Knowing your business

Disability Services and most Host Providers operate on the basic premise that an individual, or their families and /or committed friends on their behalf, have the natural authority to direct their own support.  Directing your own support or the support required by a family member or friend really means assuming the authority for making decisions and taking the responsibility for the decisions you make.  There can be many complexities in determining your own needs, employing your own staff, taking responsibility for your own funding.  It is important to think about where you get that authority from.  

In her article published in Crucial Times, Ten Guidelines for Family Governance of Services, Margaret Ward lists ten guidelines for family-governance.

These guidelines apply equally when you are responsible for directing your own or another person's individual support arrangements:

  • Understand your authority as a family member
  • Know where you are going
  • Defend your family business; define the service business
  • Remain close - solve problems quickly, locally and creatively
  • Plan, Plan, Plan and be ready for spontaneous opportunities
  • Be ready for things to go wrong - safeguard, safeguard, safeguard
  • Develop the skills you need
  • Work in right relationship
  • Protect yourself from Bureaucracy
  • Know you are mortal

If you work with a  Host Provider, the agreement you have with them might provide the framework for the 'delegated conditional power' or roles and responsibilities expected of the person/s directing support. The document would also establish the administrative roles that the Host Provider would take responsibility for.

The self or family governance model would provide the framework for how decisions are made and how decisions are translated into actions. Some roles will clearly remain the business of the person or their family while decisions can be made, for example, to delegate certain roles to key paid workers as 'service business'.

Under a self-directed support arrangement, there is an implicit expectation that you or family or committed friends will be available to solve problems and / or provide the tools to employ staff to resolve within certain guidelines. The Host Provider should be available to offer advice and assistance where it can - sometimes at the request of the people self-directing and other times stepping in if actions put anyone at risk of breaching legal requirements.

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