National Brokerage Network

A Better Approach to Support Brokerage

The National Brokerage Network works in accordance with the Social Model of Disability and the Principles of Independent Living. It aims to promote empowerment to all disabled and disadvantaged people by supporting the individual to gain control of their lives and control the choices and decisions they make about the things important to them. NBN follows the following concepts of empowerment:

• Choice and control
• Identity
• Participation and Consultation
• Technology, Information, and Resources

The NBN believes that without all of these components empowerment is impossible to achieve. Everybody has to choose his or her own identity and be able to control the way in which they live, who they live with, and how they are supported. Participation and Consultation is needed to form our identity. Without political, social and ideological views how can we form a voice in our society? Information, Technology and Resources are all aids to achieving our identity – choice and control.

The NBN works within the Principles of Independent Living. This means the NBN will support an individual to take control of their lives with as much, or as little, support as they want. Independent living does not mean the amount of tasks that you can physically do, and it is not the name of a particular service. Independent living is about the choices that a disabled person can make with as much, or as little, support as needed. Independence is seen in terms of the quality of life with support, not the quantity of tasks, which can be performed without support.

The idea of brokerage seems simple – helping people to find their way through the often complex systems of disability support to a better life. However there has been a lot of confusion about what it should mean, who can do it and how it works. This important paper from the Chair of the National Brokerage Network provides a new starting point for brokerage:

  • Not another industry – just a new way lots of people can be more creative
  • Not a narrowly defined planning role – but working alongside people to make change happen
  • Not provided by a special group – an activity many people can do in many ways
  • Brokerage is not the answer to every problem – but it is a better way of thinking about how we can be allies and help change to happen as people take control over their own lives.

The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.

Re-Imagining Brokerage © Liz Leach 2015.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.