11. Mar, 2016

NDIS - putting the soul into being a sole trader

The NDIS will open up some exciting opportunities for people with disability, but it will also open up some pretty exciting opportunities for support workers too.

Imagine, being able to work in a job that isn't just about getting paid, a job that is also about the satisfaction from supporting someone else to live their life, their way. And not having to work for an organisation - you can be your own boss!

To quote the NDISs own fact sheet: "Many people studying for qualifications like hairdresser, electrician or mechanic dream of owning their own small business one day. Under the restrictions previously attached to funding for disability supports, this was not a career option for people working in the disability support industry.

With the introduction of the NDIS, the choice and control inherent in the ideology of self-directed supports means that, for the first time, disability support workers may consider establishing their own viable small businesses working for multiple NDIS participants.

These contractors are not tied by organisational policies; can negotiate with participants and provide more flexibility with regard to hours worked and tasks undertaken – really embracing the principle of ‘the right support at the right time’."

Having already set myself up as a successful sole trader - and as a subject matter expert on the NDIS, I can help you create your future.

For more information click here 

Be well.


P: 0412 020 4780412 020 478 E: scott@peregrinus.com.au W: www.peregrinus.com.au


Supporting those who provide paid supports for people with disability

15. Dec, 2015


It starts here!

My free tips to assist you become NDIS ready.

Feel free to share with your colleagues but if you use any of the material please credit the source i.e. me.

Clicker 'older entries' at the bottom to see more.

13. Dec, 2015

NDIS - it aint about you!

So you think you are person-centred in the way you deal with people.

But are you really?

The old adage 'treat people the way you would like to be treated', would be OK if we were one big homogenous group.

But we ain't!

We are a polyglot mob us Aussies - and that comes with all of the cultural diversity that makes us who we as a collective now are.

From the First Australians, to the descendants of convicts, free settlers, refugees, and the 'modern immigrant' - we now all share in this wonderful old piece of rock that separates the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

We all love it here.

And whether we have been here all of our lives or just for a bit, we are all in-part, the product of our own particular heritage.

Sometimes, that means that apart from struggling to get to grips with what it means to be an Australian in the 21st century and getting the lingo right - there may also be specific cultural mores that can be incredibly important to us. It also means that some people may be struggling with a range of issues associated with their pre-migration life experiences - and never underestimate the impact the 'stolen generation' and other mistreatment has had on many Aboriginal Australians.

Some things that are important may be because of the trauma a person and/or their family and/or their people have been through. They may be important because of their religion, or they may be important because they are just the way some cultures do and see things - in other words, their customs and values.

It also means that culturally, the way some people understand and deal with disability may be different. The role of the family and extended family in decision-making in some cultures will also be more important than for others.

The thing is, one of the main reasons the NDIS is happening, is because of the recognition that 'one size doesn't fit all'.

So don't treat people how you would like to be treated, treat people how they would like to be treated.

It ain't about you!

The NDIS is all about individual choice and control.

But how does someone exercise choice and control in the support they receive, if the people providing that support don't understand or respect what they have been through, their religion, their language, their customs or their values?

Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world today. And even within particular ethnic groups there can be many cultures and sub-cultures. For example, there are many hundreds of mobs among our Aboriginal brothers and sisters - and their language and customs can differ markedly from clan to clan, nation to nation. Just as those of English heritage can be different in their religion, customs and values to those of Irish heritage, or Italian, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese, Iranian, Latvian, Serbian, Peruvian....

You get it right?

We are a not a homogenous group.

Some organisation's and people may try to use this as an excuse, after all - "how can we possibly cater for every individual religion, language, culture and sub-culture"?

Well if you think like that, then you're missing the point!


'Person-centred' means just that.

Deal with one person, the whole person - put them in the centre and take into account everything that goes into making them who they are and what is important to them.

This means learning about this one person, understanding how their heritage impacts on what is important for them in terms of their disability and in how they participate socially and economically. It's about communicating with them in their first language if that is more comfortable for them. It means involving the person's family in a way that is appropriate for them in their culture.

It's also about learning and then doing what needs to be done to support this one person in an appropriate way for them to participate within their family, within their culture, within their broader community; and to take their place as an Australian who is fully able to participate and be free from all direct and in-direct discrimination, not only because of their disability, but also because of how their heritage impacts on what is important for them.

Sure, there are some great things you can do like cultural awareness training, employing a culturally diverse workforce, engaging community leaders and elders, attending community events, publishing material in relevant community languages, providing interpreters etc. But they won't stand for diddly-squat if you don't treat each person the way they would like to be treated.

People might come to your service because you do the things listed above. But they will only stay if you treat them in a way that is right for them.

Most of us got into this sector because we liked working with people, however that doesn't mean everyone will like working with us - particularly if we are not sensitive to their individual needs.

Being culturally and linguistically appropriate isn't a course, or something you can learn from a book. It's about respect. We like to think we respect difference when it comes to disability, then why should it be hard when it comes to cultural matters?

You just need to take the time to ask, explore and understand.

Do not judge, just accept and be respectful. You will learn and be richer for the experience.

Always remember, the NDIS isn't only there for people just like you - it's there for everyone.

And as a mentor of mine once said, if we all want the same thing (person-centeredness) and we can't achieve it - then someone isn't trying very hard.

Are you trying hard?

PS - if you are an employee of the NDIA, this goes for you too!

With thanks to Eva Hussain who suggested I do a post about being culturally and linguistically responsive.

I can assist you and your organisation with the change process of transitioning to the NDIS - or you can read my other posts for free.

Be well.

P: 0412 020 478 E: scott@peregrinus.com.au W: www.peregrinus.com.au

Supporting those who provide paid supports for people with disability

31. Oct, 2015

NDIS rules!

What rules?

One of the best features of the NDIS is the abolition of the reams, nay tomes, of program guidelines, rules, and regulations on how services should be delivered that currently exist in our fractured, broken and inequitable present. 

Under the NDIS it will simply be about delivering what people need and want, how they want it, when they want it, and where they want it.


What it means though, is that successful organisations will be those who adapt to the new environment and deliver person-centred assistance to people with disability.

What will this look like?

I dunno - but how exciting is it going to be to find out?

Hint - it won't in the main, be centre-based day programs and centre-based respite - just to name a couple of today's service staples.

The reality is the future is there for the creating.

The way I see it, organisations have 3 options:


1. Be like Apple

Some of the most clever organisations will become the 'Apples' of the disability sector and create something people don't even know they want yet.

When Steve Jobs envisioned the iPhone, it wasn't based on market research, he just knewit was a cracker of an idea and that 'if he built it they would come'.

How right he was.

Like just about everybody else on the planet, I didn't know I wanted an iPhone till it was invented. And for those who say "iPhone sucks" and its Samsung all the way - remember no matter how good Samsung is, or isn't, it is still a 'me-too' product - not that there is anything wrong with that.

The lesson?

If you are going to be an 'Apple' you need to go on innovating or risk the others creaming you.

But the satisfaction of your customers will be immense.


2. Be like Olivetti

If you were born after 1990 - I'm talking about what was a typewriter company (Google it).

For the rest of us, we remember Olivetti as the name in typewriters.

But whatever happened to them?

Well long before typewriters went the way of the dodo, they had a spirit of delivering what the market was telling them they wanted. They were at the forefront of the evolution of electronic calculators and in 1965 released what is considered the first desktop personal computer - way before Apple and IBM.

And yes, they failed.

But then they got up again and followed the market.

And today they are a major supplier of infrastructure to the Italian cellular telephone industry turning over in excess of 340 million euros per annum.

In 2013 they released their own smartphone offering.

The business looks nothing like what it did, but they are meeting a market need and are thriving.

The lesson?

Olivetti demonstrate that a willingness to adapt and respond to market needs is a winner of a way of ensuring survival.

And their customers are satisfied.


3. Be like Kodak

They refused to adapt as the market needs changed and clung to antiquated technology and ways of doing things. 

And yep - they're gaaaaawwwwwwwwwn!

The lesson?

No satisfaction, no customers.

Nuff said!


So if you haven't already, start creating the future - don't just sit there and let it pass you by.

Think what the world for the people you serve could look like and build it.

Don't ask people "what do you want?" That is just dumb!

While some people might know what they want, most won't - because they can't yet envision what choice and control looks like.

Start educating the people you serve about the constraints you have had in the past and the liberties that will exist into the future - and take the journey of discovery together.

If you are truly a Mission driven organisation, then let go of the past and embrace the future.

Be an 'Apple', or be an 'Olivetti' - but whatever you do, don't become a 'Kodak'.

I can assist you and your organisation with the change process of transitioning to the NDIS - or you can read my other posts for free.

Be well

14. Oct, 2015

NDIS - five fundamental truths about transition



If you have historically been in receipt of block funding, there are a number of fundamental truths you will need to face up to if you are to survive the transition to the NDIS.


Truth number one

Your current worst quarterly cash position, will be your new best cash position - period!

That is the impact of moving from in-advance payments to in-arrears payments.

You will need to factor this in from a working capital perspective and also you won't be earning the kinds of bank interest (not that interest rates are much chop these days) you are used to.

The only way your cash position will get any better is if you make a surplus from providing your services.


Truth number two

Growth is not good in and of itself - only profitable growth is good

Once you start to provide service to a new participant under the NDIS you start spending money. Here is the rub. Unless providing that service is profitable you will lose all the money you spent between day one till you first get paid, forever! Or at least until the person leaves your service.

Don't believe me?

Let's say you start with $100,000 in the bank and before your invoice is paid for providing service you spend $2,000. You now have $98,000 in the bank. If you have 50 new participants - you now have nothing in the bank!

If you are only breaking even (or even worse losing money), the very best case under this scenario is your effective working capital reduces by $2,000 per new participant.

"Ah yes, but don't we go back up to $100,000 when we get paid?" - I hear you ask. True. But you can't spend that money on anything else because you are already committed to providing the next $2,000 worth of service - that you have to pay for again before you can invoice. Hence your available working capital has decreased.

You can only maintain, or grow your working capital by providing profitable services i.e. spend less to provide the service than you charge. And because your margin will never be huge, this is only going to happen slowly.


Truth number three

Your staff are not used to working in a paradigm where they need to understand with crystal clear clarity the cost of every minute of support. Their decisions on spending time now are based on the number of hours provided for by your block grant and the number of people you can employ - not on what you can charge for!


Truth number four

It is also highly likely your frontline staff and outlet managers are not geared up to be able to deal with new and existing participants on agreeing what to provide under the flexible components of their plan.

They are used to offering a service, take it or leave it.

Increasingly, participants are going to want their service, how they want it, where they want it, when they want it - AND they might want it in varying doses from week to week, month to month.

If decisions around these kinds of flexible supports have to go through a higher level of management, your organisation will grind to a halt.

Making these decisions will require staff to understand the financial implications of these decisions.


Truth number 5

The people who use your services and their families generally know less about all of this than your staff. Unless you do it earlier, come transition they are going to require a lot of support and no one is going to pay you for that.

The old adage that the 'truth hurts' may be a bit harsh. But the truth is the truth.

Face up to it!