Good Chance to Get NDIS Right - Expert
15 April 2014 at 11:35 am
The Government is in a good position to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme effectively, despite many doubters claiming it will run late, cost more than expected and deliver less than promised, claims an industry expert.
The claim is in response to an independent review on the NDIS which found that the decision to bring forward the start date of the NDIS had been at the cost of planning for the next phases of the Scheme and building capability to make the next phases more achievable.
However Bruce Nixon, IT systems expert and Chief Executive Officer of Holocentric, said it did not need to be that way and that now was the time to invest in building a business model that ensured the $7 billion per annum NDIS budget got to the people in need.
“This is a great opportunity to deliver a program effectively,” Nixon said.
“Building a model that simulates the operating environment will reduce risk and allow the model to be tuned prior to implementation rather than trying to make adjustments after going live and having to rectify mistakes. It is like manoeuvring a tugboat rather than a battleship.”
Nixon said the NDIS was a large, complex and ambitious scheme but was very worthwhile.
He said governments’ track-record of delivering large programs, particularly large information and communication technologies, was very poor.
“Recent disasters” by governments were the Queensland Department of Health’s payroll system and the Northern Territory Government’s asset management system, he said.
“The traditional approach is to engage a large consultancy and expect them to take responsibility for the implementation. If this approach is taken, it is most unlikely to be delivered on-time,” Nixon said.
“The building of a sound business model will certainly take time. However, this time will be easily recouped through savings in later stages, avoiding a great amount of re-work and delays and there will be an overall net saving. It is like putting the foundations on place before building a skyscraper.”
He said one of the immediate issues with the Scheme’s rollout was its move from Canberra to Geelong and “capturing the knowledge” of staff before they depart.
“A lot of people will be involved and a lot of those people are in temporary positions,” he said
“There is a high likelihood that a lot of gain will be lost … the Government could look at a means of capturing knowledge before they depart.”
He said procedures for a handover need to be captured in a more formal manner and in electronic form.
“They need to make sure they capturing the knowledge in electronic form so it can be built on and used in the future,” he said.
“For each trial, bring back those learnings from those trials and build that into best practice and again put it into the business model.
“It’s a complex program that involves a lot of people across the country. It’s best interest to have strong coordination and clear accountability for all the various stakeholders.”
Disability sector leaders have rallied behind the NDIS in response to what one has called a “damning” review of the early implementation of the scheme, with some saying the the Government needs to take the time to get the NDIS right.