Local Area Coordination (LAC) was developed in Western Australia in the late 1980s.
The approach was first trialled in New Zealand by the Ministry of Health in the Bay of Plenty from 2011 to 2013. It has since been extended to Otago and Southland, the Hutt Valley and the Lakes District through other organisations.
AccessAbility provides LAC to people from birth to 65 years of age in areas of Southland and Central Otago.
Twelve principles guide Local Area Coordination in Aotearoa. These principles are underpinned by the:
- Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (partnership, protection and participation)
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- NZ Disability Strategy and
- Carers’ Strategy.
- As citizens, disabled people have the same rights and responsibilities as all other people to participate in and contribute to the life of the community.
- Disabled people and families supporting disabled people are best placed to determine their own goals, and to plan for the future either independently, as a family, or supported by advocates of their choice.
- Families, friends and personal supports are the foundations of a rich and valued life in the community.
- Disabled people and their families have natural authority and are best placed to be their most powerful and enduring leaders, decision makers and advocates.
- Maori disabled people are recognised as tāngata whenua. Their aspirations, rights and needs will be met in ways that support their identity, beliefs, values and practices as individuals within whānau.
- The aspirations, rights and needs of diverse cultural groups are understood and respected in ways that support their identity, languages, beliefs, values and practices.
- Access to information that is timely, accurate and available in appropriate formats enables people to make appropriate decisions and to gain more control over their life.
- Communities are enriched by the inclusion and participation of disabled people, and these communities are the most important way of providing friendship, support and a meaningful life to people with disabilities and/or their families and carers.
- The lives of disabled people and/or their families are enhanced when they can determine their preferred supports and services and control the required resources, to the extent that they desire
- Services and supports provided through LAC complement and support the primary role of families, carers and communities in achieving a good life for disabled people. These services and supports should not take over or exclude the natural supports that already exist or could be developed.
- Partnerships between individuals, families and carers, communities, governments, service providers and the business sector are vital in meeting the needs of disabled people.
- Disabled people have a life-long capacity for learning, development and contribution.