As the final task force report is made public today, the Government has accepted all recommendations.
Co-chaired by Dr David Caudrey and Kelly Vincent, the taskforce outlined 14 key safeguarding gaps and seven associated recommendations to the State Government – and all have been actioned or completed.
The taskforce looked specifically at how safeguarding and oversight can be improved for people living with disability in South Australia under the Federal system. New State Government actions from seven task force recommendations include:
The State Government will bring forward the expansion of the Adult Safeguarding Unit so that its scope includes vulnerable adults of any age, to October 1, 2020, from 2022. ACTIONED
The State Government will provide an additional $1.8 million to continue the work of the Disability Advocate and to support individual disability advocacy in SA. ACTIONED
The Department for Human Services has developed and signed new information-sharing guidelines with the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission. COMPLETED
The State Government urgently pushed the Federal Government for safeguarding gaps to be actioned, and the final report will be communicated immediately. ACTIONED
The State Government remains committed to maintaining the Community Visitor Scheme in SA and will progress how it can work alongside the NDIS given the legal limitations. ACTIONED
The State Government acknowledges that primary health is a Commonwealth Government responsibility and will work with them to ensure regular health checks for vulnerable NDIS participants are considered. ACTIONED
The Department for Human Services is supporting all state authorities to develop and publish their Disability Access and Inclusion Plan by October 31 – and this will include State Government initiatives. ACTIONED
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink welcomed the final task force report. “The Marshall Liberal Government thanks the independent safeguarding taskforce for their hard work and dedication to deliver their final report so we can begin to close gaps for people living with a disability,” said Minister Lensink.
“Following their recommendations, the State Government has done everything in its power to swiftly start actioning those which fall under our responsibility.
“New Marshall Liberal Government actions include bringing forward the extension of the Adult Safeguarding Unit to expand its services to respond to reports of abuse or neglect in relation to adults living with a disability, regardless of age, by October 2020.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is also committing $1.8 million in new funding towards individual disability advocacy to assist people with disabilities to navigate the system – a gap that was highlighted specifically by the taskforce.
“Individual disability advocacy has not been funded by the state since 2007 when the former Labor Government defunded it as a cost-saving measure.”
On the future role of the CVS in South Australia, the safeguarding taskforce acknowledged the CVS was a “complex matter that should not be rushed”.
Their final taskforce report states:
Coercive powers to enter private homes is also a significant human rights issue. If such powers for a visitation scheme was to be seriously considered, people with disabilities should first be consulted.
Minister Lensink said the State Government was supportive of a CVS scheme – and would now progress how it can work alongside the NDIS given the legal limitations.
Minister Lensink said the State Government would continue to work with the Commonwealth to close safeguarding gaps to ensure the ongoing safety of people living with disability.
“I have spoken and written to the NDIS Minister Stuart Robert to push for urgent changes to be actioned immediately by the Federal Government, given the majority of the safeguarding gaps fall within the Commonwealth’s responsibility.
“The interim taskforce report was provided to all state disability Ministers and discussed at a recent Disability Reform Council meeting to ensure we are all working towards the common goal of improving safeguarding gaps for people living with a disability.
“We are pleased that new information-sharing guidelines with the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission have been signed.
“At the end of the day, we want to ensure that people living with disability are safe, supported and have access to the best care possible.
“The tragic case of Ann Marie Smith shocked everyone and there’s no doubt she deserved much better.
“Ann Marie Smith was let down over a number of years by a serious of system failures and we are determined to correct them.”
Additional community feedback on the final report is welcome via emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org