Ability Links NSW
Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) is a new way to support people with disability, their families and carers as a part of the ongoing reforms of the disability services system in NSW. It provides people with a locally based first point of contact to support people to access supports and services in their local communities.
By 1 July 2014, families in every part of NSW will have access to an ALNSW Coordinator, known as a Linker. Linkers work with people with disability, their families and carers to help them plan for their future, build on their strengths and skills, and develop networks in their own communities so they can do what they want with their lives - outside of the traditional disability service system.
Linkers also work with local communities to help them become more welcoming and inclusive of people with disability.
The NSW Government has committed $27.9 million per year for a total of 248 Linkers across the State.
There will be 111 Generalist Linkers across the Sydney metropolitan area, 35 in the Hunter region, 31 across northern NSW, 20 in the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra, and a further 24 spread across western NSW.
There will also be an additional 27 Linkers which are Aboriginal identified positions to work with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
For more information about ALNSW please download a copy of the ALNSW Specification and Guidelines.
There will be a total of 39 Linker positions located throughout the Central Coast and Hunter New England Districts; 35 Generalist Linkers and four Aboriginal identified Linkers.
ALNSW officially launched in the Central Coast and Hunter New England Districts on 1 July 2013, with St Vincent de Paul Society appointed as the provider for the 35 Generalist Linker positions.
Linkers are now available to meet with people in their homes, in the community or at one of the 13 drop in offices across the Hunter.
The St Vincent de Paul Society contact details are:
Barkuma Neighbourhood Centre has recently been appointed as the ALNSW (Aboriginal) provider for the four Aboriginal Linker positions in the Central Coast and Hunter New England Districts.
Barkuma Neighbourhood Centre is anticipated to commence delivery of ALNSW from 1 January 2014.
Barkuma Neighbourhood Centre contact details are:
Phone: (02) 4937 1094
On Monday 12 May 2014 the Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. John Ajaka, announced the appointment of three new partnerships to provide the remaining 186 ALNSW Generalist Linker positions across the state.
The new partnerships and the areas that they will cover are:
- UnitingCare NSW/ACT in partnership with Settlement Services International - Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW Districts
- The St Vincent de Paul Society in partnership with Settlement Services International - South Western Sydney, Sydney and South Eastern Sydney Districts
- North West Alliance – partnership including Northern Rivers Social Development Council, Mid Coast Communities, Intereach, Pathfinders, CareWest and Murrumbidgee Medicare Local – Hunter New England, Mid North Coast, Northern NSW, Murrimbidgee, Western NSW and Far West Districts.
The new partnership providers will be operational from 1 July 2014.
The contact details for each new provider are:
Phone: 02 8830 0768
Settlement Services International
Phone: 02 8799 6700
The St Vincent de Paul Society
Phone: 02 8622 0456
North West Alliance
Northern Rivers Social Development Council (Northern – Far North Coast)
Phone: 02 6620 1866
Mid Coast Communities (Northern – Mid North Coast)
Phone: 02 66 511 788
Pathfinders (Northern – New England)
Phone: 02 6771 1527
Intereach (Western – Riverina Murray)
CareWest (Western – Central West and Orana Far West)
Phone: 1300 227 393
A staged procurement process is currently underway for the delivery of the remaining 23 Aboriginal identified Linker positions across the state.
A total of 18 information sessions were held across NSW in November 2013 regarding the remaining 23 Aboriginal identified Linker positions. A Registration of Interest (ROI) opened on 4 December 2013 and will close on 11 February 2014. This will be followed by a Select Tender process. The Select Tender will include a written and conversational component in recognition of the strong focus on verbal communication in Aboriginal culture.
The Ability Links NSW Taskforce
The ALNSW Taskforce, established following the unsuccessful tender process (RFT ADHC.12.03) held in 2012 for the delivery of ALNSW across the State, recommended the establishment of new organisations to deliver ALNSW. The Taskforce recommended that the NSW Government:
- procure between two and six new entities established by a syndicate(s) or consortia of founding member organisations with ALNSW service boundaries aligned to Ageing, Disability and Home Care's (ADHC) former regions*
- also consider proposals from high quality existing organisations not principally involved in the delivery of disability services
- commence the process of procurement for the Hunter region for the establishment of ALNSW from 1 July 2013 followed by the remainder of NSW from 1 July 2014.
The Taskforce also recommended undertaking a procurement approach which includes pre-market engagement through an appropriate notice of tender period so that a new market has the chance of 'seeding'. It also included the use of outcomes based procurement whereby prospective tenderers participate in defining the desired outcomes rather than a traditional approach involving responses to prescriptive specifications.
Download the full ALNSW Taskforce Report (PDF).
*ADHC along with the remainder of divisions that form part of Family & Community Services, have since aligned their regions to those of NSW Health. This reform is known as localisation.