As we know, choice and control is not new to human service policy and practice. Research has consistently demonstrated that informed user choice improves the effectiveness of services.
Improving Participant Choice and Control is a central component of the new Disability Employment Services Program. Participants will have choice over the provider they choose, including crossing ESA boundaries to go to a provider of their choice, there will be more flexibility in the ways services might be delivered, and if a participant is unhappy with the provider or service they receive they can opt to go to another provider. This will change the participant/provider relationship, for the better. Providers will have to attract participants rather than have them referred by Centrelink.
Informed user choice also puts users at the heart of service delivery and recognises that, in general, the service user is best-placed to make decisions about the services that meet their needs and preferences. Competition and user choice are already common across a range of human services including health care, aged care, vocational education, social housing and of course the National Disability Insurance Service.
The ‘Facing the Customer’ panel will discuss how applying best practice (informed) choice and control in disability employment services can work. Our experts will give examples of best practice from a range of related disability services to understand how this can be applied to the Disability Employment Services. The panel will comprise experts on choice and control including Deb Rouget, CEO, Belonging Matters, Dr Sue Olney, Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group in the School of Business at UNSW and others. The panel will be facilitated by Peter De Natris, Branch Manager from the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Peter De Natris

Strategic Advisor to the NDIA
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

Peter’s current role is as a strategic adviser to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). His focus is on early childhood and early intervention and economic participation for NDIS participants.
In his current role he is focusing on key areas of Scheme Design and Approach which recognise the shift from the current program based systems to an Insurance scheme based on markets that need to be developed and supported so that best practice can be enabled and continuous improvement encouraged.
Peter has worked in, around and with all levels of Government on policy and strategy to improve outcomes for people with disability in employment. Driven by a passion to see the Australian commitment to economic independence of people with disability and the potential of these people realised, he recognises the potential of the NDIS as the game changer.
Prior to his current role Peter had 12 years with Ageing, Disability and Home Care, in NSW as a Regional Director in Southern NSW and the Executive Director.

Dr Sue Olney

Research Fellow, School of Business
UNSW Canberra

Sue is a Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group in the School of Business at UNSW Canberra. She has worked in the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and the School of Government at the University of Melbourne; in the Victorian Government Departments of Education & Training, Planning & Community Development, Human Services and Health; and in the not-for-profit sector. Her research revolves around access and equity in employment, education, training and disability services in Australia, with particular focus on the impact of reform of public services on citizens with complex needs. Sue holds a PhD in Public Policy and her thesis examined employment services for the long-term unemployed in Australia.

Deb Rouget

Belonging Matters

Deb Rouget has been the CEO of Belonging Matters since 2003 and was an integral part of its development. Deb has been keen to steer Belonging Matters into a sustainable, education and capacity building resource that shifts mind-sets to enable people with a disability to enjoy a fulfilling life that is well embedded in community, relationship, citizenship and typical opportunities. She has also been committed to fostering the leadership of people with a disability and their families in regard to social inclusion, peer mentoring, self-direction, Circles of Support and the development of various grass roots solutions.
Deb has spent over 30 years supporting adults who have a disability and families in various capacities. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Intellectual Disability, presents at various seminars and conferences and consults nationally and internationally on efforts that search for genuine social inclusion and person-centredness.

Samantha French

Advocacy Manager
Advocacy Manager, People with Disability Australia (PWDA)

Samantha French is the Advocacy Projects Manager for Social Inclusion, Employment and International Relations at People with Disability Australia, a national disability advocacy and rights organisation. Sam has worked in the disability field for over 25 years in both government and NGO sectors, including in her previous positions as Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Sydney Council and as a Consultant with the Australian Network on Disability. Sam was directly involved in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).and has extensive experience in assisting organisations to develop practical strategies that improve access to their workplaces, services, facilities and programs.

Patrick Moran

Managing Director
EDGE Employment Solutions

Patrick Moran is the Managing Director of EDGE Employment Solutions a West Australian based DES provider. EDGE Employment Solutions has provided Disability Employment Services since 1984 and has been influential in the growth and development of disability employment over the last 33 years. EDGE is committed to the delivery of quality, individualised services for people with disability as evidenced by direct registration rates of more than 85% and average placement tenure of more than four years. EDGE runs a range of specialist programs including School to Work Transition, Professional Placements and an Apprenticeships & Traineeship program. EDGE hosts three National Disability Coordination Officer roles which cover the state of Western Australia.
Patrick holds an MBA from UWA and enjoys the challenge of balancing the commercial realities of running a DES in a State facing a significant economic down turn whilst remaining steadfast in EDGE’s commitment to deliver a quality individualised service to its stakeholders. Prior to entering the DES Sector 13 years ago Patrick had a career in event management. When not navigating the challenges of the DES world Patrick enjoys spending time with family and distance running.

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