Disability Inclusion Action Plan
- Written by Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Council has consulted extensively with a wide range of people with disability, their families and other stakeholder groups to identify ways we can increase access and participation by people with disability in community life. Our priorities for action for work to be done over the next 4 years have been incorporated into Council’s Delivery Program 2017-21. This means access and inclusion are part of our day-to-day business, and we can monitor and report effectively on our progress.
The community consultation process identified priorities, then we held workshops with Council staff from various services to develop actions to help address the issues. We have grouped these priority actions under focus areas and each Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) priority in the Delivery Program is a specific action that addresses issues raised through the consultation process. Each priority is one part of a broader outcome and strategy which Council is working to achieve in the 4 year period.
Our role of in promoting inclusion is as a:
- community leader, seeking to influence other local organisations
- facilitator and educator, by working in partnership with other organisations, and
- provider of services to the community, having a direct influence and demonstrating inclusive practices in all we do.
An essential element of the disability inclusion action planning process is the community consultation and engagement. Council consulted with a wide range of people with disability and community stakeholders to inform Council’s disability inclusion action priorities. The Disability Inclusion Action Planning 2017-21 Community Consultation Summary outlines the scope and methodology of Council’s community consultations as well as the discussion themes and key outcomes.
Background and context
The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW) requires councils to undertake Disability Inclusion Action Planning (DIAP), with strategies and actions in place from 1 July 2017. Our Council’s first Disability Action Plan 2003-06 and the Penrith Inclusion Plan – People with Disability 2009-13 helped make our City more accessible and inclusive. Having reviewed the previous plan in 2014, after the release of new NSW Disability Inclusion Action Planning guidelines in 2015 we started a new community consultation and planning process in 2016. The priority actions identified through the consultation process build on the work already undertaken over many years by Council with local residents and community partners.
In recent years there have been important changes to Australian and State government policy related to people with disability. The core of these is widespread acknowledgement that people with disability have the right to full and effective participation in all aspects of community life. The context for Disability Inclusion Action Planning in NSW is embedded in conventions, laws, schemes, policies, procedures, and guidelines at International, Commonwealth, State, and local jurisdictions.
There are approximately 36000 residents, living with a disability in our City, including over 11000 with a profound or severe disability who need assistance with daily activities.
Penrith’s growing ageing population will also experience the challenges associated with increasing frailty, including mobility, hearing loss and vision impairment.
Council strives to be a Local Government leader with regard to access and inclusion enabling people with a disability to engage and participate in community places, programs and events.
Council’s first Disability Action Plan (2003-2006) and the Penrith Inclusion Plan – People with Disability 2009-2013 Have delivered significant progress in making our City more accessible and inclusive.
Relevant policies, plans, and development applications are referred to the Committee for review and comment.
There is always more to do and for Council access and inclusion are priority considerations across all Council’s services and activities.
Under the NSW Disability Inclusion Regulation 2014, Councils are required to complete Disability Inclusion Action Planning (DIAP) by 1 July 2017.
The NSW DIAP Guidelines for Local Government (November 2015) encourage Councils to integrate Disability Inclusion Action Planning within the overall community strategic planning process and the 2017-21 Delivery Program.
Having disability inclusion priorities within the Delivery Program embeds inclusion into Council’s day to day work, and enables effective monitoring of our progress in delivering the priority actions.
The community consultation builds on Penrith Council’s extensive engagement over many years with people with disability, their families, carers, advocates and service providers.
The guidelines also highlight the importance of community consultation and the engagement of people with disability in the DIAP process.
Between March and August 2016, more than 120 people with disability, their family members, carers, advocates and staff working in the local disability sector contributed to the consultation process.
Council organised two public community forums in Penrith and St Marys, organised 12 focus groups and meeting with people with a disability, service providers and hosted a “Have Your Say” website, as well as receiving consultation submissions in alternate formats.
The full list of issues and outcomes from the community consultations and more details about the process are available on Council’s website.
In response to the community consultation, Council officers developed 17 priority actions. These have been grouped below into the four key focus areas identified in the DIAP Guidelines for Local Government.
Focus Area: Developing positive community attitudes and behaviours
- Promote diversity and inclusion through media stories and positive Council imagery.
- Develop and implement creative projects that are inclusive of people with disability.
- Provide training to staff in quality service and responding to individual customer needs.
Focus Area: Creating liveable communities.
- Facilities accessible and adaptable housing in future housing and development strategies.
- Review accessibility elements within Council’s Development Control Plan.
- Implement the adopted programme for the roll out bus shelters that are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.
- Ensure the adopted PATHS strategy is implemented (subject to funding).
- Finalise and implement the Pedestrian Accessibility Mobility Plan
- Improve accessibility to the river at Tench Reserve.
- Identify opportunities in Council’s Sport, Recreation, Open Space, and Play Strategy for provision of access and participation that is inclusive and accessible.
- Accessibility infrastructure improvements are incorporated into asset management plans.
Focus Area: Improving access to services through better systems and processes
- Ensure that the community is aware of Council’s Access Committee.
- Review the accessibility of Council’s front counter.
- Improve the accessibility of Council’s website.
- Provide training about accessible documents and access to information across relevant Council services.
Focus Area: Supporting access to meaningful employment
- Undertake projects that support local business to increase employment of people with disabilities.
- Council’s “Equal Employment Opportunity” management plan includes an objective to increase the number of people employed by Council with disability.
Actions within Council’s Delivery Program and annual Operation Plan are funded and we report publicly on our progress with their implementation every three months. We use performance measures to track our success in achieving what we set out to do.
A copy of Council’s Delivery Program 2017 – 2021 has been submitted to the Disability Council of NSW. Council reports on progress towards the achievement of the disability inclusion priority actions in our Annual Report, and both FACS and the Minister for Disability Services are provided with the relevant section of the Annual Report.
Council officers will also report to Council’s Access Committee on achievements and progress against the plan each year.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities protects the rights of all people with a disability around the world. Australia was one of the first countries to sign the Convention when it was ratified in 2008. The Convention acknowledges that people with disability have the same human rights as those without disability. This commits signatory governments to ensure these rights can be exercised and that barriers to inclusion and participation are removed. It supports the social model of disability and recognises that attitudes, practices and structures are disabling and can create barriers to people with disability from enjoying economic participation, social inclusion and equality which are not an inevitable outcome of their disability.
The Convention is guided by the following principles:
- respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices and independence of persons
- full and effective participation and inclusion in society
- respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
- equality of opportunity
- equality between men and women
- respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
National Disability Strategy 2010-2020
The National Disability Strategy 2010 - 2020, developed in partnership by the Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments, sets out a national plan for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers, and to support the commitment made by Australia when it signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The NDIS, expected to be fully implemented in Australia by 2019, is a major reform to deliver a national system of disability support focused on the individual needs and choices of people with disability. It gives participants more choice and control over how, when and where supports are provided.
Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW)
The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW)acknowledges human rights and promotes the independence and social and economic inclusion of people with disability. The Act requires NSW government departments, local councils and some other public authorities to develop and implement a Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The aims and objectives of the Act align with the National Disability Strategy, and the NSW Disability Inclusion Plan guidelines.
Local government disability inclusion action plans can be integrated into other Council planning structures. They must be consistent with the State Disability Inclusion Plan guidelines and include priority actions to increase access and participation by people with disability in community life. In November 2015 Local Government NSW and the NSW Government issued guidelines to assist Councils in preparing their Inclusion Action Plans. Find out more at the Local Government NSW website.
- January – February 2016: project planning
- March – September 2016: community consultation process
- October – November 2016: provide feedback on community consultation outcomes to other Council services and develop actions that could respond to issues raised
- December 2016 – January 2017: work with Council service to refine and prioritise actions
- February 2017 – April 2017: drafting of the Plan and integration of actions into Council’s service planning and implementation for the next four years
- May 2017: public exhibition of draft Disability Inclusion Action Plan
- June 2017: Council endorsed final Plan
- July 2017 – June 2021: implementation of the Plan
- August 2017 - official launch of Plan
Disability inclusion focus areas
The Guidelines recommend 4 focus areas and we have used these as our framework:
- Positive community attitudes and behaviours
The attitudes and behaviours of the general community towards people with disability can sometimes be the greatest barrier to full access and inclusion. Attitudes towards people with disability are often determined by ignorance, fear, or lack of opportunity to interact.
- Creating liveable communities
- Supporting access to employment
Employment rates for people with disability are significantly lower than those without disability across all sectors. People with disability experience multiple barriers at all stages of the employment process, and are thus disadvantaged. Meaningful employment contributes to economic security, independence, social interaction, improved mental health, and other life opportunities. Council’s role in this focus area is both as a large local employer, but also as an organisation that can provide leadership and be a role model for other employers and businesses to employ people with disability.
- Improving access to services through better systems and processes
Some people with disability experience difficulty in navigating systems to access the services and supports they need in the community. These difficulties may relate to accessing information, lack of accessible options for communication, or documentation processes. At times these difficulties may stem from the quality of service and training of front line personnel, or the inflexibility of the practices and procedures that don’t adapt to meet the requirements of customers with specific needs.
Monitoring and evaluation
Actions within Council’s Delivery Program and annual Operational Plans are funded and implementation is reported on every 3 months - see Organisational Performance. We use performance measures to track our success in achieving what we set out to do.
A copy of Council’s Delivery Program 2017 – 2021 has been submitted to the Disability Council of NSW. Council reports on progress towards the achievement of the disability inclusion priority actions in our Annual Report, and both FACS and the Minister for Disability Services are provided with therelevant section of the Annual Report.
Council officers will also report to Council’s Access Committee on achievements and progress against the plan each year.
Council officers also convene a monthly aged care and disability sector interagency meeting, the Penrith Community Care Forum. This forum also provides a mechanism for Council officers to be aware of current and emerging issues and concerns in the local disability service sector.