How Deputy Helps NDIS Professionals Reach Hundreds of Participants
At a glance
- Schedule qualified staff from any device — anywhere, anytime
- Support 300 people on staff for 130 clients with 40 people managing the rostering
- Flexible system to adapt to ongoing needs
The introduction of Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was an innovative development for disability services, giving participants control over their own care. And according to InLife CEO David Clarke, “It’s one of the biggest social policy reforms in Australia. The power is put in the hands of the consumer for the first time.”
David has an extensive background in management consulting, spending most of that time in the public sector and not-for-profit consulting. When Australia introduced the NDIS, David was already looking for a change from the demanding and impersonal nature of consulting. Inspired by the NDIS’ unique approach, David founded InLife, a disability support service, from the ground up.
InLife now cares for hundreds of clients, with a team of professionals on each case. The team at InLife supports clients and their carers with high quality, hassle-free personal assistance in the home, as well as providing on-going guidance as needed.
"The power is put in the hands of the consumer for the first time."
Rostering comes with higher stakes for a business such as InLife. Not only is it critical to ensure all shifts get filled, but the people in those shifts must have the necessary training. Otherwise, the client may not get the care they need.
"If the roster doesn't work or if somebody with the wrong skills is scheduled, it can impact a client’s whole day," says David. "As a client, you literally can’t function without the right support. In other businesses, you might be able to get around someone not showing up for their shift. But with our clients, that can be life-threatening."
So the usual rostering setbacks such as employees falling ill or needing to trade shifts could spell disaster for InLife’s clients. “Filling a shift at short notice is critical,” says David. “Being able to do that while out and about and not stuck at a desk is critical.”
The traditional rostering model is more centralized, with one person at the top setting the schedules for everyone. This can become complicated and time-consuming for any business. But when InLife manages hundreds of clients and their varied needs of care, the multiple factors that go into making a single schedule can be overwhelming.
Not only did InLife need easy-to-use scheduling software, but they also needed to rethink the traditional approach to rostering.
"In other businesses, you might be able to get around someone not showing up for their shift. But with our clients, that can be life-threatening."
David opted to use Deputy to solve his rostering woes from the start — and he hasn’t looked back.
The ability to change shifts at a moment’s notice from anywhere was a big drawcard for him. “One day, I was on a fishing trip on a Saturday morning and someone called in sick,” remembers David. “I was able to find a replacement — fishing rod in one hand and filling a shift in the other — without jeopardizing the safety of our client. That safety net is so key for our business.”
But David isn’t the only one doing the rostering. InLife threw out the traditional centralized rostering model in favor of something close to each client. There are currently more than a dozen frontline managers handling 10 to 12 clients each, with a pool of staff members assigned to each location. That means several people are involved with the final rostering, from the frontline manager to carers down to the clients themselves and their families.
This decentralized rostering system allows for more flexibility when needed and gives the client more control over their care plan. David feels this is an essential step in giving the clients their independence and dignity back. “Our team members do very personal work with clients, from helping them shower to changing their clothes,” says David. “Now clients can feel comfortable with who they schedule to help them.”
The functions don’t stop with rostering. In time, David worked with Deputy’s API to connect with other InLife systems for added benefits. By linking Deputy’s rostering software to a care management system in a custom build, InLife staff can work with the budget given to a client by the NDIS to make better rostering choices for them.
Simplifying the rostering process and moving away from a centralized model helped the InLife team spend less time on how to fill shifts and more time caring for their clients. And as David and his team look for ways to improve upon their system, Deputy software remains flexible enough to adapt to their changing needs.
"I was able to find a replacement — fishing rod in one hand and filling a shift in the other — without jeopardizing the safety of our client. That safety net is so key for our business."