Chairperson and Executive Officer Report
After a number of years of planning and transition, CLP has now settled into the new world of NDIS, focused on delivering our Mission ‘to assist people with disability to live their own unique and purposeful life of inclusion through having: home, relationships, competencies and highly valued roles in their community’, and doing it our way, one person and family at a time.
This year we welcomed many new families to Self directed Support, Circles and Micro Enterprise, and we look forward to partnering with you. Sadly, 2020 has also been significant for us in that we lost four members of CLP’s family, including two founding members, Ray Brooks and Olive Weston. Ray and Olive became Life Members of CLP in 1995, serving on the board over many years, as well as being founding members of Parents of Disabled South (PODS), the precursor to CLP. Another previous board member for 8 years, Christian Absolom, passed away suddenly in July. Christian was supported to live in his own home by CLP for over 25 years. We were also saddened by the loss of Nikki Gow after battling a long illness, a family member who worked tirelessly on her cousin’s behalf. Our deep condolences go to all their families.
Our sincere thanks go to the staff of CLP at every level of service delivery and administration for their dedication and flexibility through the transition period, with grateful appreciation also to our senior managers for their leadership. Enabled by a strengthened financial position, largely resulting from the Temporary Transition Payment (TTP), the board introduced the 2020 Staff Development Fund as a way to express our grateful appreciation for the efforts of all staff across the organisation in the past 12 months through the final transition to the NDIS, and their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
In October 2019 we completed and successfully passed our Stage 2 NDIS audit. This is an important and demanding process. The Auditor noted in her final report that feedback from staff and families ‘was representative of the CLP vision and values reflecting the highly personalised support and individually tailored service. CLP’s approach to truly tailored individualised supports and developing family leadership is credible and reflective of their culture and values.’
The board undertook strategic planning at the end of 2019, and it is pleasing that the next phase of transition with a focus on core roles, new roles and building sustainability was continued despite the circumstances. A review of responsibilities and accountabilities under Self-directed Support is helping staff to better manage internal processes and communication. When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, we started intense preparation and planning to keep our people safe. We stayed informed, passed on what information and advice we had, and kept alert to any quick response that we needed to make.
The courage and commitment of workers to forge ahead and not miss a beat in providing services, is something to look back on and be extremely proud of.
All staff completed mandatory infection control training. We reached out to help people navigate the information coming in and decisions to be made. We helped families to explore networks including Circle of Support members, as contingency for support if there came a time when support workers were restricted from coming into people’s homes.
Helping people stay safe and isolated from their communities was a real challenge to our core value of building connections. With safety paramount, our staff and families looked for ways to be creative about being active and connected. Some of these stories are highlighted on page 5 and 7.
Some families directed that they wanted to self-isolate and halt services, while several staff members chose to self-isolate as their or their family members’ health was at high risk. We did our best to individually support each family and each worker to navigate their way through these weeks.
CLP has a long-established practice of working flexibly, with our coaches and facilitators often working from home and community spaces. This meant we were somewhat prepared when the time came to instruct some of our office-based staff not to come into Saltash Avenue. Keeping numbers to a minimum in the office meant that our Finance and Admin team could continue business processes as usual. The way that they kept up payments and processing during this time was commendable.
We had been planning to bring families together in March for our bi-annual weekend retreat of learning and connection, however our international speaker was unable to come to Australia, and bringing people together at that time was not possible. We are hoping to be able to bring families together next year to explore the themes of family leadership and inclusion.
CLP presented two submissions to the Safeguarding Task Force, which was established by the Minister for Human Services in May, in response to the tragic death of Ann Marie Smith. The submissions presented Circles of Support as a valuable strategy for families to support safeguarding. Following the recommendations from the Task Force, the government response has included funding for an Inclusive Neighbourhoods initiative, which will include an element of Circles of Support, and CLP will have input into this project in partnership with JFA Purple Orange.
We are also grateful to be able to offer an exciting 2-year project, Introducing Circles of Support, made possible via the Norman H Johns Trust through Perpetual IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP). We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Wyatt Benevolent Fund for Micro Enterprise through to July 2021. We also thank the Thyne Reid Foundation for supporting us to build further capacity.
This year we have successfully been funded under the NDIS Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program for an exciting 2-year project, Discover Micro Enterprise: Exploring Possibilities. We thank the Centre for Disability Employment, Research and Practice (CDERP) for partnering with us on this project.
We also thank Community Business Bureau (CBB) for supporting Sally Strzelecki to take part in a CBB-sponsored Working Mind program offered in partnership with Kerrie Ashcroft and Awaris.
We acknowledge and sincerely thank all our board members this year, welcoming Patrick Faulkner for his first term of office and Henry Elliot as an exofficio member. Tom Laing resigned from his role in September, and we acknowledge and thank Tom for his significant contribution as Treasurer over the last 6 years, helping to guide and support CLP safely through the difficult period of transition. Helen Neale is also stepping down this year, and we thank Helen for her strong contribution as a family member for the last 2 years.
The board also thank Darrin Hepworth for his support to CLP and the CLP Trust.
The board wish to acknowledge the hard work, capacity and resilience of all involved with CLP from individuals, families, direct services staff, team leaders, coordinators, support managers, facilitators, inclusion coaches, consultants, support coordinators, office and administrative staff, managers and our EO. It is a complex and at times challenging task to keep an organisation true to its values and core mission, to remain family led in times where systems seem to be ever changing and then we have a pandemic to add to the mix.
The year 2020 is not one we are likely to forget, yet we are still here and presenting another annual report with positive highlights. Thank you to everyone.
Caroline Ellison, Chairperson
Prue Gorman, Executive Officer