More living independently

While the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is making good progress as it is rolled out across Australia — with more than 142,000 Australians now benefitting from the NDIS — the need to continually improve the experience that people with disability as well as service providers have with the Scheme is recognized by the Board and management.

The Review was initially announced by the Board in April 2017 to address feedback from participants, families, carers and providers that, for many, their experience had fallen short of their expectations. This Report describes in more detail how participants, their families and carers and providers have and will interact in the future with the Scheme and the NDIA. The Review focused on engaging with participants, providers, significant disability organisations and other stakeholders through workshops and one-on-one interviews.  The objective was to understand their experience; to generate ideas for improvement; and to redesign and validate new improved participant and provider pathways. Through this process, the Agency heard from more than 300 participants, providers and other stakeholders, including listening to more than 70 in-depth stories from individual participants, family members and carers. The Independent Advisory Council also provided significant feedback. Overall, participants said they wanted more transparency and to feel more engaged, understood and supported throughout their interactions with the NDIS. Participants also emphasised the need for easy-to-understand, clear and accessible communications. Central to the new participant pathway is the commitment to face-to-face engagement for all NDIS plan development, if this is the participant's preference.

Providers also wanted clearer and more consistent information and policy guidance, "to be able to resolve issues more easily", as well as improvements to the portal and payment processes. Work is underway in both these areas. An improved, web-based, interactive and easy-to-navigate Provider Toolkit was launched on 10 November 2017. The Toolkit is the primary resource to assist businesses that are considering entering the scheme, with the new platform including e-learning modules and self-assessment checklists. Market information products are also being progressively developed and released to assist in making business decisions about how to meet the growth in the market and benefit from the opportunities the NDIS presents. 

Further work is being progressed to tailor the participant pathway to meet the additional needs of people with disability in specific population groups such as young children, people with more complex needs, people with psychosocial disability, people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, people living in remote and very remote communities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Tailored pathways recognise that some participants may need help to navigate the general pathway; especially-skilled or knowledgeable planners to work with them; or information that is culturally sensitive and/or accessible. The NDIS commenced on 1 July, 2013 in several trial locations across the country. During the three-year trial period, 30,000 Australians with disability entered the Scheme. Following the successful trial, the national rollout commenced on 1 July, 2016. The NDIS was introduced in stages around the country over three years, reflecting the scale and complexity of the reform and the need to ensure it delivers positive outcomes for participants. The NDIS will provide about 460,000 Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live an ordinary life, including personal care and support, access to the community, therapy services and essential equipment.

This story More living independently first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.