CLO Case Study

Our CEO Mel Kubisa and Community Living Options were the South Australian Service Provider featured for a case study in the 2017 State of the Disability Sector Report. Here is the excerpt:

Tell us a bit about Community Living Options and your NDIS journey so far.
Community Living Options is a family-centred, grassroots organisation, started in 1982 by a group of parents. The organisation grew by focusing on accommodation support from a human rights perspective, with an independent living skills model. We’re very outcomes-driven in our models. Over the past 10 years, a lot of our growth has been in complex, high-level forensic disability and dual disability. We work with people who are in and out of the prison system and hospital system.

How is the transition to the NDIS affecting the operation of CLO?
What we’ve been doing for the past three years is gearing up, but we haven’t transitioned any of our 24-hour houses under the SIL [Supported Independent Living] model yet. We’ve had some growth in new services, so that’s testing our business processes and our set-up. We’ve implemented a Service Development Coordinator role to take on referrals and work with participants. The Coordinator holds information sessions for parents on all the steps of the NDIS and supports them through what’s going to happen next in the transition. We developed a goalsetting process to track progress.

“Over the past 10 years, a lot of our growth has been in complex, high-level forensic disability and dual disability. We work with people who are in and out of the prison system and hospital system.”


How do you anticipate the transition to be? Any specific concerns?

We’ve done a lot of work in readiness around cash flow. I have concerns for smaller organisations and their financial sustainability if they haven’t got the operating cash flow to sustain the transition. I don’t want small providers to move out of this space, because that’s what choice and control is – having more organisations to choose from. I think there’s enough market share in the NDIS for us all to have a place. Even so, I worry. CLO has already noticed expense increases in getting ready for the NDIS – adding a role to support people through the process; increased training; IT. Other than those increased expenses, I believe the NDIS is going to affect the reliability of long-term business planning.

How do you think the NDIS transition experience will affect your service users?
What I’m hoping is that they do get a lot more choice and control and that we can help them navigate what is seemingly a scary world for them right now. What I hope is that people get at least what they’re getting now, to transition them smoothly and safely into the new world.
It’s navigating all the complexities to have a truly person-centred delivery model. We’re trying to help their transition to be as smooth as possible so it doesn’t seem so fragmented and so they can get a whole package.

“What I’m hoping is that they do get a lot more choice and control and that we can help them navigate what is seemingly a scary world for them right now.”

Looking ahead, what opportunities can you see for CLO under the NDIS?
I want to stay focused on what we do and what we do well, which is fill the gap in service delivery where mental health and disability services don’t quite meet for people with exceptional and complex needs.
I want to watch how we can set up 24-hour environments in housing, because it’s a very complex space. And I want to continue to grow as a provider of choice for people with complex needs. The NDIS world is a new territory, so everyone’s a little bit confused about how it’ll look. But we’re certainly going to forge ahead!