Local Area Coordination (LAC) is an important part of Australia’s transition to the NDIS. Coordinators work with participants on the ground to help them enter and make the most of the Scheme. They also support participants to build strong, inclusive relationships and connect with their community, a move away from the traditional centralised model of program delivery. Local Area Coordination providers were chosen because of their skills and experience in working with local communities and achieving positive change. In the transition phase from now until June 2018, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Local Area Coordinators will support around 65,000 people who currently receive government disability funding and services to transition into the NDIS.
What is the Local Area Coordinator’s role?
A Local Area Coordinator (LAC) meets one-on-one with a participant and his or her carer or family member to have a conversation about their current situation and supports. Our LACs will engage respectfully with and listen closely to the participant about what day-to-day supports are needed for their quality of life and also how they might increase opportunities for employment or become more involved in the community through activities like sports clubs, local theatres, special interest groups and community gardening. Information from the conversation is then sent to the NDIA for review and approval. When the plan is approved by the NDIA and funding has been provided to meet the participants reasonable and necessary support needs, our Local Area Coordinator will then assist the participant to implement their plan and build community inclusion.
What steps is the Society taking to ensure that the LAC workforce includes Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander coordinators?
The Society is committed to growing and developing a talented and versatile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce. The Society needs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed right across the LAC program, in a wide range of roles and at all levels. By doing this the Society is able to deliver its services in a way which meets the diverse needs of the people it supports and provides opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have increased choice and control in the services they receive and how they receive them.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are actively encouraged to seek and maintain employment with the Society to deliver the LAC project.
What is the Society’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) strategy?
The Society acknowledges and respects the diverse cultures of Australia and the strength that this diversity brings to the workplace. People who receive support under the LAC program stand to benefit greatly from a CALD workforce. If a Local Area Coordinator speaks the same language as the participant, communication difficulties are alleviated and it may be more likely that the Coordinator will have a greater understanding of the participant’s cultural norms and values.
People from CALD backgrounds are actively encouraged to seek and maintain employment with the Society to deliver the LAC program.
Can a Local Area Coordinator influence the NDIA’s funding decision?
No. LACs do not influence funding decisions nor make specific provider recommendations
How does this work impact the Society’s strong tradition of advocacy?
This work in no way affects the Society’s advocacy role, which is at the very heart of its mission and work. That freedom to advocate remains strong and essential.
How can the Society do this LAC work AND be a registered service provider?
The Society has historically had a small footprint in the disability services sector which was part of the reason it was chosen to carry out this work. In addition, the LAC project is a completely separate division from the other works of the Society. It has its own executive team, governance, financial management, recruitment practices and policies and procedures. In the event that a conflict of interest does arise, our staff are well-trained to respond and resolve the conflict immediately.