Nothing about us – without us. Everybody knows the People First slogan – and everybody agrees to the sentiment – but in practice there is a massive lack of practical models and ideas to implement this demand. nueva provides answers and ways forward.
The issue of nueva is quality. We are the experts of our lives. This mantra is not only relevant in day-to-day services for people with disabilities, but also a very helpful approach for identifying the quality from a service user perspective. And this includes service users with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Our goal is to make users of services for people with learning difficulties and disabilities a strong counterpart to authorities and service providers.
The first aim of nueva is to empower people with disabilities to act as informed consumers in the social services market. They should get valid and relevant information to make their own choices where and how they would like to live and work.
Looking at the quality of services, authorities and management often focus on structural quality. Our question is different: how would people with learning difficulties and disabilities define quality of services from their perspective?
Who else should be the first to decide and define how services should be tailored to the needs of the customers? And we cannot see any reason why this should not be true for the customers of sheltered workshops, training courses, residential homes or assisted living services.
Two facts might be the reason why this aspect of quality was not given such importance before:
- for a long time people with disabilities were not seen as real customers of services.
- challenges in involving people with learning difficulties and disabilities in a user driven evaluation led to the wrong judgement that this was not possible at all.
So what we know today is: yes, it is not easy to carry out an evaluation going below the surface of user satisfaction, but – again yes: all our experience and the scientific research show that our model works.
nueva enables people to have a say about how services should work. nueva enables own choices, meaning choices made on the basis of relevant information about the different offers, empowering people with learning difficulties to take on new roles. On the one hand to act as powerful consumers and on the other to work as evaluators, as experts for quality with regular working contracts.
Milestones of nueva:
- Users define the quality criteria themselves: with nueva service users have a strong say in the process of defining the intended standard for a single organisation or a country. Practically this entails: At the beginning of an new evaluation period a team of government staff, representatives of service providers and service users discuss and mutually decide along the questions of the nueva questionnaire which results should be accepted or seen as beyond the limits for each type of service. This process is also the starting point of the work if we only evaluate one service. In such a case the team brings together management, staff and users. After the evaluation (after the interviews) the concrete results are compared with the intended limits and consequences can be discussed, if necessary.
- service users work as evaluators: What we want to highlight is that we do not think that peers are „per se“ adequate evaluators.The experience in the field and the attribute „peer“ is only one side of the qualification of nueva evaluators. The other aspect is a very intensive training, including not only the handling of the nueva tools but as well all topics like technique of taking interviews,presentation training.
- difference between evaluation of consumer satisfaction and nueva. Users are not primarily asked if they like what they get but what they get. nueva primarily asks how things are. The questions relate to daily life and are therefore easy to respond to. If the subject nueva is asking for is an abstract one, where you cannot ask directly, nueva tries to find items as indicators for that abstract criterion.
- objective criteria, because they lead to comparable results. So it would not make sense to compare the degree of personal satisfaction with the number of people living in a residential unit as a criterion for the quality of the service. Some users might judge a big old style house as pretty nice, while others might consider everything bigger than a two person unit too big.
nueva is organised as a social franchise model by atempo. nueva works in Austria, Germany and in different projects in Europe. So it is possible to apply nueva in different countries.
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