It is a given that when you’re working in the human services sector, change and challenge are constants.  Every minute of every day, anyone working in human services, whether they are at the coal front of support work or in a senior management role, faces changes and challenges that require a considered response.  A major challenge for the disability support sector is the transformational change that will occur with the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  From the organisational viewpoint, the transition to the NDIS requires understanding new business models, accepting that there will no longer be the safety net of quarterly upfront funding, understanding marketing and negotiating directly with consumers and ensuring that supports provided are truly person centred.  Systems and efficiencies will be paramount to the organisation’s chances of a successful transition to the new world. 

Most organisations have quality improvement processes and registers, strategic plans and operational plans.  S.C.O.P.E. Inc. had these systems and documents in place and while they work effectively for their purpose, we felt that they were not the appropriate tool to use to assess the organisation’s capability to transition successfully to the self-directed consumer and market-driven world of disability support services that the transition to the NDIS will undoubtedly bring.  The organisation desired an approach that was able to be used with all stakeholders of the organisation and provided a plan for future organisational development. 

As a senior management team, a number of options for the capability assessment were considered from engaging a consultant to developing our own in-house tool.  Thoughts of developing our own tool went out the window when we were exposed to the Organisational Development Toolkit.  The Toolkit met our key criteria of:

  • being able to be worked on by all levels of the organisation due to its component structure;
  • providing us with a plan for the organisation’s development focus;
  • being able to be tailored to our culture;
  • being within our budget capability;
  • supporting our other organisational development processes without increasing administrative burdens.

The fact that access to the tool is provided free of charge made it an especially attractive option to use to undertake the NDIS Transition Capability Assessment.  After making the decision to use the Organisational Development Toolkit for our NDIS Transition Capability Assessment, we commenced data gathering using a variety of tools and reviews including:

  • informal focus groups facilitated through staff meetings;
  • formal planning sessions with members of senior management and the management committee;
  • PESTEL analysis;
  • anecdotal reports from staff at all levels of the organisation;
  • strategic plan based on emergent strategic planning processes, specifically logical incrementalism and resource allocation;
  • current and previous financial data;
  • service delivery metrics and trends;
  • HR metrics and workforce development planning; and
  • internal and external audit data and reports. 

Working through the Organisational Development Toolkit provided a number of light bulb moments for the staff involved as people gained a deeper understanding of how actions in one area affected another area of the organisation; for example how the implementation of a workforce development plan could have a very positive impact on service delivery.  These light bulb moments and the awareness, acceptance and commitment to the need for organisational development have been one of many benefits of using the Organisational Development Toolkit to complete our NDIS Transition Capability Assessment.  Our quality improvement and organisational development processes and systems have also been enhanced by the knowledge gained from using the Organisational Development Toolkit. 

Our work with the Toolkit has not finished and most likely will never finish as the development of an organisation is never a finite activity. Change and challenge appear in different guises every day, be it increased competition, transition to consumer directed care, re-commissioning of youth services or changing government priorities and funding models.  Completing the Organisational Development Toolkit provides an organisation with a roadmap to navigate a path through these changes and challenges.

About Tracey Lloyd and S.C.O.P.E. Inc.

Tracey Lloyd GradDipBus (Mgt) is the Organisational Development Manager at S.C.O.P.E. Inc., a non-government organisation and registered charity providing disability support services within the south-east Queensland region. The organisation is proud of its community driven heritage and believes in Support, Community, Opportunity, Partnership and Empowerment. S.C.O.P.E. Inc.’s vision is that all persons with disability are given the support and opportunity to ensure they are empowered to build partnerships within their community.

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