IDEAS, the expert independent information providers, among many important advocacy organisations, are being axed by the NSW state government in June 2018.
IDEAS has been in service to people with disabilities, their families and carers since 1981. Cumulatively with the other organisations on the chopping block, there are hundreds and hundreds of years of lived disability experience and sector knowledge, which will not be available to the largest single minority population in NSW.
Independent information services have to be a sustained practice. They should not replace or prevent new entrants to the market, and disparate means of distribution, but IDEAS asserts that it is only fair to have a trusted source that people may use to get a gold standard of information, that is customised to the person’s access needs, to support their decision making.
The markers of these information services are:
- They should be unconflicted (that is service providers information is conflicted by their offer of service contracts from which they profit)
- They should be independent, that is, away from government, away from the Agency and away from direct service provision
- They should be accurate
- They should be timely
- They should be relevant
- They should be value for money
- They should be free to people with disability, their families carers and supporters
- They should have diverse distributive channels in an “omni” environment, so web, phone, letters, e-mails, community face to face engagements, newsletters, enewsletters and all the digital and social realm.
- The data must be maintained. Records must have a process of accession and de-accession.
- They should be “trusted” services and known to be on the side of people with disabilities .
IDEAS predicts that the most urgent of these is health. The ‘wrangle for nothing about us without us’ is real and the health system, and its specialties are largely unprepared. This is in an environment where people with disability have determination to be treated as whole persons and with the attitudinal shifts required to be treated as a person not as a condition.
Concurrently there has not been nearly enough time, resources or determination to do the community capacity building, and develop greater individual capacity amongst people with disability to self-advocate in the mainstream systems of health, education, transport, work, puberty, sexual health, travel and relationships.
Information Services, Awareness Services and Disability Inclusion education need to be expanded to meet these obvious burgeoning needs.
Acknowledgement needs to be made in that the digital divide is greater than then bandwidth alone. This is a financial, educative, social and age marked engagement. The choices need to be there, because even if people with disability may be very proficient in the digital world, that may be intermittent due to money or other issues.
If independent information services are not a sustained investment, then the NDIS risks losing choice and control for individuals and their engagement in mainstream provisions in their life domain.
What can you do to help?
At IDEAS we always say that it is not about us, it is about the thousands of customers we serve every year with free accurate information, but now it really is about us.
We need your help to tell your state local member, the state Minister for Disabilities, Mr. Ray Williams, and the Premier Ms Gladys Berejyklian that without IDEAS, people like you will have no one to go to for free accurate independent information that is not selling anything to make your choices truly yours.
Can you help us remind them that they won't know what they've got till it’s gone, and that you still need IDEAS to stand by you in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, whether you have a funded package or not? We counted you in, and now we are counting on you. Here are the contact details for Ray Williams and Gladys Berejyklian:
- Ray Williams - email: email@example.com or call 02 8882 9555
- Gladys Berejyklian - use this online form: https://www.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/contact-the-premier/ or call 02 9439 4199
If you would like assistance to get your message to the Premier, Minister or Local Member please call the IDEAS info team at 1800 029 904. If you would be happy to share your IDEAS story with us to try and get in the media, please let Diana Palmer our Executive Officer know on 1800 029 904, or firstname.lastname@example.org