Individual and Family PreferenceCLBC believes individuals and their families should have as much choice and control over their services as possible.

“Individual Preference” is one way CLBC is assisting and empowering individuals and their families to have a say in who provides support in their life.

Honoring choice and self-determination within corporate responsibility is rare and innovative. In the corporate and even in the social services environment, a worker usually “gets” an individual as opposed to that individual choosing their own service provider.

Because each individual and family is unique, the “Individual Preference” process may differ from situation to situation. However, there are typically five steps to the process where a CLBC facilitator can provide guidance and support.

First, the individual must be eligible for CLBC-funded services and funding must be approved and available.

CLBC will then ask the person to consider three possible service providers. If the person already has a service-provider in mind, CLBC will ensure that person has the proper qualifications and may refer two additional service-providers for consideration.

The CLBC facilitator can help arrange meetings with the service providers being considered, so the individual can learn about them, talk with the staff and ask questions.

Selection of a service provider is made, and if the decision is difficult, the CLBC facilitator will assist in exploring appropriate options.

Finally, after the preferred service provider is chosen, CLBC will work with that person to arrange services and create a contract that ensures quality standards, and reasonable costs.

For many individuals and their family members, engaging in this process means a shift away from feeling like a service recipient and towards being a consumer. This can be very empowering.

This is also a shift for service providers, moving from providing services for any individual to providing services to an individual. This enhances their relationship, and over time, humanizes it, reshaping the way business is done.

Everyone begins with the first process because there is more flexibility and choices. If the process is not successful, a decision is made to pursue a procurement opportunity, and there is less flexibility.

A way has been developed for individuals and/or families to participate in a procurement process and how to incorporate their feedback, but the process itself determines which service provider will be offered the contract, not the family.

“Individual Preference” has continued to evolve since its formal roll out in November 2011.

“When I was first brought in, I was really surprised this wasn’t already in place,” said Sylvie Zebroff, CLBC Family Partnership Advisor. “ Informally, procurement had included the family voice but formal processes didn’t reflect it. There wasn’t an easy way for families to formally engage in choosing or expressing a preference for service providers.”

CLBC’s implementation of “Individual Preference” has meant that individuals and their family members are becoming informed about the process CLBC uses to get a good fit for their son or daughter.

“There is transparency to it,” said Zebroff. “Removing the feeling that service provider choice happens behind a velvet curtain.”

CLBC Self Advocate and Family Advisors are preparing video clips to share lived experience of individuals and families through this process. These video clips will be incorporated into the ongoing webinars for new staff to get underway in the fourth quarter of 2013/14.

Eventually this initiative will be incorporated into the formal training that all new staff receive.

 

With submissions from Leah Glick Stahl (Manager, Contracting and Procurement Services); Jessica Humphrey (Self Advocate Advisor) and Sylvie Zebroff (CLBC Family Partnership Advisor).