluation criteria, which measure and test the quality of prospective providers.

The Government will continue to engage with participants, families and staff throughout the tender process.

Read our fact sheet on co-design and previous co-design reports to find out more.

What is the Victorian Government doing to support disability workers transition to the NDIS?

As Victoria rolls out the NDIS, attracting and retaining workers with the right skills, values, and attitudes is crucial to deliver safe and high quality disability services.

To support this, $26 million has been invested as part of Keeping our sector strong: Victoria’s workforce plan for the NDIS. This plan is about getting the disability workforce ready for the NDIS and laying the foundations needed to build the workforce of the future.

The plan will provide disability workers with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills, increase the range and diversity of job roles available to them, and create new and stronger career pathways within the sector. It will give disability workers new skills, greater diversity in job roles, and the opportunity to do exciting and valued work that has a direct impact on the lives of others.

Making sure our disability workers are appropriately registered and qualified is another important step in delivering high quality and safe disability services to Victorians. This year, the Victorian Government will establish an independent, legislated Victorian registration and accreditation scheme for the state’s disability workforce.

We recently sought feedback on the scheme, which is designed to protect vulnerable people from harm, and support the development and growth of a quality disability workforce by making sure workers have the right skills, experience and qualifications.

Understanding the experience of the disability workforce and how their needs are changing is a crucial part of the transition to the NDIS. We have started a three-year survey and will shortly invite disability workers across the state to participate and help inform the Victorian Government’s approach to workforce planning and development to ensure the NDIS delivers better outcomes for the workforce and participants.

Read our workforce plan to find out more.