In Australia, the situation is improving for people with disabilities. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – provides clients with choice and control, and requires service providers to adopt a person-centred model that delivers it.
The South Australia Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) is a government provider and funder of services that support vulnerable people and help build resilient communities. The organisation currently administers 150 non-governmental organisations (NGO) who deliver services to 10,000 clients across South Australia – approximately AU$300 million worth of services per annum.
DCSI planted Salesforce at the centre of their services delivery. It was bold move and, by government standards then, ‘risky’. But it worked.
According to Joe Young, DCSI’s director, service reform, disability and domiciliary care services, the best way forward was to create one source of truth – essentially a single pool of information – for three key groups: clients and their carers, NGO service providers, and DCSI case managers.
Initial development in Salesforce consolidated DCSI information on a single platform and automated contract administration and payment processing between DCSI and NGOs. The system, known internally as the Request Contract Reconciliation (RCR), was developed by DCSI’s project team and spans core transaction apps and interfaces to a data warehouse, client management and finance systems, and publicly available information, including Australian Business Number (ABN) information.
On this foundation, DCSI deployed Salesforce Community Cloud to launch MySupportAdvisor.com.au – an online community where people with disabilities publically rate and review service providers, manage personal data, funding, expenses, payments, plans and service arrangements.
Out in the field, government case managers visit clients to appraise their needs and adequacy of services. In certain cases a manager will request additional support. Perhaps more hours are required, or the client needs additional help showering. Once DCSI has approved the request the NGO is contracted to deliver services. And when the job’s done, their report is reconciled with the contract which, should everything be in order, initiates payment.
A service provider portal, also developed on Salesforce Community Cloud, is the glue, providing the platform for information exchange and workflow that manages service requests and approvals. Providers also access a catalogue of services (units of service and costs), a register of contracts for funding, and a record of invoices and payments. In just 12 months 90% of contract administration was managed on Salesforce Community Cloud.
Cara, a disability services provider operating in 77 locations across South Australia, delivers 24-hour support services to people with multiple and complex disabilities. Cara executive manager Todd Williams praised the new RCR system for transparency it had introduced to Cara’s contract administration and funding.
“We can see what we’re contracted to provide right down to support workers, and on which days and where,” said Williams.
Government agencies in South Australia have moved quickly to employ a whole-of-government contract that provides access to DCSI’s Salesforce platform.
One South Australia government organisation Lifetime Support Authority (LSA) – a provider of treatment, care and support for people who have sustained serious, lifelong disabilities in a motor vehicle accident.
LSA has modified an instance of DCSI’s Salesforce environment. Sorana Dinmore, LSA’s manager governance, systems and review, said the main attraction was cost savings and flexibility.
DCSI processes more than 900,000 financial transactions and 7,000 contracts each year, with the department’s RCR system processing approximately 90% of payments to NGO providers.
Since RCR was launched, payments processed by DCSI have nearly doubled, yet administration staff numbers remained static. Payment processing times have shrunk astonishingly, too, from four-to-six weeks to less than three days.