Issue 1: How do we show commitment to building trust between people with a disability, families, workers and organisations?
Ellen raises very important points around safeguarding. As she quite rightly points out, in this wonderful new world of freedom and flexibility, who ensures measures are in place to protect those in the community? Better Caring’s platform deals with this in several powerful ways: We have core standards and requirements for workers using our platform that are industry norms. This includes, at a minimum, police checks, working with children checks if relevant, reference checks and certain qualification checks etc. Workers on our platform are also covered by comprehensive insurances that we arrange on their behalf.
Workers on the platform get to work for people who choose and value them – and they choose to work for. Those who are self-employed must take responsibility for their work, invest in building their skills and knowledge and continually delight their clients to ensure they can grow a successful business.
We also encourage workers to work in teams with their clients and back each other up, and several workers on our platform offer a ‘lead support worker’ service to help clients to build and then coordinate their network of supports through the platform.
‘peer2peer’ or ‘person2person’ marketplaces like Better Caring are community regulated. Users of the platform can transparently rate and review workers, who must in turn earn and maintain the trust of the community to remain effective on the platform. This important layer of accountability ensures that people who do the wrong thing can’t function in the marketplace, while also allowing great work to be celebrated and shared. Clients have reported that this transparency goes a long way to building the essential trust that Ellen refers to, particularly in the context of a system in which quality has historically been regulated by compliance with standards and mandatory training.
As our clients have commented, compliance and training alone do not always translate into a quality outcome. When it comes to quality, each consumer is different – as Ellen mentioned, what is important to one person might not be to the next – for many consumers, the attitudes and motivations of a support worker may be just as, if not more valuable to a client than someone’s experience and qualifications.
Issue 2: What avenues are there for disclosing issues safely and confidentially if things go wrong between individuals and their workers?
It is our belief that it can often be easier for consumers to navigate complaints when they have a direct relationship with the workers they choose. There are no complex complaints processes to follow or layers of management to navigate – clients can communicate with the worker on the platform, or simply choose to terminate the engagement with their worker, or they can choose to rate or review their experience. If they’re not comfortable doing so directly, the Better Caring customer care team is on hand to support them. Consumers, workers and the Better Caring team all have the same obligations when it comes to reportable incidents as guided by the Ombudsman and other relevant legislations. This approach also supports customers using the platform to build capacity in engaging in a marketplace as true consumers.
Issue 3: Who is responsible for offering professional development to individuals, their families or their workers as we navigate this new NDIS world?
Better Caring is more than just a technology platform or market place. At Better Caring, we work closely with our community to build a culture of responsibility and promote a code of conduct amongst workers, connecting them virtually and through real world meet-ups, and collaborating with Registered Training Organisations and alternative learning organisations to provide them with great ongoing development opportunities, often at discounted rates.
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