Newly released research shows that giving disabled people more choice over how they use their government funding is more economical in the long term, and gets better outcomes for people.
The two pieces of research (quantitative and qualitative) focused on people who receive funding from the Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services under a scheme called Individualised Funding. People who get this type of funding have more control and choice over when, where, how and who provides their disability support services.
“Individualised Funding has been operating in New Zealand for ten years,” says Marsha Marshall, CEO of Manawanui InCharge who commissioned the research. “This research is a first step in understanding more about the impacts of disabled people having control over their government funded support and will hopefully contribute to the ongoing development of self-directed approaches to funding.”
“This is the first research of its kind in New Zealand and provides valuable information that supports the recent Productivity Commission report recommendations for More Effective Social Services.”
- Over time, disabled people who manage their own funding tend to use less of their allocated funding.
- The uptake of Individualised Funding by eligible people has increased from 4% in 2010 to 21% in 2014.
- The cost per person using Individualised Funding has decreased over the same period.
- People who have high and complex needs who move onto Individualised Funding tend to have lower costs overall than those who move into Residential Services.
- Individualised Funding users with high and complex needs are less likely to transition to Residential Care than people not using IF. This means that IF slows down the movement of people to higher cost services.
- One of the most significant challenges for people transitioning to Individualised Funding is grasping the extent of the options available and understanding what a good life looks like for them.
- Sharing knowledge through stories is seen as a critical part of a successful transition process
- People choosing Individualised Funding identified four main themes that influenced thisdecision:
- Building natural supports/networks
- Mobility and technology
- Having a home of their own
- Being productive.
- Families who transitioned to Individualised Funding felt they were now able to live a meaningful life while making a difference in their community and leading social change.
About the research
- The quantitative research focused on a cost analysis of Individualised Funding. It focused on the school leaver to 65 age group and looked at differences in initial and ongoing costs for people choosing Individualised Funding with those using other service streams. This paper can be read at Individualised Funding Cost Analysis
- The qualitative research used a narrative storytelling approach to look at people transitioning from traditional services to Individualised Funding, what was important to them, what the challenges were and the differences they felt Individualised Funding had made to their lives. This paper can be read at Facilitating the Transition to Individualised Funding.
Both research papers can be downloaded from Manawanui In Charge – Research. What is Individualised Funding (IF)