Community Living British Columbia's chief executive officer Rick Mowles has rolled out significant changes to the way the provincial government authority delivers its services. Under the previous model, which was put into place in 2005, work that had been done by social workers was split between so-called "facilitators" and "quality service analysts." Facilitators became responsible for developing support plans for the developmentally disabled, while analysts were charged with approving those plans. But, according to special needs advocate Dawn Steele, an operational changes memo obtained exclusively by Public Eye appears to abandon aspects of that model.
"These changes restore many elements of the traditional one-stop shop social worker role. So, in many respects, they're throwing out a lot of what has been built over six years - which is based on this premise of two separate command structures - and going back to square one. What a waste!"
That being said, though, Ms. Steele said the changes "do acknowledge the serious complaints that I and others have been consistently hearing and conveying since CLBC's inception, so kudos to CLBC for finally hearing and acting." Specifically, Ms. Steel explained the separation of authority between facilitators and analysts resulted in a "strictly divided silo bureaucracies of planners" that became a source of "petty, unnecessary frustrations."
But, even though some of those frustrations may be relieved, she says, "The bizarre part is that the role of front line staff will apparently now focus more than ever on redirecting the people who come to CLBC for help to go find it somewhere else. It's bizarre that the agency responsible will now more than ever be set up to send people away to find community living supports somewhere else."
Community Living British Columbia, though, disputes Ms. Steele's statements. Responding to a request for comment placed last week, authority external relations advisor Lisa Gardonio writes, "We are modifying some operational practices at Community Living BC to better streamline and enhance our services for the individuals and families we support. These changes will provide staff with more time to focus on building the infrastructure necessary to fully implement our service delivery model."
Continued Ms. Gardonio, "We have always said we will listen to what works best for individuals and families and we are doing just that. These changes reflect input and feedback from both our staff and the individuals we serve." The following is a complete copy of the aformentioned memo.
Focus on Individuals and Families - Operational Changes
Further to CLBC's ongoing commitment to continual improvement and in response to feedback from individuals, families and CLBC staff, CLBC is modifying some operational practices to better streamline and enhance our services.
CLBC's commitment to develop support plans is having a number of unintended consequences:
* Individuals and families increasingly link plans with funding and resource allocation
* Individuals and families are routinely waitlisted to have a plan developed
* People with completed plans are often waitlisted for services or offered existing programs
* Time spent on plans that are not implemented pre-empts time for community development
* Plans submitted by individuals, families and providers take analysts significant time to review and assess
* Individuals and families are increasingly requesting continuity with contacts at CLBC for family support, information and self advocacy issues prior to plan development
This situation negatively impacts CLBC's staff time and financial resources. The service system remains crisis driven and individuals, families and staff are becoming increasingly frustrated.
CLBC will take these actions to support the move to a more proactive person-centred system:
* Individuals and families will;
* Have the name of a facilitator to call for information and advice
* Be advised of funding availability prior to any discussions about participating in a person-centred planning process to access supports and services
* Be offered support to help gain access to generic and informal community supports, without developing a plan
* Receive the support they require from facilitators to resolve their concerns and increase their capacity for the future
Facilitator time will be prioritized to provide family support and for plan development where CLBC can implement the funding request in the plan. Funding priorities will be determined between Managers and Community Councils at the local level.
* Some services such as day programs, supported employment, respite, and life-skills training may require less detailed planning. Local Managers to determine the requirements.
* Whenever possible, analysts will use the Guide to Support Allocation and the new negotiating instructions when designating new funding or when reviewing existing contracts
* Confirmation of eligibility will become the responsibility of facilitators
By streamlining the planning process, and better organizing responses to individuals and families;
* Facilitators can dedicate time to:
* Expand capacity of generic and other unfunded community supports
* Work with individuals and families to explore how generic and informal supports can meet their needs where they are waitlisted for formal services and/or planning
* Explore partnerships and cost-sharing arrangements with school boards and Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance (MEIA) who share a mandate around planning and/or provision of supports
* Provide ongoing assistance to individuals and families who require additional support
* Analysts can dedicate time to reviewing how contracted funds are expended and un-bundling existing funding for individual support plans and individualized funding.