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1 Learnings from the Intellectual Disability Review Panel 10 th Annual AIJA Tribunals Conference Lynne Coulson Barr, President, Intellectual Disability.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Learnings from the Intellectual Disability Review Panel 10 th Annual AIJA Tribunals Conference Lynne Coulson Barr, President, Intellectual Disability."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Learnings from the Intellectual Disability Review Panel 10 th Annual AIJA Tribunals Conference Lynne Coulson Barr, President, Intellectual Disability Review Panel, Victoria Involving People with Intellectual Disabilities in Tribunal Proceedings:

2 2 Outline Background- the Panel & broader context General challenges Three approaches to involvement:  Individual applications for hearings,  Hearings for a group of residents relocating from Redlands,  Reviews of residents relocating Kew Residential Services Summing up - key learnings

3 3 Background: Intellectual Disability Review Panel An independent statutory authority- established under the Intellectually Disabled Persons’ Services Act 1986 (IDPS Act) Reviews certain decisions of the Department of Human Services Reviewable decisions include decisions about eligibility, a person’s General Service Plan, use of restraint or seclusion & admissions to institutions Unique ‘service brokerage’ role

4 4 Background: Intellectual Disability Review Panel Provides advice in response to referral from Secretary or Minister, such as: Review of relocation plans for residents of Redlands & Kew Residential Services Recommendatory powers Bound by principles of IDPS Act  Advance dignity, worth, human rights and full potential  Right to exercise maximum control over every aspect of his or her life Right to individualised developmental opportunities

5 5 Background: Intellectual Disability Review Panel New disability legislation Disability Act 2006- to be proclaimed 1 July 2007 Panel will cease to exist 30 Sept 2007 New review and complaint mechanisms under new Act- VCAT and Disability Service Commissioner Learnings from Panel’s experience will be relevant to other jurisdictions

6 6 Background- Broader Context Imperatives for Tribunals for effective involvement of people with intellectual disabilities in proceedings : Requirements of natural justice/procedural fairness Therapeutic jurisprudence Movement to psychologically optimal way of handling legal matters Fair, just processes- balance with ‘quick’ and ‘efficient’

7 7 Background- Broader Context Disability and Human Rights Imperatives: “ Not about us without us”- Disability rights and self advocacy movement United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities- Onus to:  develop and carry out policies and administrative measures for securing the rights ( Article 4)  identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility ( Article 9)  promote awareness of the capabilities of persons with disabilities (Article 8).

8 8 Background- Broader Context Disability and Human Rights (cont): Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities - July 2006. Right to recognition and equality as a person before the law (section 8) Right to a fair hearing (section 24)- includes right to fair proceedings by competent tribunal What do these rights mean for people with intellectual disabilities?

9 9 General challenges Involvement & views of people with intellectual disabilities Nature of intellectual disability  Cognitive impairments  Complex communication needs Establishing effective communication Receptive vs. expressive language Identifying communication needs and methods Availability of assessments

10 10 Example of communication tools

11 11 General challenges Involvement & views of people with intellectual disabilities For many applications- reliant on information from others Gaining the perspective of the person with intellectual disability- what is important to person Weighing up views of others – family, advocates, service providers Often absence of independent advocates Absence, for some, of anyone who knows the person well

12 12 Approach 1: Individual Applications for Review Panel Processes  Hearing with three member Panel- Psychologist, Community, Department sessional members  Hearings must be attended by person affected and Dept reps  Family, advocates, direct care workers, legal reps etc also attend  Natural justice, not bound by technicalities

13 13 Approach 1: Individual Applications for Review Pre hearing Process  Pre hearing process is critical- need time  Consistent person (Executive Officer) to respond to queries/provide information  Important to ascertain needs/participation of person affected  Prepare person affected and advocates/family members/Dept members for their roles

14 14 Approach 1: Individual Applications for Review Pre hearing Process Needs of person with intellectual disability considered in making hearing arrangements- e.g.  communication ability  familiar carers/family/advocate  attention span  factors that may cause distress  food/drink  health issues

15 15 Approach 1: Individual Applications for Review Pre hearing Process (cont)  Determine appropriate venue- range of venues  Need for space, familiarity, distractions, ability to travel  Options- tribunal rooms, residential facilities, day programs, community centres  Level of informality/formality  Prepare person for hearing-booklet

16 16 Hearing preparation booklet

17 17 Hearing preparation booklet

18 18 Hearing preparation booklet

19 19 Hearing preparation booklet

20 20 Approach 1: Individual Applications for review Hearing Process: Panel usually meets person before hearing- ‘voir dire’ meeting with person- with or without support person  introduce Panel and environment  explain hearing processes and Panel’s role  check comfort re persons present  check understanding of hearing  ascertain specific communication needs  ascertain need for independent representative  explore ways for them to communicate need for breaks in hearing etc

21 21 Approach 1: Individual Applications for review Hearing Process: Focus on person as centre of process:  Seating  Explaining documents  Use of language  Checking understanding  Validating concerns and views  Need for breaks and movement

22 22 Approach 1: Individual Applications for review Learnings: Pre-hearing process and contact person is critical Need for time to ascertain needs/prepare person for hearing Benefits of multi member Panel with range of expertise and experience Need for flexibility in hearings-timing and venue allowing breaks- person to come and go Adjournments to obtain further information/ visit person in his/her environment

23 23 Approach 1: Individual Applications for review Learnings:Constraints Having the communication tools to maximise person’s participation Time constraints to hear and determine matter Response of other parties Numbers of people present

24 24 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Background Closure of “congregate care service” for 28 residents- ‘intentional community’ created by families, residents grown up together on isolated site Ministerial referral for advice  Advice re accommodation model  Review individual General Service Plans Research study examined process of 25 hearings by Dr Christine Bigby & Sue Tait (former President)

25 25 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Pre Hearing Process Assess ways to maximise resident participation. President met with each resident at Redlands Visit by Panel members to Redlands Development of communication tools  Photo book – Panel premises and personnel - prior to hearing  “Redlands Storybook”- types of housing- leisure activities  Photo collection + Storyboard – resident photos & activities.

26 26 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Hearing Process Panel received General Service Plan, Assessment of needs, consultants report Hearings attended by resident, family, direct care worker, case manager, senior DHS and agency managers Where feasible resident spoke first using story book and story board Effective or partial communication with 18 residents out of 28 /no effective communication with remaining residents Others invited to “put selves in shoes of resident”

27 27 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Redlands ‘Story book’

28 28 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Redlands ‘Story book’

29 29 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Redlands ‘Story board’

30 30 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Outcomes Recommended changes to each resident’s GSP-focus on individuals Identified significant unmet needs Rejected submissions by some family members for ‘cluster village’ model Recommended significant changes to resident groupings Range of different housing models to meet individual needs

31 31 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Learnings- Results from Research Study Conflicting views on hearings  Panel members and managers – opportunity to refocus attention on residents Presence of resident  supported by case managers, Panel members, direct care workers  contested by family- 64% Concerns about number of people, unfamiliar settings etc

32 32 Approach 2: Redlands Reviews Learnings- Results from Research Study Process not tailored to each individual Mixed views on communication tools Views of Panel members  More time to get to know the resident  Appointment of independent advocate Importance of in depth knowledge and detailed assessment of needs reports Potential for greater investigative role Query whether formal hearings appropriate medium

33 33 Approach 3: Kew Residential Services Background Government decision to close largest institution Large scale service redevelopment-455 residents to move to community houses Referral by Secretary to develop Protocol for provision of advice on relocation plans for all residents Decided on ‘investigative’ process Reviews commenced July 2003- will complete in July 2007

34 34 Approach 3: Kew Residential Services Process Review conducted by ‘investigative’ process and series of meetings/visits by two Panel members per house grouping Panel reviews documentation, meets with case managers, residents, visit house, speak with family etc Assessment of Needs reports Communication assessments, ‘About me’ books to assist Meetings with residents in own environment, new house, venues of choice.

35 35 Approach 3: Kew Residential Services Outcomes Recommendations made across all areas of GSPs eg Living Situation, Health, Vocation, Advocacy, Family Support Quality improvement effect on GSPs Department regards role as value-added for residents and quality of planning

36 36 Approach 3: Kew Residential Services Learnings: Investigative Process Process allows for involvement of resident on range of levels Time to piece together information from range of sources/weigh up conflicting views Detailed ‘Assessment of Needs’ reports and in depth knowledge of person a key to the process Less control of processes compared to hearings Importance of a collaborative approach and understanding of role of review

37 37 Summing up Key learnings for involving people with intellectual disabilities Pre hearing processes and resources can be as critical as the hearing Need time and flexibility to accommodate needs and abilities of affected person Focus on communication needs Role for investigative processes outside formal hearing processes Room for a hybrid model of a hearing with an investigative process?

38 38 For more information Intellectual Disability Review Panel 30/570 Bourke St Melbourne 3000 Ph: 03 8601 5244 Fax: 03 8601 5288 Toll Free: 1800 641 038 Email: idrp@dhs.vic.gov.auidrp@dhs.vic.gov.au Website: www.idrp.vic.gov.auwww.idrp.vic.gov.au _________________________________ Article on Redland’s Review: Bigby, C. & Tait, S (2004) Evaluation of the independent review of a major life decision affecting people who have an intellectual disability. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 11, 2, 202-213


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