Standards and Data Collection
This survey collects information on 3 population groups: people aged 60 years and over, people with disabilities and their carers. There are other sources of information about services provided to these groups, but this survey is the only source of information on the assistance requirements of those groups, the extent to which these requirements are met, and the characteristics of those with unmet need. It also provides information on participation in economic and community activities. The survey is the major source of national statistics on carers and primary carers: numbers and characteristics of carers, care relationships, activities for which informal care is provided, and, for primary carers, support available and required, and the effects of the caring role on their lives. The survey is on a six yearly cycle, with the next collection due in 2015.
The Disability Services Census collects information each year from certain disability services funded by the Australian Government, including for example: supported employment services (also known as Australian Disability Enterprises); advocacy services; print disability services; and, disability information and captioning services. The Disability Services Census collects information about services, such as hours of operation and staffing hours. Supported employment services are also asked to provide certain information about each of their service users.
The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) provides that Disability Standards can be made by the Commonwealth Attorney-General to specify rights and responsibilities about equal access and opportunity for people with a disability, in more detail and with more certainty than the DDA itself provides. Standards can be made in the areas of employment, education, public transport services, accommodation and the administration of Commonwealth laws. The main purpose of the Disability Standards is to make rights and obligations under the DDA easier to understand, comply with and enforce. A further function of Disability Standards is to set out more detailed principles to guide key decisions under the DDA such as how to establish what is a reasonable adjustment or what could constitute unjustifiable hardship.
In December 2013, the Standing Council on Disability Reform ministers from all jurisdictions endorsed the revised National Standards for Disability Services. These standards are seen as a transitional reform enabling nationally consistent quality standards to apply for the disability services sector. They have a greater focus on person centred approaches and promote choice and control by people with disability. The six Standards are: Rights; Participation and Inclusion; Individual Outcomes; Feedback and Complaints; Service Access; Service Management.
In 2011 the Australian Parliament passed amendments to the Disability Services Act 1986, as part of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (SSOLA Bill), to mandate the introduction of a new QA system. The amendments provided mechanisms independent from government, to assess the compliance of disability advocacy services against the Disability Advocacy Standards. Implementation of the new QA system commenced on 1 July 2012. The standards specified include Disability Advocacy Standards and Key Performance Indicators for advocacy agencies funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program to provide advocacy services for people with disability.