Clear Staff Guidance Needed to Kickstart NDIS - Review
20 March 2014 at 4:09 pm
National Disability Insurance Scheme staff have a lack of clear guidance on the way the scheme operates, including eligibility and support, an independent review on the scheme has revealed.
The review, written by Jeff Whalan, Dr Peter Acton and Dr Jeff Harmer and commissioned by the Board of the NDIS Agency, was in response to requests last December for an assessment of the early operation of the scheme and the agency's capacity to plan and deliver a full rollout.
“Given the external pressures, not surprisingly, the Agency has devoted almost all its effort on commencement of the Scheme, and is now focused on meeting the targets that have been set around plan completion for this financial year,” the review said.
“This has been at the cost of planning for the next phases of the Scheme and building capability to make the next phases more achievable. It has also been at the cost of National Office and future planning.”
According to the review, the biggest impact of the decision to bring forward the start date of the NDIS is that all effort was on getting to the trial phase and insufficient effort was devoted to preparation for the next phases of the rollout for the Scheme.
“As a result, there are some challenges emerging. Many of these challenges are to be expected at this point in the Scheme,” the review said.
“They can be managed successfully, but will require major effort by the Leadership Team.”
The review also found that although the board, which was not established until July 1, 2013, was composed of nominees from State and Territory jurisdictions and while the members are high quality individuals, the selection process is not optimal for achieving the best mix of skill.
It also found that the data available from States was poorer than it would have been had there been time to cleanse it before commencement.
“As a result a lot of time has been spent trying to get clarity over which people are current customers of State services,” the review said.
“The capability of the Agency is weaker than it otherwise would have been and the systems and processes to help ensure consistency of approach are less developed.
It also found there was a lack of clear guidance for staff on the way the Scheme operates, including eligibility and reasonable and necessary support.
Most staff in the agency’s national offer were temporary, pending permanent recruitment to positions in Geelong, the review said.
The review made 14 recommendations including, getting senior management on the board; building the new leadership team by building “united leadership”; finalising recruitment for National Office and trial sites; and Improve internal communication.
Last June long-standing champion of disability reform in Australia, Bruce Bonyhady, was appointed Chair of the NDIA.