Using coproduction to enhance culturally responsive disability services

Stream: Disability and diversity
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 10.45 am – 12.25 pm


Australian disability services organisations are attempting to provide culturally responsive supports to service users in the context of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The scheme highlights the need for services to support empowerment and personalized services for people with disability. Little empirical evidence is available about how to organise culturally responsive disability services in this new context. This qualitative case study examined how an Australian disability service organisation worked with Australian Chinese people with disability and their families to develop its cultural responsiveness. The organisation employed coproduction as an approach through which it learnt from the participants what they needed and what they perceived as culturally appropriate disability supports. It progressively changed its practices based on this information. These efforts engendered the participants’ trust and opened further opportunities for the organisation to continue to learn how to better support the participants. The upward learning process triggered by coproduction helped the organisation to enhance its cultural responsiveness. Findings of this study suggest that social services organisations can apply coproduction to increase their cultural responsiveness. An implication for practice is that an organisation can demonstrate its capacity to provide culturally responsive practices by working with and learning from participants to change its practices.


Qian Fang (Presenter), SRPC, UNSW
Qian Fang's research approaches the study of social policy through the lens of social services Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Her research interests are NGO accountability management; culturally responsiveness in disability services; high-technology and the implications for disability services; and social welfare policies in China.

Karen Fisher, SPRC, UNSW
Karen Fisher is a Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre. Her research interests are the organisation of social services in Australia and China; disability and mental health policy; inclusive research and evaluation; and social policy process.