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Posted by Philip on 19 July 2015, 1:51 pm in , , , , , , , ,

To choose the life I want to lead: submission to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into More Effective Social Services

This is the submission I made recently to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into More Effective Social Services, in response to Chapter 11: Client choice and empowerment. Submissions closed in June. 

I am Managing Director of Diversity New Zealand Ltd. I am recognised in New Zealand and overseas as a social and creative entrepreneur with fifteen years’ experience as a professional, award-winning comedian. My company works to develop capacity in individuals, teams, organisations and communities in the areas of leadership, diversity, complexity and change.

I use Individualised Funding (IF) to manage my support.

IF has made a huge difference to my life. Before I moved onto IF, I could not find services who could provide support that was suitable for my busy lifestyle. Now I employ a team of people with availability to support me seven days a week in all the different aspects of my life.

I have had my current support people/person for over two years. It has made a significant difference to have the support I need when I need it from people who value and respect me.

I prioritise recruitment, induction, management, appraisal and feedback to create optimal retention and harmonious employment relations. Responsibilities of my team include supporting me to dress, eat, manage medication, look after my dog and keep my living and work space clean, tidy and organised. I travel on average twice a month, so I need people with a flexible schedule, and I require more support when away from my usual environment.

My employees need to be comfortable both working under pressure and, at times, occupying themselves while I'm working. They need to be practical, easy-going and sociable.

In the past I've employed art, architecture, nursing, physio, occupational therapy, social and community work students, as well as a few activists. This role works for people who are interested in learning about themselves, others and how the world works.

IF allows me to employ people who get reciprocal value from the relationship, which I believe is essential for meaningful employment.

On average employees tend to get a higher rate of pay and better working conditions under IF.

I know how I want to live and what I want my life to look like, so I am the person best placed to make decisions about how to achieve this.

I would urge the government to look into IF and fully understand difference it is making to people’s lives.

As a contributing citizen I need full flexibility with my disability supports and to be able to choose the life I want to lead, just like other non-disabled New Zealanders.

I am recruiting for staff until 27 July (I have extended the deadline from 20 July).

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