I hope this finds you well.
In this special end of year edition of our customer newsletter, my first as the new CEO of Northcott, we reflect on what has been a year of challenges and change.
In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have and continue to be guided by the advice of NSW Health. In doing so our primary objective has been to ensure that you, our customers, are supported to do what everyone else in the community is permitted to do – exercise in a local park, go shopping for essentials, attend education or work programs, and to spend time with family. As Australia continues to manage COVID-19 well, and with promising reports of new vaccines, it would be easy for all of us to feel like we can live our lives like we used to before the pandemic. As we head into the holiday season, it’s as important as ever that we continue to follow the advice of NSW Health, and take sensible precautions to protect ourselves and those close to us.
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability released its interim report in October, setting out what the Commission has done in its first 15 months to July 2020. The interim report details the experiences of people with disability and the attitudinal, environmental, institutional and communication barriers to achieving inclusion within Australian society. The Royal Commission is due to present a final report, including recommendations, by 29 April 2022. However the Chair has requested an extension to September 2023. If you would like more information, or wish to make a submission, Northcott can assist you to do so; please reach out to our team for support.
In a busy end of the year, we were thrilled to open a new office in Hornsby recently, providing our customers in the Hornsby area with a modern new space in which to enjoy Vocational Skills Training and Employment, Skills 4 Life and Everyday Life Skills services.
From all of us at Northcott, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to supporting you in the year ahead.
Northcott hours over the holiday period
Our offices and centres are operating up to Thursday 24 December, and will reopen on Monday 4 January. We do have a couple of programs running over the break, with full details available on our Events page. Our Housing and Supported Independent Living, and In-home and Community support services continue to operate through the holiday period. Our friendly Customer Service Team can be contacted on 1800 818 286 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday and Sunday right through the holiday period, except for public holidays.
Staying safe from COVID-19 this holiday season
We recognise that the holiday season is a time to get together with family and friends, especially after the challenges of this year. However, it’s important that we continue to be vigilant when it comes to staying safe from COVID-19.
NSW Health advises that there still may be transmission in the community among people with mild or no symptoms. Now is not the time to be complacent.
Based on the most recent advice from NSW Health, Northcott is recommending the following guidelines for visits to housing services;
Can I have visitors to my Northcott home?
Yes, customers in Northcott accommodation services can have visitors, however as usual they will need to undergo a screening process on arrival.
If visitors pass the screening process, what do they need to do while in the service?
While in the house, visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing.
How many visitors can I have?
The current relevant NSW public health order allows up to 30 people to visit a residence at any one time, however this is a mandatory upper limit. NSW Health recommends that a customer in a disability group home has no more than two visitors at any one time. More than two people can visit in a day, but the recommendation is for no more than two visitors at a time.
Do visitors need to wear masks while in the house?
Some visitors will need to wear masks when visiting the accommodation service. These are visitors who have visited an area deemed for increased testing in the last 14 days, or have visited a location where they must monitor symptoms as indicated on the NSW Government website.
Where can I find a list of the locations above?
You can identify the locations above on the NSW Government website.
It’s important to visit the webpage regularly for any changes to any of the locations.
A reminder that you can also find information and resources on the Northcott website.
Update on the Royal Commission
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability released its Interim Report on 30 October 2020. The report summarises the work done by the Royal Commission to date and includes some of the evidence presented to it. The Interim Report, including an Easy Read version, can be found on the Commission website.
So far, The Royal Commission has conducted five public hearings and held eight community forums and nine workshops. It has published nine issues papers to which it has received 295 responses and a further 1237 submissions from individuals, government agencies, and organisations. All public hearings and direct in-person engagement with remote First Nations communities ceased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission restarted its public work in August.
The report says people with disability experience attitudinal, environmental, institutional and communication barriers to achieving inclusion within Australian society. It shows that a great deal needs to be done to ensure that the human rights of people with disability are respected and that Australia becomes a truly inclusive society.
If you would like more information, or wish to make a submission, Northcott can assist you to do so; please reach out to our team for support. More information can be found on the Northcott website.
Changes to the NDIS Price Guide
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has recently updated its Price Guide and Support Catalogue, with the changes coming into effect from 1 December 2020. The NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue is the document which outlines the costs that providers can charge for services, and other regulations for delivering those services. It is continually reviewed throughout the year.
Northcott’s prices align with the limits in the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue, therefore, there will be some changes to the costs of some of our services. The good news is that the NDIS has committed to topping up Participant’s Plans to account for the increase, so these changes should not impact you achieving your goals. Your Northcott Account Manager will be in contact with you to discuss the impact of the price changes, and any adjustments you may need to make to your Service Agreement.
New Hornsby Office
Customers in the Hornsby area now have a brand new office space to enjoy Northcott services and support. The fit for purpose space will enhance the support provided by Northcott, allowing people with disability in the Hornsby community to continue accessing a range of services that empower them to learn the skills they need to achieve their goals while socialising with peers who are also on their journey to independence. Through our Vocational Skills Training and Employment, Skills 4 Life and Everyday Life Skills services, we support customers to increase their confidence and become work ready.