We build services to be responsive to community needs and context and make a measurable difference for individuals and communities. And quality governance is foundational to delivering connected, person-centred services that are safe and effective.

Over the period, we implemented our Service Quality Governance Framework that links the internal processes that ensure safety, accountability, transparency and continuous improvement. This framework guides us in listening intently to the people we support as we manage and develop contemporary, evidence-based services.

Prison Advocacy Pilot

Almost half of all people in prison live with disability, compared with 18% of the general population. Prisoners with disability experience a higher risk of violence and abuse, and over a third of our prison population – many with disability – are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Many affected prisoners are unaware of their disability, particularly those with psychosocial or intellectual disability. There’s also a stigma associated with disability in prison, and because it relies heavily on self-reporting it is drastically under-reported.

Prisons have struggled to ensure people with disability receive the essential supports they need to reintegrate back into community safely.

To address the issues faced by prisoners with disability, Uniting established the Prison Advocacy Pilot at Acacia Prison in early 2020. We took an innovative and holistic approach and worked to establish a culturally appropriate pathway for people to access the NDIS.

We supported 7 prisoners through the pilot while enhancing existing disability supports and helping identify barriers to NDIS access in prison.

Developing an NDIS plan can be difficult, particularly during COVID restrictions when meetings need to be done over the phone. But Hayley, who lives with her elderly mum, is much more confident after being supported by our Your Say advocate.

Hayley, who has autism and intellectual disability, needed some help in navigating the NDIS. With her own disability and carer responsibilities, her mum wasn’t able to offer her the help she needed. 

So Hayley and her mum asked our advocate to act for them when developing the NDIS plan. After several discussions, our advocate gained the understanding he needed to speak on behalf of the family. He also guided the family in collecting the evidence needed from allied health professionals to support the recommendations for funding the plan.

When the initial plan provided by the NDIS failed to meet Hayley’s needs, the family decided to appeal the decision after discussing their options with our advocate.

Supporting Hayley and her mum through the process was only part of the role of our advocate – it also included helping to build the capacity and skills of Hayley and her mum to self-advocate. This included filling out forms, communicating with health professionals, completing weekly time schedules and developing new relationships with service providers – skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Quality and impact achievements in brief

  • Child and Family Therapeutic Service peer support group formed to address the impacts of child sexual abuse in their families
  • Family Group Homes holidays to Margaret River and Mandurah built positive relationships and memories for young people
  • Commenced an Intensive Family Services pilot program for the introduction of an Aboriginal Cultural Broker to work with fathers in culturally informed ways
  • Supported the State Government’s pandemic-response project ‘Hotels with Heart’, successfully housing 12 people when the project concluded
  • Adapted our services to meet COVID State of Emergency guidelines without transmission or major incident 
  • Maintained a 100% non-offense rate for people we support through our Reintegration services
  • 92% of tenants were satisfied with our Community Housing services.