Welcome to Melba Support Services   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to Melba Support Services

Individuals and Families

Welcome to Melba

We are looking forward to meeting you and learning more about you. We want to provide regular updates about what’s happening as we work towards a smooth transition of services, especially for all the individuals we will support.

Who we are

For 45 years Melba Support Services has been committed to providing people with disabilities truly individualised services focused on creating more choice and greater control for each person, over their life.

What we do

We support people with disability to live fabulous lives of their choice. We provide a wide variety of supports, including individualised support, day services, community living, recreation and respite, and support coordination.

Our mission and vision

Read our mission and vision here.

Our commitment to human rights

Melba is passionate about human rights and ensuring everyone is heard and respected.

Newsletters for individuals and families

Information sheets for transferring individuals and families – Easy English

Download the following Easy English information sheets:
Melba’s Vision, Purpose and Values (PDF, 225KB)
The Melba Way (PDF, 240KB)
The NDIS and You (PDF, 380KB)
Your Personal Information – Privacy and Confidentiality (PDF, 608KB)
Keeping You Safe – Zero Tolerance Policy (PDF, 584KB)
Participants Rights and Responsibilities (PDF, 489KB)
Feedback, Compliments and Complaints (PDF, 286KB)
Melba Planning (PDF, 335KB)
Personal Outcome Measures (PDF, 748KB)
About Restrictive Interventions and Behavior Support Plans (PDF, 212KB)
SDA SIL and Core NDIS Funds (PDF, 424KB)
Accommodation fees and charges (PDF, 3MB)
Advocacy: The role of families and advocates (PDF, 362KB)
Support Coordination (PDF, 342KB)
Plan Management (PDF, 358KB)
Transport (PDF, 461KB)
Your service agreement (PDF, 500KB)
Continuity of Support (PDF, 158KB)
Advisory Groups (PDF, 264KB)

FAQ for individuals and families

Download the FAQ document (DOCX, 2 MB)


Melba Support Services Questions and answers – families forums November 2018

[*DHHS will also answer these questions from a
government perspective in its families Q&A]

About us

1. What is your experience with disability support services in Victoria?

Melba has supported individuals with disabilities for over 45 years. We have a long and successful history of providing support to residents, whether they live in shared supported accommodation or in private arrangements. We manage services that operate on a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week basis, as well as day support, respite, support coordination, planning and individual support arrangements. Over the years, we have grown in size and scope, continually re-envisioning and reshaping our support responses based on what people want and need. A strong belief that services can always improve, underpins Melba’s service model, enabling individuals to have flexibly tailored and creative support options of their choice.
From the beginning, our organisation has supported individuals with very high and complex needs, including those with behaviours of concern and individuals requiring high levels of medical support. Our focus on the individual means that we work with each person to understand their goals and their unique support requirements so that we can tailor a support response that will genuinely meet their needs.

2. Where will your offices be?

Our regional offices are currently located in Lilydale, Dandenong, and Ballarat. We are seeking a new office in Gippsland where the regional office will be located in the Moe, Morwell and Traralgon ‘triangle’.

3. Can you help with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?

Yes. Melba understands that the NDIS is a very big change and that each person, and his or her family, will want the best possible outcome. Melba will be assisting each person, and his or her family, through the process of applying for NDIS funding to meet their day-to-day requirements in their home and community. Our skilled planners will work with the person, his or her family, a preferred staff member or advocate to achieve the best possible plan.

4. What is going to change immediately after the transfer?

Melba is working toward having as few changes as possible. Our goal is to provide a comfortable transfer process where everyone feels that they know, and understand, what is happening and how it will work for them. When we identify a change, we will let you know what it is, how it will work and provide any assistance required. When we meet with each person and his/her support network, we will bring along information about any change and work through it with you so that you are comfortable and confident with how things will happen after the transfer.

5. What will the first day after the transfer look like?

It is our hope that the first day after transfer will look and feel like it did the day before with the rostered staff that you usually see on that day.

6. What can we expect will change in the longer term?

Melba will work with the person we support, and their family and support network, to shape the service to meet their specific needs and preferences. Changes will therefore be driven by personal choice and any adjustment to personal needs.


7. Can we choose our own support coordinator?

Yes. Melba believes that every person should choose their own Support Coordinator. When we meet with you to discuss the NDIS, we will bring a list of organisations that provide Support Coordination, including their contact details, so that you can decide which Support Coordinator is right for you.

8. You recently held forums with DHHS staff – how did they go?

The forums with DHHS staff went well. Most staff attended, were open in raising their questions and receptive to the information we provided about Melba, our history and values.

9. How will you ensure we have staff with the right expertise?

First of all, we hope all the staff currently working in the service will agree to transfer with the service. If new or additional staff are needed, either at the beginning or overtime, we will recruit, select and train the new staff so that they have the right approach and skills to effectively meet their responsibilities. We support all staff to develop, and continue developing, the skills they need. Melba has a strong Orientation and Induction Program for all new employees. Melba is committed to ensuring positive support for staff through regular support meetings, team meetings and personalised planning for learning and development. Subsequent training is arranged based on the professional development needs of both the individual and groups of employees. Our goal is to ensure relevance and practicability. Melba will continue to provide mandatory training programs. In addition, Melba will provide skilled and qualified mentors and coaches in the specialised support areas of complex communication, complex health and positive behaviour support.

10. How do you recruit and ensure quality skilled staff?

Melba uses a variety of approaches to recruit staff including traditional methods, social media and, most effectively, word of mouth. Our primary focus when recruiting staff is on identifying potential employees with the right values and passion for the work we do.

11. Will there be roster flexibility to respond to sudden events that come up?

Melba understands the need for roster flexibility to support both planned and unplanned events. We will work with the person and his or her family to ensure whenever possible that the right support is provided as and when it is required, whether that is to ensure support if unexpected illness arises or to take advantage of a great social opportunity.

12. What is your approach to minimising casual or unfamiliar agency staff and ensuring there is a consistent and trained casual pool?

Melba does this in several ways. Our information technology system specifically identifies part-time and casual staff who are familiar with and preferred by the particular participant. This is always our first port of call. If these staff are unavailable, Melba will use other less familiar casuals who have been inducted to Melba’s approach or agency staff who have familiarity with the participants and service. All staff are required to support new or casual staff when they work in the service.

13. In my group home there is a staff member called a ‘key worker’ who makes sure my family member’s plans are up to date, appointments are booked etc. Will you have a similar system?

Melba also has key workers for each person and the role is the same. We will continue to offer this support to ensure that each individual has the support they need to maintain their plans, ensure communication with families and other support providers, as well as organise appointments.

14. Do you have on-call, after hours support staff for weekends and after hours? If so, how does this work?

Melba has an effective and responsive after-hours on-call system. We will continue to operate such supports following transfer of DHHS services. We will provide more information on how Melba’s on-call system operates when we meet you.


15. Will we need a new NDIS Service Agreement/ Residential Statement for the Supported Independent Living (SIL) service?

Yes, each person will need a new Residential Statement. After we meet with you and your family member to develop an NDIS Plan for your residential service, and after funding has been approved, there will also be a need to sign an NDIS Service Agreement. We will work with each person and his or her family to understand what has changed and provide relevant information. We will work through the new agreements with you and answer any questions you may have before the agreements are signed.

16. How is SIL funding decided?

It starts with a discussion about what each person needs from their residential service including all direct support and transport. That discussion results in an agreed plan that is sent to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The NDIA makes the decision about funding for that person. If you are unhappy with their decision, you can appeal the decision.

17. Will residents still be able to do the things they enjoy and go to places they want to visit?

Melba is here to help each person to enjoy the life they choose, to go where they want to go and to do the things that they like. Our planning process will assist to ensure that we understand what is important to him or her and support each person to do the things that they want to do. We are flexible and creative in supporting each person to find and enjoy new activities and connections in the community.

18. Who do we speak to if I am unhappy in my house?

Melba wants all of the people we support to let us know about anything that concerns them or makes them unhappy, whether it seems small or is a big issue. We believe that you can and should speak to the person you are most comfortable with. Whether that is an advocate, staff member, House Supervisor, Manager, Regional Manager, the Chief Operations Officer or the Chief Executive Officer, we want to hear about it. We will work with you to resolve any concern quickly and responsively. We will provide our complaints policy and procedure to all the people we support and their families. We also respect your right to make a complaint to the Disability Services Commissioner.

19. Can residents move house if they want to?

Under the NDIS, a person is able to move if they want to. The difficulty may be that there is no house or unit immediately available. Melba will support any resident who would like to consider different options, or to move to a new home, to achieve their goal of living in a different place.

20. Will we still receive the same number of respite days that we get with DHHS (which may be over the 28 day cap)?

Melba understands how important respite is for families and the person they support. We will work with each family to ensure that the level of service and support will continue within available funding. Melba will also be establishing a respite innovation project to expand respite options, enabling a greater choice and flexibility of support possibilities.

21. How do we make a respite booking?

Melba is developing a respite booking system that will enable on-line or paper or telephone bookings. We will work with current Respite (STAA) House Supervisors and Operations Managers to ensure a reliable, family-friendly approach to bookings.

22. Will respite bookings be honoured?

Melba will honour existing respite bookings, unless there is a compelling reason, such as a significant incompatibility. If this occurs, we will work with the family and staff to offer an alternative arrangement that achieves a positive respite outcome.
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23. How will resident vacancies be managed? How will you assess the compatibility of residents? Will you fill all vacancies in houses even if this has the potential to cause issues?*

In the future, the Supported Disability Accommodation (SDA) provider will be responsible for filling vacancies. In most cases, DHHS will continue to be responsible for the houses and is the SDA provider. As the service provider, we will work closely with the SDA provider to assist selection of a new resident who is compatible and will enjoy living in that home.

24. How will board and lodging work, for example, how will you collect housekeeping money?

DHHS is providing information on how each service operates now. With the separation of property management from support delivery, there is a unique and exciting opportunity to work with each household to understand how they would like it to work in the future.

Costs and funding

25. How will you support my family member to manage the money they need day to day e.g. personal spending money?

Melba believes the way that each person is supported to manage day-to-day funds currently will, by-in-large, continue. We are working through a process with DHHS to decide what, if any, changes may be required in the future.

26. Do you charge extra for excursions?

The answer to this depends on the nature of the excursion. If there is an entry or ticket cost or if there is a meal cost, we expect each person to pay their own expenses. If there are additional staff costs, we would need to consider how this was to be funded. Options would include available NDIS funding, service savings or flexibility with allocated individual support hours.

27. Will the Resident Trust Fund through Australian Unity still exist?

Again, Melba is considering the best way forward for management of the Residential Trust Funds. Melba believes it is not appropriate for a SIL provider to operate Trust Funds for residents and will therefore be arranging a solution that operates similarly to that currently offered. This may be Australian Unity or an alternate provider. Melba will work with each person and his or her family to ensure that they know how we will support them with funds management prior to the transfer.

28. What is your ability to have emergency contingencies e.g. if a resident needs to suddenly stay home due to illness for several weeks?

Melba has a genuine commitment to each person, their health, safety and well-being. Emergencies and illness do happen and we have the flexibility to manage our resources to ensure that each person’s needs are met.

Including families

29. Will residents and their families get a say in how the houses are run?

Melba wants, and needs, to hear what each person and their family has to say about household management. We are committed to working with you in a way that ensures that each person gets the support they need in the way they want to receive it and that includes household management.

30. How do you communicate with families?

Melba will work with each person, and his/her family, to understand what they would like to hear, when they would like communication and how best to meet personal choices in regard to communication. We will always contact you in the case of illness, injury or incident.

31. How can we be confident that you will deliver quality services?

Melba has a demonstrated track record of delivering high quality services. We have achieved international quality accreditation with distinction from the Council of Quality and Leadership (USA), a rare and valued achievement. We have also been accredited by SAI Global.
We measure the quality and responsiveness of our services through the ‘Personal Outcomes Measurement’ approach. Planning, based on individual needs and aspirations, enables us to set clear measures for whether the desired outcome is being achieved. These personal outcome measures are reviewed every time the plan is reviewed and refined, or anytime that a review is requested. Trust, confidence and respect are earned though and we hope that by doing what we say we will do, and by supporting your family member to lead a great life, we will gain your confidence over time as has occurred with those who currently purchase our services.

32. How can we contact you with our questions?

We welcome contact with you at any time. Please feel free to contact us at 1 300 MyMelba (1 300 696 352) or MyMelba@melbasupport.com.au

Supporting people with complex needs

33. Will you ensure services are tailored to our individual needs?

Melba designs each service to meet the needs of the individual. The person’s plans tell us what is important to them and for them. Our supports are then arranged to meet those requirements. We also know that people’s needs and choices change over time and we work with them to achieve refinement to their support to ensure that their needs and preferences continue to be met in ways that are relevant to them at that time.

34. How will you make sure complex needs are supported properly?

Since it began, Melba has responded to the needs of people with the most complex needs. We will have coach/mentors led by practice leaders in key areas that support those with complex needs. Our specialist staff include those with specific expertise in complex communication, including both formal and informal systems as well as technological solutions. We also have specialist staff committed to assisting each person who needs it with constructive and effective positive behaviour support. Individuals who have or develop complex health needs will also have the benefit of a practice leader who can ensure a safe and appropriate support response. Finally, we have a team of skilled planners who can work with each and every person to ensure that their supports are structured in a way that responds to their unique requirements.

35. How will you cater to dietary needs?

Through individualised planning, we identify and document each person’s dietary needs and preferences, ensuring that any specific allergies, dislikes or intolerances are clearly documented and that staff are alerted to the requirements. We take the advice of family and doctors, and engage the services of dieticians if required. Our response is customised to meet the needs of that person and we continually review that response to ensure that it is successful, consistent and refined if required.

36. How will you support residents if they have no family to access advocacy?

Melba believes that every resident should have access to an independent advocate if that is what they want. For residents who do not have family who can advocate on their behalf, we will seek out an external advocate to support their communication and decision-making. For those with higher support requirements, we will welcome the involvement of a guardian and/or formal administrator to look after their interests.
We note also that Melba has a strong peer support advocacy network that can support any person to enhance their own self-advocacy skills.

37. What happens to those over the age of 65?

Individuals who are over the age of 65 years will continue to live in their home. Their funding will come from the ‘Continuity of Support’ program with the aim of receiving the same level of support that they currently enjoy.

Quality control

38. What systems are in place to ensure that residents are safe and quality services are delivered?

Safety is important to you and to us. We support safety by ensuring that our staff are well trained and through our exceptionally strong focus on human rights. We do not tolerate any form of abuse or neglect and will act quickly and decisively where concerns are raised. We believe you the first time, every time.
Melba has a strong quality assurance system that supports service delivery to be consistent, reliable and person-centred. Melba is accredited, at ‘distinction’ level, by the Council on Quality and Leadership (USA) under its Person-centred Excellence accreditation framework and by SAI Global against the Victorian DHHS Standards.

39. Who will be checking that quality services are delivered every day? How often will managers visit houses?

Melba believes that managers and senior managers need to be very familiar with every service. Our expectation is that managers attend the service regularly. Visits should occur at different times of the day so that the Manager can meet with residents and different employees. Regional General Managers will attend the service every few months but can be invited anytime that residents or their family members feel that their presence can be helpful.

40. Who do I speak to if we are unhappy about the way you are running a house?

As in our response to question 18 above, Melba wants all of the people we support to let us know about anything that concerns them or makes them unhappy, whether it seems a small or big issue. We believe that you can and should speak to the person you are most comfortable with. Whether that is an advocate, staff member, House Supervisor, Manager, Regional Manager, the Chief Operations Officer or the Chief Executive Officer, we want to hear about it. We will work with you to resolve any concern quickly and responsively. We will provide our complaints policy and procedure to all the people we support and their families.
In addition, Melba has a ‘Protected Disclosure Policy’. This policy can be found on our website and each person, and his or her family, will receive a copy of the policy in their information folder before transfer. Under this policy, any person can raise a confidential concern or complaint, anonymously if preferred, and have it received and reviewed by an independent organisation.

41. Will you fix existing issues, such as poor staff performance?

Melba welcomes the raising of any and all concerns. If there is a concern about staff performance, we hope you will raise it with us so that we can work with you to resolve the matter. Melba does engage specialist, independent industrial relations consultants who can review and assess the concern or complaint and provide a constructive way forward to achieving an appropriate response.

42. Who is accountable for the safety of clients after the transfer?

Melba is responsible, open and accountable, for ensuring the safety of each person we support. Each person deserves to feel safe, and to be safe, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

43. How do you manage investigations?

If an investigation is required, it will be conducted with the skills and expertise required to ensure a thorough investigation. Investigations are undertaken in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and are documented appropriately. We seek to implement the recommendations of any investigation in a timely fashion.

44. How will you build a relationship with other services residents use e.g. day programs?

Melba is proud of its record of developing positive relationships with other services that residents use, as well as developing effective connections within the broader community that enable engagement and new opportunities. We build these relationships, one person at a time. We support a partnership approach through good communication, a clear understanding of each provider or partner’s role and a continued focus on quality outcomes for the person.


45. Will residents get the same access to transport as they do now?

Yes. Melba has committed to ensuring that residents have the same access to transport that they do now, whether that is to go to medical appointments, a social engagement, shopping or day activity. Where possible, we will seek to improve access to transport over time understanding its importance.

46. What transport arrangements for each group home will be in place?

Transport arrangements will be established with the aim of meeting the specific needs of the people living in any particular service. We will have a ‘Transport Plan’ for each service so that the way transport is organised is clear to each person, their family and the staff. This ‘Transport Plan’ can be reviewed and adjusted to meet changing needs and preferences.

47. Our house has access to government cars on the weekend. Will this continue?

No. Melba will not have access to government cars after transfer. We are looking at all current transport use and will ensure that the transport needs of the residents continue to be met. We will commit funding to purchase new vehicles where necessary to maintain existing transport services.

Contact Us

Melba is keen to hear your feedback. If you would like to talk to us, please call on 1300MYMELBA, email
mymelba@melbasupport.com.au, or use the below contact form.

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