A closer look at how co-design contributes to greater inclusion

Trust, diversity and inclusion, changing mindsets and systems, and power sharing were some themes that emerged at the Co-design and disability inclusion webinar.
9 May 2022

Trust, diversity and inclusion, changing mindsets and systems, and power sharing were some of the themes that emerged during conversation at the recently held Co-design and disability inclusion webinar.

More than 170 people from across government and the disability community joined the webinar, which was led by co-facilitators, Dr George Taleporos, Chair of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC), and Amanda Lawrie-Jones, VDAC member.

Why co-design and how do we define it?

The purpose of the webinar was to explore the practice of co-design, one of six key reform areas of the newly released Inclusive Victoria: State disability plan 2022-26.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Anthony Carbines MP started the session by acknowledging the importance of the ‘nothing about us without us’ principle in supporting greater disability inclusion. He also emphasised the value of working more collaboratively in government.

Argiri Alisandratos, Deputy Secretary of the Children, Families, Community and Disability Division at DFFH provided an overview of Inclusive Victoria and noted that the webinar was part of an ongoing conversation with people with disability on what co-design is.

In the state disability plan, co-design is defined as ‘working in partnership with people with disability when designing policies, programs and services’.

Panel discussions

A positive and engaging conversation rounded off the event, with panel members made up of key representatives from the Victorian disability community, government and community sector including:

  • Jen Hargrave, Policy Officer, Women with Disabilities Victoria
  • Ruby Susan Mountford, Pride Foundation Australia
  • Amanda Allen-Toland, Director, Aboriginal Strategy and Oversight Branch, DFFH
  • Melanie Rayment, Director of Consulting, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)

Each of the panel members shared their rich and varied experiences and insights, responding to three main questions: what is co-design, where have you seen it work well, and what needs to happen for co-design to work well.

Some of the common factors discussed as contributing to successful co-design included: the importance of building trust and relationships, deep listening and taking action, investing appropriate time and energy and being committed to achieving results.

Recognising that people are the experts in their life experiences and giving communities the time and space to think, talk, contribute and come up with solutions was also discussed.

Watch the webinar

To watch a video of the webinar, visit Co-design and disability inclusion.