Voice At The Table

Case Study – Disability Services Commissioner

“If they don’t listen to us – then they are not going to learn what is important to us” Susan Arthur and Members of Reinforce Self Advocacy Group talk about why Voice at the Table is so important" text-by="Reinforce talk Voice at the Table"

In June 2018, the Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) commenced a participatory based research project looking at building safe and respectful cultures in disability services as part of our broader abuse prevention strategy.

After seeing Voice at the Table (VATT) graduates present at a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) forum, they were challenged regarding their inclusive practices of co-design within the project. They approached VATT to assist them in engaging four people with disability onto either our Project Advisory Group (PAG) or as paid Community Researchers. Members of the PAG participated in the VATT training day and the ‘Top ten tips for inclusive meetings’ were incorporated into all aspects of our PAG and Community Researcher training sessions.

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“As a result of our engagement with VATT, the final outcome of the research project was far richer than we had ever expected. The VATT members added a value and depth of insight that we would have been unable to gather had we relied upon our internal resources alone. They also connected with all research participants on a unique level by offering a lived perspective of disability service provision, all the while presenting with professionalism and sensitivity to the stories that were shared with them.

DSC as an organisation, along with other organisations who participated in the PAG, have gained valuable skills regarding inclusion that will not only be incorporated in future meetings but in all aspects of our work practices and community engagement.

We thank VATT for their dedication and patience in working with organisations to be truly inclusive.”

Samantha Dooley, Manager, Capacity Development Team, Disability Services Commissioner