Answering questions about the transfer of Victorian Government services to Aruma (formerly House with No Steps).
Established over 55 years ago, we provide disability services to thousands of people across NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and the ACT. From major metropolitan cities through to regional and remote locations, Aruma delivers a range of flexible and individualised services including more than 350 accommodation and respite services similar to those being transferred.
We are excited to be expanding our services in Victoria, where Aruma is a relative newcomer. Aruma was selected by the Victorian Government for our expertise in delivering services under the NDIS, and our experience in successfully transferring 87 services to Aruma from NSW Government in 2017. Our transfer planning embeds this expertise into our service delivery model.
We currently have offices in Preston area, Ballarat, Bendigo, Carnegie, Swan Hill and Morwell. We are currently looking for bigger premises in the north of Melbourne, around Preston, Coburg, Broadmeadows areas. We hope to have a suitable office chosen before the end of this year.
Similarly, we are researching appropriate office spaces near Shepparton and for one Operations Manager based out of Seymour. With the transfer set to occur in mid-2019, we have time to make sure that any staff and families affected by this change are notified well in advance.
Aruma is an experienced provider under the NDIS. We have been operating under the NDIS since 2013 – and we have skills and expertise in supporting our staff, customers, and families in their NDIS journeys. Prior to transfer, we can provide advice and share our expertise regarding the NDIS in addition to those already working with you such as your key worker, House Supervisor, advocate or NDIS Support Coordinator.
On the whole, the first day after transfer should look and feel like the day before. Residents and respite customers will continue to be supported by the same staff, in the same ways.
Some changes that you might notice in the first few weeks and months include:
The first day after transfer should look and feel like the day before. Our intention is that you will be supported by the same staff, in the same services, in the same ways. Aruma is committed to continuity of services as part of the transfer. Of course, if there are changes you would like to see in the service you receive, we would like to hear about it.
We are not going to make change for change’s sake. Our priority is continuity of service and meeting the needs of our customers. We will take time to get to know residents, families and staff and understand how services are being delivered, and to understand what, if any, changes people would like to see in their service. Any changes that are needed will be implemented with consultation and based on delivering services designed around the people we support.
Under the NDIS you can choose your own support coordinator. We recognise that it is a valuable and important part of giving you choice and control in the services you access.
Our Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Richardson, and Executive Director of Support Services, Rob Watkins, attended each of the DHHS staff forums, from Preston through to Mildura. There were a lot of questions about the transfer, the changes involved, and the impacts on group home residents and respite customers. It was a great opportunity for people to share their local stories, concerns and demonstrate the passion they have for their work.
The sessions were well attended and we were really pleased to have this first introduction to families and staff. We’re looking forward to getting to know everyone more in the lead up to the transfer.
It is important to remember first of all that support workers are transferring with their service. You will continue to receive the same high level of expertise, from the same people, that you do currently.
Aruma is passionate about developing our people and recognise the need for continuous learning. We have a detailed mandatory training schedule for our staff to complete each year, and we offer further learning and development opportunities on subjects including Understanding the NDIS, Active Support, Customer Service, and more.
When we recruit new staff, we are assessing for many different factors such as skills, qualifications and experience. In our experience, what we have found is absolutely fundamental is that there is a values match between the individual and the type of work that we do. We also undertake our due diligence and perform a range of pre-employment checks.
We understand that rosters need to be adaptable to events as they arise. Aruma has been providing Supported Independent Living services and Short Term Accommodation and Assistance services to people with disabilities for more than 55 years: we know first-hand that this kind of flexibility is essential for residents and staff alike. Rosters should always be built around the needs of the people they support, and this includes having the flexibility to adapt to any changes in the needs of our customers.
Aruma values the relationships between staff and clients. Our priority is having permanent full-time, permanent part-time and casual workers who can build relationships with one another over time. Our least preferred option (and last resort) is to use agency staff to fill shifts when necessary.
Yes. The staff in your group home are transferring with you, and will continue to work with you after the transfer is completed in mid-2019. We have no intention to make changes to this arrangement. In fact, we think key workers will be valuable to us and to you with any administrative items that arise as part of the transfer.
Yes. Current processes for this will remain unless advised otherwise.
Yes, this is a requirement under the Disability Act 2006. Details of this agreement will be discussed prior to the transfer.
Supported Independent Living funding is based on the individual supports of each resident, supported by documented evidence and the roster of support. Each individual’s supports relate to the support/s required in a 24-hour period over a seven-day roster.
Supported Independent Living (SIL) funding is part of NDIS funding for group home residents who have, or will have, an NDIS Plan. Funding determinations are made by the NDIA, and are evidence based. As part of this process, Aruma will be engaging with participants, their families and staff to prepare SIL quotes for the NDIA to approve. If you have a letter or document from your doctor or specialist that states what is needed and why, this will be an important part of the supporting evidence provided to the NDIA.
Yes, as we are meeting people at house visits we are very pleased to hear all about the broad range of activities that are undertaken and enjoyed by residents. We have no plans to change any of this.
If you have a complaint or concern about your current service – please don’t wait until transfer to tell someone. Services remain with Government until mid-2019. You need to follow your existing complaints and feedback process until the transfer is complete.
Of course, if there is something you’d like to tell us about now, we’d be happy to hear it. While continuity of service is a priority, we also believe the transfer is an opportunity for positive improvement. You can call our customer hotline during business hours 1800 931 934 or email email@example.com to speak with one of our helpful staff.
Yes. We have experience with assisting some existing Aruma customers to move to a new house so that they can be closer to family or loved ones. This type of change can happen depending on what vacancies are available, resident compatibility and mutual interests, etc…as we want to make sure it works for everyone involved.
The number of respite days that you can use will depend on your NDIS plan, which should be designed to match each participant’s individual goals. We can work with you to make sure that you receive sufficient supports in your plan.
Until transfer occurs in mid-2019, the respite booking process will remain the same as it is now, and we will honour the bookings that carry over after transfer. You will get more information about the Aruma respite booking process closer to the transfer.
Yes, all bookings will be honoured.
Aruma will work with DHHS as the SDA owner in the majority of cases to manage any vacancies. The vacancy management process always gives consideration to household compatibility and ‘fit’, and we support staff to employ a range of strategies to bring new residents into a house, including by gradually introducing a person, starting with day visits and overnight stays to gauge how well it works for them and the rest of the household before finalising their placement.
In most cases, Aruma collects payments via direct debit. In the lead up to the transfer in mid-2019, you will get more information from Government and Aruma about the components that make up board and lodging, as well as any paperwork you need to complete to support the change process. While board and lodging payments will likely be split between Aruma and Government, the main thing to know is no residents will be financially worse off.
Your family member will continue to be supported to manage personal spending money by the workers in their home, as they currently are. We value the knowledge of your local team and want this relationship to continue.
Just as now, board and lodging excludes (does not cover) the cost of personal items such as clothing, toiletries, restaurant meals, pay TV, holidays, or excursions. For some people, the cost of some community activities and excursions may form part of their NDIS funding— in these instances, you can draw down on NDIS plan funding for the activity, but otherwise, excursions are considered a personal expense.
Aruma is liaising with Australian Unity to finalise arrangements post transfer. With the transfer set to occur in mid-2019, we have plenty of time to make sure that we tell you in advance what our replacement will be, including if it will continue to be a service offered through Australian Unity.
We understand that rosters need to be adaptable to events as they arise, including contingency for when people are sick. Aruma has been providing accommodation and respite services to people with disabilities for more than 55 years: we know first-hand that this kind of flexibility is essential for residents and families.
Yes, we support staff to include residents in household decision-making, and we seek feedback from residents and families in how their house is run—and how we might improve our services.
Throughout the transfer process, we will be providing information for families through Government, direct communication and on our website. There will also be face-to-face opportunities to connect. Right now, we rely on Government to coordinate written communication and face-to-face events for participants and families. That will change after transfer.
Families can also call our customer hotline during business hours 1800 931 934 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with one of our helpful staff.
As one of Australia’s leading and proven disability service providers, we are dedicated to giving people with disability greater choice, control, and freedom. Aruma Practice Leaders are embedded in our service delivery model, coaching and guiding staff in best practice.
From the point of transfer, the Victorian Government will be holding Aruma accountable to a performance and monitoring regime that sets high standards for service delivery and has penalties for non-compliance. We are already working to make sure we will meet the standards set.
Lastly, our services are regularly assessed and monitored, just as Government’s are. The quality and safety of all Aruma services are audited independently. We welcome visits and reports from Community Visitors. We work cooperatively with the Disability Services Commissioner. We seek regular independent feedback from our customers, families and workforce.
Despite all our experience and the measures that will be in place to ensure quality services will be delivered, we understand that some people will still want to reserve judgement until the transfer becomes a reality for them, and that’s okay too.
You can contact Aruma directly with questions or feedback by calling our customer hotline 1800 931 934 during business hours or by emailing email@example.com.
Yes. Everything we do is focused on individual needs. We’re looking forward to learning what’s important to transferring residents and respite customers and how we can best support you.
Aruma is committed to meeting each participant’s health and wellbeing requirements through a holistic and individual approach to planning and risk management. This approach is the foundation of our ability to provide high-quality complex services and supports, and ensures we have the right team in place to meet participant needs.
Supporting people with complex needs is a core part of what we do, and we do it well. More than 68% of the people for whom we provide services in supported accommodation have moderate or high support needs across a diverse spectrum, including complex medical and health concerns, dual diagnosis supported by psychotropic interventions and behaviours of concern that can place the person, co-residents, staff and community members at risk of serious injury.
For the transfer, we are already working behind the scenes to ensure that people with complex needs will have the right supports in place for a smooth and safe transfer to Aruma from day one.
Aruma expects that staff will continue to follow health, dietary and nutritional practice that aligns with the DHHS Residential Services Practice Manual and guidance. Your current workers are transferring with you, along with individual care plans and nutrition planning. This will continue to be managed in your home with your support team.
We are happy to work in with advocates and believe that it is good for people to have the support of independent decision makers. We encourage and support residents to access advocates be it for ongoing supports or for specific situations that may arise.
People over 65 will continue to receive support, funded by the Commonwealth Continuity of Support (CoS) Programme. CoS is there to ensure people who are not eligible for the NDIS have ongoing support. This includes people over 65, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50.
Systems to ensure the delivery of safe and quality services include but are not limited to the training and induction being provided to staff ahead of the transfer, incident management and reporting systems, contingency planning and reference materials for all services, internal and independent safety and quality audits, a strong policy framework, and lots of opportunities for staff, customers and families to provide feedback or make a complaint – including through our independent whistle-blower service, YourCall.
Our services are regularly assessed and monitored, just as Government’s are. The quality and safety of all Aruma services are audited independently. We welcome visits and reports from Community Visitors. We work cooperatively with the Disability Services Commissioner. We seek regular independent feedback from our customers, families and workforce.
We have Rights, Quality and Risk specialists who oversee our policies and practice, and are already working to plan for the safe delivery of quality services from the moment you join Aruma. This team is responsible for monitoring practice and making sure that all our services have effective risk and complaints management.
Operations Managers will be transferring to Aruma, too. We expect that they will have the most regular exposure to houses; and that safety and quality are their priority. They will continue to have operational oversight of services and direct line management of House Supervisors just as they do now. Your Aruma Area Manager and Regional General Manager, will also take responsibility for ensuring that quality services are being delivered.
If you have a complaint or concern about your current service – please don’t wait until transfer. Services remain with Government until mid-2019. You need to follow your existing complaints and feedback process.
Of course, if there is something you’d like to tell us about now, we’d be happy to hear it. While continuity of service is a priority, we also believe the transfer is an opportunity for positive improvement. You can call our customer hotline during business hours on 1800 931 934 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with one of our helpful staff.
Of course, we want to hear your feedback or concerns, including if you have concerns about staff. While continuity of service is a priority, we also believe the transfer is an opportunity for positive improvement.
If you do have a complaint or concern about your current service – please don’t wait until transfer, as services remain with Government until mid-2019. Please follow your existing complaints and feedback process until then.
We (Aruma) will be responsible.
Aruma manages investigations in line with the DHHS client incident management system requirements.
Your service after transfer should look and feel like the day before. Your Disability Support Workers, House Supervisor and Operations Manager are transferring with you. This means critical relationships with other services will be maintained.
Yes: although it might not look exactly the same; e.g. some services may have new replacement vehicles. As part of the transfer we have made a commitment to provide residents with access to the same level of transport as they have now. We are currently assessing information from government on what’s being provided now to ensure that our planning is accurate.
We have just received information from government about the transport arrangements in each transferring home. Aruma has made a commitment to provide residents with access to the same level of transport as they have now. We are currently assessing the information from government on what’s being provided now to ensure that our planning is accurate.
While these cars don’t transfer with the services, the information we have from government on current transport arrangements includes information about arrangements like this, so that we can plan to ensure you will still have access to the same level of transport after the transfer occurs.
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