396,000+

Hours of community support delivered

460+

Information enquiries

350+

Counselling sessions

95+

New in-home NDIS customers

25+

Peer support group sessions

790+

Hours of NDIS counselling and positive behavioral support

2

Health and wellbeing group programs

75+

Support coordination customers

These services include one-on-one supports in the home and community, psychology and counselling, therapy assistance, support coordination, individual skills development and training and 24/7 shared supported accommodation across five houses in Melbourne. We work in partnership with a variety of agencies including the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Commonwealth Department of Health and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to deliver a range of services, while others are independently funded or supported by our social enterprise.

This year our Services Division provided a positive financial contribution to the Organisation, supporting overall stability and sustainability.

We extended our complex care program to deliver specialist complex supports to people impacted by additional environmental factors such as homelessness, fragile family backgrounds, behaviours of concern and involvement in the Victorian justice system. This new program, delivered in conjunction with other specialist agencies, is supported by Independence Australia’s NDIS Key Account Management Practice Model which provides a personalised model of support with increased focus on participant and family communications, specialised recruitment and clinical led training for the support workforce.

Our Independent Living Options program also continued to grow, experiencing a nine percent increase in complex care customers.

25+

NDIS Behavioral Support Customers

5

Grief and Loss workshops

4

Peer Mentoring Service

Over the course of the year our disability support workforce grew by twenty three percent and retention improved as a result of a number of targeted workforce initiatives. This has supported growth in the delivery of specialist services and enhanced choice and control for our customers. To support the growing workforce, CarelinkGo, our new digital platform was launched, providing a central space for support workers to access vital information via their phone. The platform has provided streamlined communication and increased staff engagement. We have seen a significant increase in people under the age of 65 transitioning from aged care facilities to our specialist disability accommodation. This accommodation provides specialist housing solutions for people with a disability, using a model of support entirely directed by the people who live there.

This positive shift has led to a forty percent increase in our intake of young people who were previously living in residential aged care. Delivery of NDIS funded behaviour support services increased significantly. The behavioural support service which is relatively new to Independence Australia, provides specialist behavioural supports to NDIS participants with behaviours of concern. We support them to engage in their community, build and maintain positive relationships and achieve their goals. This minimises the need for restrictive practices often imposed by service providers that reduce choice and control over their lives. Our specialist psychology and counselling service also experienced significant growth throughout the year.

In March 2020 services moved to a telehealth delivery model as social distancing measures were implemented due to the global pandemic. With a surge in demand for mental health support, we increased delivery of our one-to-one counselling sessions by seventy six percent; the move to telehealth allowing for greater access to these services. We also doubled the frequency of our family support groups and provided new opportunities for our customers to connect with others online, bridging the gaps caused by social isolation during the pandemic.

Social Impact Project

In the latter half of 2019 we launched the social impact project in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology. The three year project titled ‘Independence and disability: maximising impact and NDIS outcomes for disability service users’ aims to develop innovative methods to communicate and measure service satisfaction in relation to community services. The project draws on approaches within two distinct disciplines: social impact measurement and visual design.

Inform

Our disability information service, Inform, completed its second year under  the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) funding through the NDIA. The service has reached more than 20,000 Australians living with a disability and their families since its re-launch as a multichannel information hub in 2019. In the last year this included the delivery of three magazines, six podcasts and the re-vamped online platform. With an emphasis on relevant, up to date information from people with lived experiences of disability, twenty five percent of the blog content was written by people with a disability.

Spinchat

Our TAC sponsored SpinChat program continued to raise awareness, promote prevention and educate secondary school students about spinal cord injury. Despite school closures in the second half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program reached more than 8,000 students across Victoria. The SpinChat website also received a rebuild to enhance user experience and a new video was created to promote the program, providing a preview of what it has to offer.

Case Study

59 year old Philomena has been accessing Independence Australia psychology and counselling services for over three years. Philomena lives with cerebral palsy and chronic back pain, and has had fifty four operations since the age of five.

Philomena accesses Independence Australia services casually at times when she needs support. She describes the services as having helped her to ‘find herself’ and navigate what she wants from life; “We talk about whatever is going on, it can be anything from ‘I’m sick’ to marriage issues, to family issues, to death, to any issue…it’s chatting to someone who respects your opinion and respects what you say without judgement.”

During the pandemic, Philomena was able to continue accessing Independence Australia’s psychology and counselling services as we quickly moved to online delivery via telehealth. The continued availability of sessions in an online capacity has meant that many people who would otherwise be isolated have had access to qualified professionals to help guide them through this challenging time.

750,000+

Orders distributed nationally

1,500+

Phone calls per day

570,000+

Visits to corporate website

Independence Australia supplies more than 13,000 continence, wound care, skin care, nutritional and other healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment across Australia. We distribute an average of 2,900 orders a day from our six distribution centers across the nation. As a social enterprise, part of the proceeds made from the sale of healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment goes back into the community, supporting our core charitable purpose.

In the last year we continued to grow our social enterprise, delivering over 750,000 orders Australia wide.

Strong sales growth during this period was supported by our new webstore and the improved functionality that it offered to our customer base. Despite new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including surge buying, our customer experience team continued to deliver exceptional service to our customers.

The National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme (NEBDS) delivered by Independence Australia on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health continued to grow, increasing the number of people supported through the scheme. We were excited to welcome our new specialist Epidermolysis Bullosa nurse, who helped us extend the program by providing targeted training and support for families impacted by EB and resources to help participants manage their condition.

We were pleased to retain contracts for the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Appliances Program and the State Wide Equipment Program. Furthermore, the Department of Health Tasmania Continence contract was extended.

Our Mobility Aids Australia division is a leading supplier of rehabilitation and healthcare equipment in Victoria offers a large range of electric scooters, powered wheelchairs, electric lift chairs, electric beds, manual wheelchairs, lifting hoists, walkers, day chairs and nursing beds. During the year Mobility Aids Australia launched its new website with improved accessibility for customers, significantly increasing visitors to the site and supporting overall growth.

Case Study

Independence Australia supplies Australian Unity’s Home Care Package division with products which help support the delivery
of services including domestic assistance, personal care, in-home nursing and respite care.

Independence Australia and Australian Unity have strengthened it’s partnership over the past twelve months thanks to our dedicated team who have provided a personalised focus and customised service. They have implemented new processes, provided updated catalogues and improved communications channels.

Australian Unity Procurement Insights Manager, Ingrid Carluccio explained this had only been possible due to the work of key members of the Independence Australia team; “I’d like to highlight the great job done by Syed from Accounts, the outstanding work done by Kate providing assistance in the field, and the invaluable work of Vince partnering with Australian Unity to deliver the best service to our customers.”

$70,000

Raised by the Charity Golf Day

120+

Charity Golf Day Attendees

47

Accessibility Weekend Venues

This year the Marketing team delivered a number of online projects to enhance our customer’s digital experience.
A complete rebuild of the Organisation’s corporate site, independenceaustralia.com.au, focused on delivering a simplified and improved customer journey with increased accessibility options for service and product users alike.

Covering all aspects of Independence Australia, the corporate site is the central hub for visitors to explore and understand the various offerings of our business. 

From one central site visitors can now navigate their way to information on our core services, access our health hub, shop for healthcare products through our online store and visit the new Mobility Aids Australia mobility aids and equipment site, providing a one-stop-shop to meet all of our customer’s needs.

A number of other projects were delivered, providing enhanced user experience and access to the SpinChat school program and an updated Inform resource hub. We also launched a dedicated online portal to better service Transport Accident Commission staff, prescribers and clients.

Finally, in its 15th year, our largest fundraiser, the Independence Australia Daddo Charity Golf Day, raised a record $70,000. This made it our most successful day in the events history. A combination of sponsorship packages, player registrations, hole in one tickets and raffle ticket sales helped Independence Australia to achieve this incredible outcome. The funds raised from the golf day help support Independence Australia’s Psychology and Counselling programs, including increased service capacity to provide much needed support throughout the global pandemic.

990+

Employees

79.3%

Part time / casual

20.7%

Full time

The People Experience team is responsible for delivering the people centric component of the Organisation’s strategic direction.

In partnership with our leaders, the team is responsible for managing the lifecycle of employees, delivering skills enhancement  and development, and design and administration of activities to enhance the employee experience to attract and
retain talent.

The Independence Australia Values Program, titled ‘Bringing the IA Values to Life’ commenced in October 2019. The program, which took a collaborative approach with employees, identified the tangible behaviours that support Independence Australia’s values and guiding principles for roll out across
the Organisation.

A new workforce planning program was launched to develop baseline metrics, improve workforce management, recruitment practices, resource planning and cross functional workflows. This works in conjunction with our refreshed Performance & Development Review Program to support talent identification and planning.

The new onboarding program, C.O.A.T (Coaching, Organisation, Administration and Team) for non– disability support staff was piloted. The program serves to enhance engagement and retention of new employees. Initial feedback has been very positive with improvements in retention already observed.

A new onboarding program for the disability support workforce was also launched. The program ensures real time access to relevant policies and procedures, company information, notifications and news items.
The People Experience team worked in partnership with our Services division to identify new ways to utilise existing talent, implementing the CarelinkGo system to record, track and embed shadow shifts with forms for compliance and performance improvement.

The team also supported the Social Enterprise to develop a tailored program to improve Customer Care practices, processes, leadership and teamwork. This resulted in increased staff engagement, reduced absenteeism and a significant reduction in call abandonment rates.

The Quality and Safety team support the business in the assessment and management of operational and occupational risks. This is achieved through an integrated risk management approach in compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Standard, NDIS Practice Standards and Occupational Health and Safety legislation.

The commissioning of our new quality management information platform, ionMy further supports our quality management system with real time incident reporting, escalation and review of customer feedback. Lost time injuries have halved and our Work Cover claims have reduced by twenty five percent.

We continue to maintain compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Standards, with the successful completion of our surveillance audit.

Our Social Enterprise achieved compliance with the NDIS Practice Standards Verification Module and our Disability Services commenced transition to the NDIS Practice Standards with the successful completion of the Stage 1 Audit.

The Community Solutions division earned compliance in line with NDIS Practice Standards Stage 1 and to further support successful outcomes, a risk management framework for on boarding Community Solutions customers was introduced. This framework has helped to reduce the risk associated with failing to provide a quality service for these customers when commencing delivery. 

Finally, the Quality Team dedicated time to updating all policies and procedures in line with NDIS practice Standards January 2020, ensuring that the organisation could continue to work within the NDIS framework.