Another exciting year has passed for Access Plus WA Deaf, and we have seen some amazing changes in the way we deliver services and supports to our community. Our new name, new service offerings and new organisational structure all position us well for our planned growth in coming years.
Our mantra of “access for the deaf and hard of hearing at the centre of everything we do” has guided us over the past year.Read in Full
Its that time of year again where we take a moment to reflect on the previous year's financial report and activities that the highlights how much we have achieve with such a small group of dedicated and motivated people. In 2018/19 we have perhapse done so much more in one year then in all of the 98 years beforehand.Read in Full
The past year has seen a significant change in the way Access Plus WA Deaf delivers services. In 2018 each of our services worked in a department structure or “silo mentality” leading to difficulties when sharing information about how to best support our clients even though everyone worked for the same organisation. This led to some inefficiencies with client support which ultimately impacted on the individuals who accessed our services. In 2019 we removed specific departments and established a culture of everyone being part of one large team with staff specialising in certain areas of service provision. This organisational restructure has allowed us to have a person-centred approach when supporting our clients, we can now provide wholistic support and ensure that services are implemented which assist individuals to achieve their desired outcomes.
Now that the NDIS has formally rolled out across all of Western Australia, Access Plus is seeing growth and opportunities for our services. It didn’t take long to recognise that some individuals were finding it difficult to navigate this new funding model and so to support our community, we established the Client Engagement Team. This team is responsible to work with individuals and their families to apply for the NDIS and provide step by step advice along the journey through pre-planning, NDIS meetings and the implementation of their NDIS plan. Clients who have engaged us to support them through this journey have seen an increase in the value of their NDIS Plan packages compared to individuals who navigate the system on their own. Once someone has chosen to access our services with their NDIS plans, they are supported by our NDIS Team Leader and the Intake team to schedule supports and ensure longevity of services from their plan. When the NDIS plan is due for a review, our Client Engagement Team are able to again provide support navigating the process.
Our Education team has also had a busy year.
This year also saw the launch of our Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) service. This has allowed Access Plus to provide interpreting services State-wide, in locations where Auslan Interpreters are not available. We have serviced as far north as Broome and as far south as Albany. The technology used to provide this service has also offered opportunity for other services such as Auslan classes and Deafness Awareness Training to be delivered in this manner.
All of our services are able to be provided due to the amazing staff who choose to work at Access Plus. The last 12 months has seen a significant increase in staff numbers with a mix of hearing, deaf and hard of hearing people joining our team. Our clients truly value the expertise, dedication and positive attitude displayed and acknowledge that staff uphold the Access Plus values of Community, Access, Inclusion and Progress when providing services.
Firstly, just like to say a huge thankyou to the almost 100 staff and volunteers who have contributed to the results for the organisation last year, and who continue to provide exceptional service to the Deaf and Hoh community into this financial year too We have provided services to almost 50% more clients than the previous year, and the numbers for the current financial year are also reflecting that growth too, so please keep doing what you are doing.
Delighted to announce a fantastic set of financial results for FY1819
To support this huge growth in service delivery we grew our workforce considerably, employing over 50 new staff, particularly in our community services area (support workers, allied health and tutors) and invested in a dedicated Client engagement team to ensure everything we do has the client at the centre of it.
During the year we also moved premises, and that meant incurring additional expenses to set up the offices, new equipment, dedicated meeting and training spaces, as well as starting to develop an aged care service and continuing to support WADRA with their transition to new premises too.Read in Full
As stated earlier, the growth in services to our community, has also allowed us to create jobs for our community as well, and we now have over 30 deaf or hoh staff employed in either an office based or service delivery role.
We anticipate this number will grow again in the current financial year, as we see more and more clients sign up their NDIS plans with AP
To support this growth in staff, we have continued to invest in training and development across the organisation, and have plans to develop even more program in the current year too.
There were some structural changes that took place earlier in the year, and that has resulted in a dedicated Intake team who deal with all enquiries and provide a more seamless customer experience. This team is supported by a complementary Client Engagement Team who have a dedicated group of clients that they help navigate through the NDIS transition and ensure the services we are provided to them meet their expectations and support them to achieve their goals.
One of the biggest challenges that remains in the WA marketplace is the supply of interpreters not being able to meet the demand for interpreting services. There isnt a quick fix solution to this of course, however AP have implemented a Masterclass program to fast track upto 20 new Terps into the marketplace over the next 12 months. This will hopefully have significant impact on ensuring our community get the access to support they require and continue to break down the barriers of communication they face.
Following the chalenge of an Office move, the Org is implementing more change management with a new one stop shop Client Management system to replace all the legacy systems and paper based systems. This investment was supported by the Board, and the implementation started in June, and is likely to be completed by November/December.
Other wins in include the Digitialising of 97 years of paper records, so thankyou again to all the volunteers and staff who have contributed to this incredible piece of work.
To improve internal communication the Org has introduced “Workplace” which is an APP very much like Facebook, but just for AP staff. We will continue to use this tool as one of the many ways we communicate with staff and also to our community.
One of the biggest achievements this FY, was receiving ISO Accreditation in April. This is one of the highest quality achievement across the globe, and it reflects all the fantastic work that has gone into developing contemporary Policies and procedures, and making them accessible, easy to use and understand, as well as ensuring staff compliance too.
We believe our continuous quality improvement focus, will be one of the key drivers of why our community continue to receive services from us, and why we can demonstrate a difference between ourselves and our competitors.
This year has been a massive year in the space of how Access Plus WA Deaf schedules and handles all service requests. In the past a service request would have been referred to individual departments and then handled by staff within that department. The largest service that Access Plus was required to schedule was that of interpreter requests and to accommodate that work load we had staff employed dedicated to that role specifically.
During March, in line with the organisational restructure, we moved away from departments working independently when dealing with scheduling requests, to a centralised customer focused scheduling service. This is to keep in line with our mantra “Access for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the centre of everything we do”. By centralising the scheduling of all our services, we are aiming to offer the consumer a more streamlined service where all their scheduling needs can be meet and answered by the one team, the Intake team. This means that if a client has a question about their next Auslan for Families session and is also seeking clarification regarding their support worker, they will no longer have to contact two different staff members to have their queries responded to. Clients can now simply email, SMS or phone the Intake team and we will be able to help answer all scheduling needs. To accommodate the new way of delivering our services, we are also in the process of implementing a new client management system which will help us to streamline our processes further and ultimately provide all customers with a quicker and smoother service. Staff are excited for the new system and how it will help us to deliver on our client centred approach.
What a year from 2018 to 2019! Since our rebrand to Access Plus WA Deaf, the Client Engagement Team has been focused on growing the supports within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. We have been working with clients to showcase our new direction, encouraging them to recognise that our organisation is now more accessible, inclusive and progressive allowing for the break down of the barriers they face. The Client Engagement team is a small team who believe that it is important to engage and work with our clients to determine their needs. We have a person-centered approach when assisting our clients to strive for and achieve their goals.
The largest barriers for our clients are communication with the wider community. The use of interpreters is a way to overcome this barrier but due to the current national supply shortage it has been near impossible for our clients to obtain interpreter supports at their preferred time. We have worked with our clients and encouraged them to try alternative communication supports, be flexible with their interpreter preferences and/or time of their appointments. The community have been very accommodating and been open to trying new supports in the form of communication guides. This support has allowed clients to feel included in the community instead of feeling isolated and left out when interacting with members of their community who may not have Auslan skills.
We have a diverse range of clients and with the implementation of the NDIS, there has been much confusion about this new disability funding model. We have been providing support to clients to apply for the NDIS, determine their goals, develop their plans, advocate during NDIS planning meetings and then provided support to implement their plans so they can commence accessing funded services. We have seen an increase, on average, of at least $10 000 in client plans when they have utilised the support of the Client Engagement team during the NDIS planning process.
Looking ahead, we are excited to continue to support our community with their NDIS, assist with yearly reviews and welcome new clients who join our services.
Over the last 12 months, Access Plus has been working hard to support members of the community to transition over to the NDIS. This has been a thorough and time-consuming process that has yielded some exciting results for members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. I have worked alongside the other Team Leaders to streamline the process of unpacking and implementing NDIS plans and ensuring the needs of the community are understood and accessible.
Whilst this has had its challenges, we believe we have (through trial and error) created the necessary resources and processes to support our community. We have finalised service agreements, amended existing resources to comply with the NDIA’s requirements, created information flyers and forms to help identify their support needs and have increased flexibility in how we deliver our services. We hope this encourages our community to continue to set and achieve their goals and share their success with Access Plus.
Over the next 12 months, we hope to continue to grow the services we can deliver as directed by what the community needs, we have supported people in accessing Auslan lessons and helped families increase their communication with their Deaf and Hard of Hearing family members, we have implemented Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy that has allowed access to assistive technology to increase independence and have increased access to support with daily activities and independent living. These supports are directed by our clients and has provided better access to opportunities, inclusion in both the Deaf and Hard of Hearing space as well as the hearing world and has allowed greater information sharing that increases knowledge and understanding of the change that has occurred with the introduction of the NDIS.
This past year has been very busy in the Education area. We have seen increases in Auslan class participation and commenced expanding the location of our delivery. We had a total of nearly 1000 students enrol in our Auslan classes which were delivered in various locations throughout Perth and out in the regions including Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Narembeen and Albany.This year we updated our resources for students which saw an improved Basic and Intermediate curriculum. Our classes now align more closely with certified courses with the aim to create an easier pathway for students to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning if they choose to further their studies. We have also written the curriculum for a third Auslan class, Advanced, which will commence being taught in the second half of 2019.
Deafness Awareness Training continues to be popular with a total of 26 sessions provided to various service providers and workplaces. There continues to be an uptake of employers using the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) to fund this training which is great to see.
The focus for the upcoming year is to commence the Advanced class and roll out more Auslan classes throughout WA so more individuals have the opportunity to learn Auslan making the community a more inclusive space for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We will also be focusing on improving our Auslan for Families program, a service funded under the NDIS assisting families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing to learn Auslan.
The Review and Recruitment Subcommittee provides advice and support to the Board in relation to Board and CEO recruitment and selection and succession planning. We have enjoyed stability of leadership in recent times, with David Gibson recently celebrating his second anniversary as CEO. The Subcommittee has also been focused on increasing the strength of the Board in relation to attracting more Deaf and Hard of Hearing members of our community, as well as encouraging more young people to contribute to the leadership and governance of the organisation. We have been successful in attracting new members, Narenne Barrett and Gillian Arkell, to the Board and always want to hear more community members step up as well. This helps the Board to provide the best leadership to Access Plus by having a diverse range of experiences and skill sets participating in the decision making for our collective success.
Since I nominated to represent into Access Plus Western Australia Deaf Board last September to act as a director. Also, I am on studying the Diploma of Business (Governance), that has began last May this year.
On 1st May, my invited to Video Remote Interpreting open at Access Plus WA Deaf Office with CEO, David Gibson and his staff. He honoured to Disability Minister, Dawson to launch and open the key on Video Remote Interpreting. This VRI allows to Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients for the support referral via the interpreters all through Western Australia. It has open to public of the Deaf Community.
On 7th July, The NAIDOC Celebration event, I visited there at Lake Monger Recreation Club. It was great occasion that I learnt something from the Aboringal and Torres Strait Islanders with the disability, their performance of their own culture that where their own culture in divisive they tell us their stories how they live and eat the food, fire the bush by the wood and dancing. I recognise that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are on their 1st land due to many many years ago they lives in this same land of Western Australia and Australia before us, the white people in 1800 century later. I was told that there had more than millions on aboriginal and Torres Strait people on this same land and now it has reduced down. It meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait people comes first due to their 1st land before us.
Early this year, I represent to the chairperson of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing Community for the board. Since I made the media on video on Facebook under Access Plus WA Deaf on 7th June, requested to the project of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Committee, I am still in processing and making some plans on surveys on Deaf Community, Seniors, Aboriginal/Torres Strait, Women, LGBITQ, CODA/deaf children of hearing/Deaf parents on the way.
The Marketing, Advocacy and Fundraising Committee (MAF) met on three occasions during 2018/19, being August 2018, December and May 2019.
The key marketing achievement was the re-brand from the old “WADS” to “Access Plus”. Driven operationally by the CEO and staff MAF provided strategic oversight and counsel. This was well received by customers, staff and stakeholders.
Our key points was the settling on a fundraising strategy initially focussed on wills and bequests. Policies were sent to the Board for endorsement including a Media Policy and a Social Media Policy.
MAF looks forward to 2020, where it hopes to build more formal marketing plans into the business model of WADS.
Annette Perrin is the Chair of the Board at Access Plus. She brings extensive experience in relation to governance, strategic planning and change management, with a particular focus on high performance. Her involvement in the not for profit sector includes Executive Manager experience with a major disability services provider, along with other Board roles for Deaf Services Australia and 100 Women. She has also provided support and advice to organisations across Australia in relation to tendering and delivering major infrastructure projects to a combined value of over $40b. She is passionate about equality and is an advocate for including young people in decision making, particularly in board roles, where they can contribute to building a better future for us all.
Clint is an experienced senior corporate manager and consultant, his skills include government relations/lobbying, issues management, litigation support and crisis communications. He is also skilled in management, marketing and governance.
Clint’s clients over many years have included both the public and private sectors as well as lobby groups across a number of industries.
Other experience includes senior public sector management; international marketing consulting; sports marketing and other senior private sector roles. He is currently a non-executive director at WA Deaf Society and MIDLAS.
Clint holds a Master of Commerce from the University of Sydney, a Graduate Diploma of Marketing Management from CQU and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canberra.
He is an experienced state and federal political lobbyist with a strong knowledge of parliamentary procedure in most Australian parliaments. Clint has worked with Liberals, the ALP/WA Labor, Nationals, the Greens, Liberal Democrats, One Nation, Shooters & Fishers and genuine independents.
Clint is a regular in the media.
I join Board of Access Plus WA Deaf when? in 2018.
For 33 years I work Australian Government in ATO across NSW and WA. In ATO I have many jobs. What jobs? Like audits, sales tax and debt recovery experience.
Now I am chairperson of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community (DHHC) committee. I study now Diploma of Business (Governance).
For many year I volunteer with Deaf community. My passion to help community with the barriers help assist with mental health issues.
As Chair I want DHHC focus on providing supports for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Seniors, Youth Deaf Group, LGBTI, Parents and Children, Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders in Deaf community.
Shane Buise is currently a Financial Controller for a national manufacturing company and a current director on the Board of Access Plus WA Deaf.
Shane has 10+ years of commercial accounting experience working in the mining and manufacturing sectors in leadership and senior management roles. Shane's skills have been utilized to drive growth whilst minimizing risk and uncertainty.
Shane holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University and is also a full voting member of the Certified Public Accountant's (CPA).
Gerry Rayner is the founding Director of the business consultancy Rayner Consulting Pty Ltd, a member of the board of directors of Access Plus WA Deaf and former board director of Deaf Services Australia. A former CEO of the national construction company DTMT Construction and former Senior Executive with the international resource company BHP Billiton.
Gerry has over 35 years’ experience in the mineral resource sector, construction industry and private business sectors working in strategic governance and leadership roles influencing and delivering key corporate objectives and business outcomes while focusing upon minimizing harm to people and the environment.
Gerry holds the formal tertiary qualifications of Executive Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Agriculture (Honors) from the University of Western Australia and is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Gerry is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Trustee of the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia.
Millie Richmond-Scott is a Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution team of the Perth office of law firm MinterEllison. She has managed disputes for and advised global and national resources and oil and gas companies, various corporate clients and individuals, Western Australian government agencies and port authorities.
Millie is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Millie holds a Bachelors Degree of Law and a Bachelors Degree of Arts (Majoring in Politics and International Relations).
Millie has twice been listed as a Rising Star in Doyle’s Guide for Litigation and Dispute Resolution and in 2017 was announced as the winner of the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards for Dispute Resolution, having also been a finalist in the previous year. In 2017 Millie was also a finalist for the Lawyers Weekly Women in the Law Awards in the category of Senior Associate of the Year.
Narenne Barrett is a second generation Deaf person from a small town who joined the Board in 2018. Narenne is currently undertaking studies in a Bachelor in Education at Murdoch University and has been involved in many Auslan related education roles across Australia as a Deaf Education Officer, Auslan Specialist Educator and as a Auslan Language Model. She also has a background in small business and bookkeeping and is currently the Treasurer of the Western Australia Deaf Recreation Association Inc. She enjoys hiking and camping in her spare time and travels with her family.
Murray was first elected onto the Board in 2010 and retires in 2019. A former employee of the WA Deaf Society Inc, Murray has held a variety of jobs with the organisation for many years at Leederville and East Perth.He has also served as the President of WADRA and is the current president of Deaf Seniors. Murray is now retired and enjoys travelling.
Jakkie Skinner is a qualified accountant with 20 years’ experience in compliance, governance, risk and financial management, including as a director at leading professional services firm (Deloitte). Jakkie has worked in a number of finance teams in the role of Financial Controller and General Manager Finance, across property, mining and construction companies including BGC Contracting and Peet Limited. Jakkie has extensive experience as a finance executive in both public and private companies, and as a Non-Executive Director of not-for-profit organisations.
Jakkie is a board finance committee member of the WA Marine Science Institute and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Pretoria.