What do Facilitators do?
Microboards Australia have been working with individuals with a disability, their families and support networks to establish a robust model which has broad reaching outcomes for people in living the life they choose, creating autonomy, achieving full citizenship and building lifelong networks of informal support.
The role of a Microboard Facilitator may sound simple, but it actually takes years and robust training for someone to become a facilitator that upholds the knowledge, skills and values required to support the development, and continued running, of a Microboard. We know that supporting a person to have the life they choose to lead can at times be challenging for the person and their support network. This is why we embed our principles of support across our organisation and utilise the experience, knowledge and supports of people from a range of family experiences, Microboard members, our professional services, and people with a disability to collegiately support Microboards.
Supporting the person and their network to think about options and possibilities which are aligned with the person's preferences and needs, as well as offering thoughtful opportunities for expansion of the person's horizons if that is what they want. Microboards aim to ensure that the focus person is at the very least offered the same opportunities as others with a similar background, which can involve helping to identify and explore gaps in the persons life. Facilitators support the person and their network to embed and action supported decision making actively across their lives, and to ensure that plans and wishes expressed by the person are followed through.
Providing information to the network to build understanding or skills, or support the needs of the person or network. This might be about planning in person centred ways, supporting friendships, employment, communication, health planning, tasks or knowledge related to incorporating the Microboard, governance, how to run a good Annual General Meeting, or about recruitment and management of support staff.
Microboards facilitators have access to information and understanding of a broad range of areas related to Quality of Life, and some have particular areas of interest such as Complex Communication Needs or understanding behaviours of concern. We strive to match facilitators with particular strengths to each Microboard.
This involves supporting the network to design ways to store information which is accessible to the person, the Microboard, their family and their support team, as needed. This can include the development of online storage of Microboard meeting templates and minutes, plans and goals, training for support staff, recording health and wellbeing data, details of organisations and professionals who support the person, shift reports and any other information management which is needed. From learned experience and the development of effective systems of support, we can provide access to team management systems to support the network to function really well as a team and in ways that is sustainable across person’s life.
The aim of a Microboard is that it grows into an organisation that is confident and has the skills and understanding to support the focus person to have the life they want. The facilitators role is to support that development so that the person and their Microboard members are increasingly leading the process and the design of the Microboard. Facilitators will mentor Microboard members in their role on the board and as the board is ready, start stepping back to allow the Microboard to find its feet and be able to function independently.
Established Microboards even once incorporated do at times need help, and can ask for a facilitator to assist them with any challenges which arise. This can include things like:
- not having enough board members
- mediating conflict between board members
- assisting with recruiting staff
- supporting any significant changes or transitions which are presenting challenges or stress
- assisting with planning which requires particular knowledge or skills
- any other support which is needed
We know that all people and their support network are unique in what their lives look like, where they are at in their journey and their capacity. Our facilitators support in flexible ways, meeting with a Microboard when and how is best for them.
Facilitators are not Support Co-ordinators and not experts in the NDIS or NDIS funding. They are about working with the support network to really listen to the person with a disability and what they want for their life. They are about upholding a person’s rights to have the life they choose to lead, and upholding all of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability.
While there are service providers available that can take on Support Co-ordination, their role is usually limited to financial and service management, and the task of imagining and creating a good life still rests with the person with a disability and their family. Microboard facilitators support the network/Microboard who are committed to freely give their time to help the focus person to have the life they want, and who are not constrained by the limitations of paid service provision.