Empowering change - Strategies for capacity building in support coordination

Guest blogger Mary Ingerton, Managing Director at Support Coordination Academy, talks through the capacity building focus of the Support Coordinator role.

A capacity building approach has an empowerment focus, to empower growth in a way that enhances lifelong learning and empowers a person to have influence over their life and actively participate in creating their own future.

This approach focuses on a person’s strengths (what they are good at) and their abilities (the capacity they have to do things).

Capacity building also has a holistic and long-term approach to service delivery. A capacity building approach within the NDIS, includes supporting a participant to build their skills, confidence, and abilities to enhance their independence and quality of life.

Building Networks and Connections

A fundamental requirement for all Support Coordinators, is to continually build their own professional knowledge of supports and services available within their local community. They use this extensive knowledge to offer creative solutions, based on a participant’s unique and individual needs, to link them in with the support they need to live their best lives.

The aim is to support a participant to build a network of supports around them, to enhance their capacity for inclusion and participation in their community, and to have a resilient network they can rely on when their situation changes.

Informal or natural supports are people and connections that are important to a participant. This includes family and friends, the people they see regularly, who they trust and are close to. This also includes the connections they make based on their values and beliefs which influences the decisions they make and how they order their lives, their world view.

Community connections are where people participate, feel included and interact. This could include neighbourhood groups, sporting clubs, interest groups, peer groups, or community events. The aim is to connect individuals to society, to strengthen ties to people within their community, making it a better place for people to live.

Mainstream or other government services are available for everyone to access and meet a need in our society. These include mental health services, health, education, justice, child protection services and adult guardians. These are the services that interface between the NDIS and other government services, each with their own responsibility to provide support to a person based on a defined set of criteria. Find out more information in the NDIS Operational Guidelines – Mainstream and Community Supports.

NDIS funded services include all supports that are sourced with NDIS funding to provide a specific support to a participant, based on their assessed disability related needs.

Identifying and linking in informal, community, mainstream and NDIS funded options, directly relates to the NDIS capacity building focus for the Support Coordinator role.

  • To empower participants to have true “choice and control” over their supports and services.
  • To “realise their full potential” by being “supported to participate in and contribute to social and economic life”, just like any other Australian.

Evidence capacity built

Breaking the idea of building capacity into activities can make the whole concept of reporting on capacity built, more practical for both Support Coordinators and for participants.

  • Taking the time to understand how confident a participant feels, what they find challenging and identifying how you can support them to build capacity.
  • Then supporting a participant to identify and agree on strategies to overcome these challenges to support a participant to do these activities with more independence.

A Support Coordinator needs to evidence how they have supported a participant to build their capacity to manage and implement their NDIS plan and report on progress made towards achieving their life goals.

When preparing a participant for a NDIS review process, a Support Coordinator might gather evidence from a participant by asking them to reflect on what has happened or changed over this period of time. Asking questions like, “What do you think has changed?”, “What do you feel more confident in?”, or “What do you think has improved?”.

Gathering evidence from people close to the participant to document their observations of how things have improved or progressed can also be incredibly valuable.

It is also important to set up expectations with a funded service provider, in a Service Agreements, so they know their reporting requirements upfront. Providing information about how they will support a participant to work towards achieving their goals, the support they will provide, and timeframes of when Reports are required to evidence capacity built.

There’s a lot to learn about the NDIS and Support Coordination. To help you build your skills, Endeavour Foundation has partnered with Support Coordination Academy to offer free online professional learning sessions for Support Coordinators. To register your interest in future webinars, click here.

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