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NDIS Citizens’ Jury to Evaluate NDIS Participation

Tuesday, 17th February 2015 at 10:55 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
National Disability Insurance Scheme participants are being given the chance to speak about their experiences as part of a Citizens’ Jury taking place in Sydney, as a new Government public consultation process is launched into NDIS safeguards.

Tuesday, 17th February 2015
at 10:55 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist



NDIS Citizens’ Jury to Evaluate NDIS Participation
Tuesday, 17th February 2015 at 10:55 am

National Disability Insurance Scheme participants are being given the chance to speak about their experiences as part of a Citizens’ Jury taking place in Sydney, as a new Government public consultation process is launched into NDIS safeguards.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) is running the Citizens’ Jury which continues until Friday 20 February. A report will be provided in April 2015.

“This innovative model draws on some processes of a courtroom jury, targeting people who are not advocates and encouraging them to have a say on important issues,” PWDA said.

“The Jury will assess the extent to which the National Disability Insurance Agency is on-track to achieve the objectives of the NDIS and will identify areas for improvement in the future.

“The jury will hear direct responses from participants and will also develop a written scorecard.”

The Jury is made up of 12 randomly selected Australians, including six people with disability who will hear evidence from participants across the trial sites (except the Northern Territory).

Additionally, the Jury will hear from six ‘advocate witnesses’ — people with disability who have collated stories of at least 10 participants not already providing their story to the Jury.

“This first user-led national scorecard will be assessed and delivered by NDIS participants, as well as members of the broader Australian community who have helped fund this scheme,” PWDA President Craig Wallace said.

“A Citizens’ Jury with expert witnesses from trial sites is a perfect fit for the NDIS.

“Instead of rendering the verdict in- house, we are handing the task back to the real owners of this national reform.

“A trial of a serious national investment deserves a real jury with real evidence and testimony so we are using a Citizens’ Jury to enable a group of ordinary people to render a scorecard on this scheme after hearing from the real experts in the room – those actually receiving disability services under the new NDIS.

“They will be encouraged to ask hard questions and it is pleasing that the Agency itself has embraced this process as an opportunity to learn and build.”

“The results will be an important resource for the Australian people and in particular for people with disability waiting to enter the scheme, as well as policy makers and services providers working on the national roll out.

“This is a challenging person-centred process for a person-centred scheme.  It means that people with disability will be front and centre advising on the reform of the system and the transition to self-directed support.”

PWDA said the Citizens’ Jury is using the Productivity Commission’s 2011 report as a reference point in its assessment of the NDIS trial. It can be viewed at — http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/111272/disability-support-overview-booklet.pdf

The jurors and expert witnesses have been selected by newDemocracy Foundation, an independent, non-partisan research organisation that specialises in citizen participation.

A public consultation process has also been launched by the COAG Disability Reform Council – made up of State, Territory and Federal Disability Ministers – to discuss quality and safeguards for the NDIS.

The Disability Ministers said people with disability have a right to feel and be safe when using NDIS funded supports, and should have confidence that their provider has met rigorous quality standards.

"Some people with disability are more vulnerable to abuse, so we need a strong system to keep them safe,” the Chair of the Council, the Federal Assistant Minister for Social Services Senator Mitch Fifield, said.

The Ministers said the consultations are about finding the best ways to ensure all NDIS registered providers offer services that are safe and effective, while ensuring participants have choice and control when choosing a provider.

“The development of a new quality and safeguarding framework is an opportunity to streamline the rules across all states and territories to make it easier for people with disability and service providers,” Fifield said.

The consultation paper outlines a range of options for registering providers, handling complaints and screening of staff to ensure they are safe to work with people who may be vulnerable.

“We want to hear what impact different options could have on people with disability and providers. This will help us develop a nationally consistent, quality and safeguarding framework,” Fifield said.

The Council encouraged all people with disability, their families and carers, service providers and advocacy groups to get involved in the consultations by making a submission on all or any of the issues, attending a public meeting or joining the discussion in the online forum.

The consultations open today and will close on 30 April 2015.

Go to https://engage.dss.gov.au/ to download the consultation paper.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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