Consultations Unpacked: More Effective Social Services

DCOSS and Commuity Law Otago invite you to our next Consultations Unpacked event around the Productivity Commission’s More Effective Social Services draft report.

12:15 – 13:45 Friday 5 June 2015 at Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place

The Productivity Commission has been tasked with looking at current arrangements in Government funded social services, housing, crime reduction and more. They’ve issued a draft report for comment and this is your opportunity to join DCOSS, Otago Law Centre  and Law for Change to discuss what’s been raised and what we have to say about it.
Available are the:
Following the meeting we’ll write up a submission based on what was discussed and organisations and individuals will be able to add their names to this if they wish. This is a big issue and we hope that this will be an effective way to have a say.
Different groups will see the issues differently and we hope to accurately represent smaller Otago organisations’ views.
Also available on the Commisison’s website are case studies on Employment services, Whänau Ora, Services for people with disabilities, Home-based support of older  a report on The economics of social services and Handing back the social commons, a report by James Mansell, an intereting read on information sharing to deliver better outcomes.
ocl Large Blog Image

Experiences with the Medical Appeal Board (MAB) Process an exploration of how the Work and Income medical criteria decision review process is working

Consultations Unpacked Background Paper.

Friday 6 June 2014 12-1.30pm
Dunedin Community House

 a Dunedin Council of Social Services, Dunedin Community Law Centre &
Community Law Canterbury Community Forum

 

The MAB is the place to go to appeal a Work and Income decision made on medical criteria (such as eligibility for Supported Living Payment, Jobseeker Support and the Child Disability Allowance). The board is independent of Work and Income. The MAB has the power to change decisions made by Work and Income. It can either agree with the decision, or change the decision. There is no right of appeal against a decision of a Medical Appeal Board. This means it is very important that a case going to the MAB is well prepared, there is strong medical evidence to back up your case and if you need it, you have someone to support or represent you at the hearing.

The MAB is a decision making panel made up of three people. MAB members are appointed by MSD’s Chief Executive and are paid by MSD for their time taking part in hearings. MABs consist of three members* who are:

  • Doctors
  • People with expertise in rehabilitation, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and psychologists.
  • Other people with the right expertise.

* The board members at your hearing must not have had any involvement in your case or treated you as a patient.

Concern has been expressed locally at the length of time it can take for an appeal to go through, and the composition of the board. While it is recognised that board membership does require people with the right expertise, some clients have indicated that the expertise is limited to specific areas of medicine and their case may fall outside of this area, other clients have expressed concern the board is not gender and culturally diverse.

The forum is interested in hearing local stories and experiences with the Medical Appeals Board so that we can look at ways of supporting beneficiaries who are taking medical appeals.

 Sources and links for further Information

 Work & Income New Zealand

 About medical appeals:

http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/community/health-and-disability-practitioners/about- medical-appeals.html

About the medical appeal board hearings:

http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/brochures/a-guide-to-medical-appeals-board- hearings.html

Caring for the Carers: an exploration of how the new family carers policy is affecting families caring for disabled relatives

Consultations Unpacked Background Paper

Caring for the Carers

an exploration of how the new family carers policy is affecting families caring for disabled relatives

a Dunedin Council of Social Services (DCOSS) &
Dunedin Community Law Centre (DCLC) Community Forum

Friday 2 May 2014 12 – 1.30pm
Dunedin Community House

In October 2013 the government released a Budget package that would enable some family carers to receive payment for looking after family members. The package was formulated in response to a Court of Appeal decision that a policy of not paying family carers to provide support services to family members living with disabilities constituted discrimination, on the basis of family status. The 2013 Budget provides $23 million a year to pay carers who look after a disabled family members aged 18 years or older who are assessed as having high, or very high needs. Funding enables payment at the minimum wage.

Eligible people can employ a family carer to provide personal care and household management, or continue to use a commercial provider.

The decision was hailed as a step in the right direction, but was not without criticism:

  • Concern has been expressed at the high & very high needs eligibility criteria.
  • There is disappointment that spouses and partners of disabled people are excluded from the scheme.

  • The new legislation (NZ Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013) states that people can no longer bring unlawful discrimination complaints about the new law or family care policy to the Human Rights Commission.
  • Some family members leave good paying jobs and take a cut in pay to care for a family member at the minimum wage rate.

Other concerns which have been informally raised include issues around professional development opportunities, support for family carers and the vulnerability of carers in terms of employment rights.

The forum is interested in hearing local stories about how the new family carers policy is affecting families caring for disabled relatives.

What is working? What is not working?

Sources and links for further information

Ministry of Social Development: The New Zealand Carers’ Strategy Action Plan for 2014 to 2018

www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/work-programmes/policy-development/carers-strategy/

New Zealand Herald: Editorial

www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10884930

NZ Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013

www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2013/0022/latest/whole.html

Download this page as a PDF.

Add to your calendar.

Feedback on the Government response to the Health Committee’s Inquiry into Improving Child Health Outcomes and Preventing Child Abuse

Consultations Unpacked – Improving Child Health Outcomes and Preventing Child Abuse

Council of Social Services Dunedin (COSSD) and Dunedin Community Law Centre (DCLC) invite you to joins us at a Community Forum.

12pm to 1:30pm on Friday 28 March 2014 at Dunedin Community House

On Thursday 6 March the Government released its response to the Health Committee’s Inquiry into improving child health outcomes and preventing child abuse with a focus from preconception until three years of age – a number of you may have submitted to the Inquiry.

130 recommendations were made, and the Government has accepted or accepted in part 109, 14 have been noted and seven not accepted.

You can download a background paper including links to articles and papers: Child_Health_Background.

Feedback and questions will be reported back to the Health Select Committee.

Consultations Unpacked: Harmful Digital Communications Bill aka the Cyber-bullying Bill, an open discussion

Council of Social Services Dunedin & Dunedin Community Law Centre invite you to discuss the proposals and assist with formulating a possible submission to Parliament.

The Bill proposes to mitigate harm caused to individuals by digital communications and to provide victims of harmful digital communications with a quick and efficient means of redress. It follows the Law Commission’s 2012 Ministerial Briefing paper Harmful Digital Communications and proposes:

  • creating a new civil enforcement regime to quickly and effectively deal with harmful digital communications
  • creating new criminal offences to deal with the most serious harmful digital communications

Download our Harmful Digital Communications Fact Sheet for more background information on the Bill.

Bring your Lunch, Tea & Coffee provided, find out more in our calendar entry.

Consultations Unpacked: Notes from A Warrant of Fitness for New Zealand Homes Discussion

Council of Social Services Dunedin and Dunedin Community Law Centre hosted an open discussion of the possibility of a Warrant of Fitness for Housing on Thursday 3 October 2013. The following is a summary of opinions expressed at the meeting:

DCC

  • DCC is interested in minimum standards of rental accommodation, but haven’t settled on best way to achieve this.
  • It was clear from the DCC’s Social Wellbeing consultation that the quality of housing stock was a concern; residents want warm and adequate housing.
  • OUSA interested in student housing stock, and thinking of the best way forward – one idea is introducing a local Bill re: minimum standards. OUSA has drafted local Bill, DCC may or may not go with it.
  • DCC cannot develop a bylaw that encourages minimum standards because this would be ultra vries
  • Internationally the UK has minimum housing standards
  • Green Party has a Private Members Bill re: minimum standards
  • Need to be mindful of unintended consequences.

Presbyterian Support Otago

In 2004 Presbyterian Support Otago published Old, Cold and Costly? A Survey of Low Income Private Rental Housing in Dunedin (otago.ps.org.nz/sites/all/files/u14/Old%20Cold%20and%20Costly_0.pdf), they are currently revisiting homes they visited 10 years ago, looking to see if there are improvements.

Opinions expressed

A

If a WoF is introduced there are some unintended consequences for elderly folk.

  • Elderly residents, they are now being encouraged to stay in their homes for as long as possible, there is pressure to be as independent for as long as possible.
  • Elderly residents feel they need to keep up with the maintenance of their homes or they are letting their children down (ie: in terms of inheritance).

B

WoF is only a small part of the picture, we need a holistic view. Poverty is an issue; 60-70% of people’s income is going on rent.

C

  • If you instigated a housing WoF it would result in a rent increase. Median rents would start to climb.
  • Should encourage new builds, if there is new housing stock on the market the quality rises and old houses will drop off the market.
  • Regulatory problems with renovating older housing stock – problems re: Historic Places Trust saving older Dunedin homes.
  • Questions around where the standard is set, and time frames, ie: 5 – 10 year compliance, possibility of a star rating system.

D

Idea of a star rating system

  • would apply to landlords and not to private home owners;
  • some private home owners cannot afford the upkeep of their homes.

General Discussion

  • Need to educate tenants in what to look for, Otago Polytechnic has guidance online: www.opsa.org.nz/accommodation.php
  • Issue of what new migrants think of Dunedin’s housing stock; New Zealanders tend to put up with poorer housing stock.
  • Students choose location over housing stock.
  • Unintended consequences (ie: rent increases) versus a moral issue (good quality homes for families). Is legislation a way of dealing with morality?
  • Compliance is a way to weed out rogue landlords.
  • We can’t legislate private home owners, some private homeowners are bringing up children in substandard housing and the health system has to pick up the pieces.
  • International models: Scotland Scottish Housing Quality Standards, requirement that these be met by 2015. (www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/16342/shqs)
  • Landlords need to be supported to bring homes up to standard in a way that does not increase the cost of rent.
  • Over time minimum standards will become the norm. Two – three years ago you could charge extra if you put a heatpump in, now the market has created heatpumps as a minimum standard so you cannot charge more.
  • Dunedin is an old city, need a localised WoF and some sort of benchmark and more research.
  • Good quality housing is a Human Rights issue and a mark of civilised society.
  • Needs to be some education around what to look for in rental accommodation, and also education for landlords, asking them the question “if I am renting would I live like this?” If landlords look after their premises they will find that their tenants will too.

Download this as a PDF.

Consultations Unpacked: The Legal Framework for Burial and Cremation in NZ

Council of Social Services Dunedin & Dunedin Community Law Centre invite you to a community forum to discuss the Law Commission Issues Paper: The Legal Framework for Burial and Cremation in New Zealand and assist with formulating a submission due by 20th December.

This is the first substantial review of New Zealand’s burial and cremation laws, and the terms of reference are deliberately broad. As a result of this forum we will put together a submission which addresses local issues on burial and cremation – and we are very keen to hear your stories and views on burial and cremation in NZ.

The forum is from [new date] 12 – 1:30 Thursday 5 December 2013 at Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place, Dunedin 9016

The new date is to allow for the Law Commission meeting on the subject on Thursday 28 November from 1.00pm –3.00pm at Otago Museum, Kakapo Room, 419 Great King Street, North Dunedin.

We’ve prepared a discussion paper you can download as a PDF including a list of questions the Review is looking to address:

Burial and Cremation in NZ

You can easily add the forum to your calendar here: Calendar entry

 

Consultations Unpacked: Engaging Parents in the Education of their Children

You can download these details as a PDF: Engaging Parents Discussion doc

Council of Social Services Dunedin & Dunedin Community Law Centre invite you to discuss the Parliamentary Inquiry into Engaging Parents in the Education of their Children and assist with formulating possible submissions.

12 -1:30 Wednesday 30 October 2013

Add this to your calendar

Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place, Dunedin 9106

Bring your Lunch, Tea & Coffee provided

Contact: Rob Tìgeir projects@councilofsocialservices.org.nz 03 471 6177

We’ve prepared a quick guide to the inquiry and some pointers to information to help us get a handle on the topic.

The key points…

The topic for this session is the Parliamentary Inquiry into Engaging Parents in the Education of their Children

The terms of reference for the Inquiry are to investigate the elements of an effective strategy:

  1. for engaging parents, families, whānau, aiga, and communities in education;
  2. to identify the best practice examples of approaches, locally and internationally, that support parents and communities to encourage their children’s learning;
  3. and to identify ways to leverage the strength of communities to lift the educational achievement of children and young people in their community.

As an outcome of this discussion we hope to make a submission. Submissions close 7 November 2013

Some starter Questions…

  • What, if any, barriers exist to engaging parents, parents, families, whānau, aiga, and communities in education?
  • Are you aware of any examples internationally or locally that succeed in supporting parents and communities to encourage children’s learning?
  • how do you think we can harness the strength of communities to lift the educational achievement of children and young people in their community?

Some background reading from around the world…

Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education information, research and toolkits for engaging parents, whānau, and community:
nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Middle-schooling/Engaging-parents-whanau-and-community

NZ research on engaging parents funded by the Teaching & Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), a body established by the government in 2004 to forge links between educational research and teaching practice:

Active Adult Participation in Early Childhood Education: Enhancing Child Learning and Community Wellness a report prepared by Judith Duncan et al.:
www.tlri.org.nz/sites/default/files/projects/9279_summaryreport.pdf

Australia

Sustaining Community Engagement, Blog – links and information on the Australian context:
sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/welcoming-parents-in-schools/

Information on the New South Wales School Learning Support Programme which is supported by The New South Wales Department of Education and Training: www.schools.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/schoolsweb/studentsupport/programs/schoollearning/rf6engage.pdf

Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Resources for engaging parents in children’s education:
www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/health/pages/drugeduengage.aspx

United Kingdom

Principles for engaging with families: A framework for local authorities and national organisations to evaluate and improve engagement with families, a publication by the UK based  Early Learning Partnership Parental Engagement Group (ELPPEG).
www.ncb.org.uk/media/236258/engaging_with_families.pdf

Research on parents involved in their children’s learning from the UK-based organisation The Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services:
www.c4eo.org.uk/themes/families/vlpdetails.aspx?lpeid=414

USA

Engaging Parents in School: Blog – includes links to  articles on engaging parents:   engagingparentsinschool.edublogs.org

In 1995 the United States Department of Education created Parent Information Resource Centres (PIRCs) with the objective to provide parents, schools and organizations working with families with training and information on what they need to achieve at school. The Iowa PIRC has a high profile in this field:
www.iowaparents.org
www.iowaparents.org/files/toolkit/Engaging_Parents_as_Partners_in_Their_Childrens_Education.pdf

 

A Warrant of Fitness for New Zealand Homes

12 -1:30 Thursday 3 October 2013

Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place, Dunedin 9106

Bring your Lunch, Tea & Coffee provided

The key points…

There’s been considerable discussion about a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for New Zealand homes. Driving the movement is concern about the impact that low quality rental housing has on the health and wellbeing of children and the elderly.

Poorly insulated homes are expensive to heat; other issues include poor maintenance and rentals that do not meet basic sanitation and safety requirements.

The Expert Advisory Committee on Solutions to Child Poverty identified the establishment of a WoF for all rental housing as a priority for immediate attention in their document Solutions to Child Poverty in New Zealand: Evidence for Action Priorities and Recommendations.

The Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill is before the Social Services Committee with a report due on 1 October 2013. The Bill makes provision for a rental Housing Warrant of Fitness scheme, initially for social housing providers who meet certain criteria. Adherence would make the providers eligible for an income-related rent subsidy.

The Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago (Wellington) and the  New Zealand Green Building Council are establishing a test for a minimum standard for rental accommodation focussing on a pass or fail on health and safety standards.

Locally the Dunedin City Council with the support of OUSA is proposing a Local Bill for Parliament that would give Council the power to enforce a Warrant of Fitness on rentals in the city.

Some starter Questions…

  • Do you support a rental housing WoF?  If yes, why?  If not, why not?
  • Can you foresee any problems?
  • What are key criteria for healthy homes?

Some background reading…

The Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty: Priority 2 – Housing WOF [PDF]

The legislation

Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill

Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill

Nick Smith, “Housing WoF to be Developed and Trialled”

Press

Stuff: Rental Home Warrant of Fitness Coming

Thomas Mead, “Dunedin City Council Eyes Rental WoF” 3 News, 18 July 2013

Websites

New Zealand Green Building Council 

Dunedin City Council: Better Homes

Wider context

The Public Health Association of New Zealand 2 page summary outlining the impact of housing on health [PDF] including an extensive list of references.

Human Rights Commission New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights;  Chapter 13: The right to an adequate standard of living: focus on housing Te tika ki te whai nohoanga oranga: tirohanga ki te tika whai whare.

The UK Context: Together at Home: A New Strategy for Housing

You can download this information as a PDF: WoF Housing Discussion document.

Consultations Unpacked: A Warrant of Fitness for New Zealand Homes

Council of Social Services Dunedin & Dunedin Community Law Centre invite you to join us at 12pm on 3 October to discuss the proposals and assist with formulating possible submissions to Parliament.

The Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill is before the Social Services Committee with a report due on 1 October. TheBill makes provision for a rental Housing Warrant of Fitness scheme aimed initially at social housing providers who meet certain criteria.

We’ve prepared a quick guide to the proposals WoF Housing Discussion document and some pointers to information to help us get a handle on the topic: WoF Housing Discussion document

You can find out more from our Calendar.

Picture of a dilapidated house
Courtesy of NapaneeGal via Flickr.com
%d bloggers like this: