Letter from IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones
It has been obvious to us all that the disability support sector is under immense pressure. We are all working hard to try to do more with limited funding, families and individuals are seeking to take greater responsibility in directing and managing their own services and the many providers are all dealing with increasingly complex people.
We continually assess the changing needs of people with intellectual disabilities to make sure our services best meet those needs.
Together these things have prompted our senior managers and Board to consider the best way to support people with intellectual disabilities in the future.
In addition, earlier this month the Associate Health and Disability Issues Minister, Nicky Wagner, announced a three month project aimed at transforming the disability support system suggesting “a significant culture change in all parts of the disability support system” is needed.
We have decided to withdraw from some of our smaller services to focus instead on our core business activities, being residential and day services. Our charity funded community programmes will continue to find the best ways to further support the wider population of people with intellectual disabilities.
IHC has decided that IDEA Services will exit from providing the following services:
- Facility based respite
- Foster care
- Shared care
- Home support
- Holiday and After School Programmes
- Contract Board
Together these make up only 5 per cent of our business. However, while the percentage seems small the change still affects many families and individuals. Whether people are within our services or not, advocating for people with intellectual disabilities throughout New Zealand is at the core of who we are. We will work with other providers (with whom we have excellent relationships), individuals and families to ensure a smooth transition and continuation of support.
This decision will also affect some staff. We remain an employer of scale with more than 5,500 staff. Our size means we are always looking for good people and expect to offer most people other work, where possible, within our organisation. None the less, we accept that any change is stressful. We know that staff have longstanding relationships with our organisation and with the people they support. Some people may choose to continue working with individuals through another provider. We will meet and work closely with affected staff to support them.
We will keep the communication lines open. I will provide updates either directly or through managers. Families, individuals and staff are encouraged to approach Area Managers in the first instance for more information and to provide us with feedback.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions on 0800 723 154. This number has been specifically set up for these changes and will be answered between 8am and 7pm until 3 April 2017.
– Ralph Jones
IHC New Zealand