Confronting the brutal facts

Disability services providers need to ‘confront the brutal facts’ if they are to enable people with disability to fully participate in the community, said OAK Possability CEO, Drew Beswick.


Mr Beswick was a key speaker at the national ‘Growing a Quality Workforce’ conference held in Sydney on 14-15 February 2017.

He told the conference that human services organisations have a tendency to be ‘too nice’ and sometimes avoid the brutal reality.

“The common view that services are ‘so much better than they used to be’ can breed complacency. We have come a long way, but we have a long way further to go for people with disability to be able to participate fully in the Australian community.”

Mr Beswick said organisations need to confront the brutal facts about their performance to successfully make the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“This means conducting an honest assessment of performance, understanding what your clients really value about your services and understanding staff perceptions. Only then can you identify shortcomings and focus on areas for improvement.”

This type of ‘reality check’ has resulted in a number of improvement activities for OAK Possability in recent years:

  • Reinvigorating our client voice program
  • Achieving ACIS 2013 quality accreditation
  • Rolling out Zero Tolerance training to staff to bolster client safety
  • Offering clients the ‘Road to Success’ self-advocacy training in partnership with SpeakOut Advocacy
  • Developing a new Practice Framework with associated staff training.

Mr Beswick said improvement requires clearly understanding your mission, maintaining focus on improvements and building on your core strengths.

“Change won’t happen overnight, but if you keep working persistently and consistently on improvements, over time the change for the better will occur.”