NDIS Citizens’ Jury Scorecard Rates Well
19 May 2015 at 11:12 am
People With Disability Australia (PWDA) has hailed the success of the NDIS Citizens’ Jury Scorecard report, saying it has uncovered deep and meaningful feedback.
“We welcome this scorecard, which comes directly from those receiving disability services under the NDIS and a group of those paying for it. This is in effect a report for the ‘shareholders’ of the NDIS, Australian taxpayers,” PWDA President Craig Wallace said.
PWDA coordinated the review by a randomly selected jury of 12 to gain a real understanding of the trail NDIS sites in action.
Wallace said the process was invaluable, providing useful and appropriate feedback on a system integral to the well being of people with a disability.
However, he said the jury raised some issues of concern.
He said, it was worrying that independent advocates were denied access to residents of the only institution involved in the NDIS trial.
The Stockton Centre in the NSW Hunter region, which is home to 337 residents, has been earmarked for closure between 2015 and 2018. A campaign to keep the centre operational has persisted.
Wallace said institutions such as Stockton were quite Dickensian. “We were shocked to find that we couldn’t even get to talk to people who had indicated they were keen to be involved.
“We know that people are vulnerable in these places and it is a real worry that those people couldn’t have access to this process,” he said.
“We have said that because the advocate witness in the Hunter trial was prevented from gaining access to participants in the Stockton Centre, we are actually calling on the Centre to allow independent advocates to offer support to participants.
“We believe this should be a mandatory condition of the NDIS when working with people in closed and segregated spaces.”
Wallace said the jury also expressed some concerns about jurisdictions withdrawing too early from the current funding arrangements.
“We have some reports of State Governments and parts of the Federal Government withdrawing completely from services that people with disabilities need.to take part in everyday life – like information services.
“These things are happening way too early before the NDIS has a chance to step up.”
Wallace said where State Governments were withdrawing entirely from services in areas outside NDIS trial sites, some of the blame is being shifted back “unfairly” to the NDIS.
He said the Commonwealth had also cut information services for people with a disability, at least 12 months out from the implementation of the NDIS.
“As a result, some people with disabilities are feeling like they have got less services now. That’s not because of the NDIS support. It is because of sequencing and phasing of different funding arrangements.”
Wallace said the jury had given the NDIS a strong path to follow.
The Jury’s verdict
The citizens’ jury was unanimous in affirming the intent, ethos and rationale for the NDIS.
The independent process found the NDIS is already recording successes and enabling quality of life outcomes for some people with disability that would otherwise be unattainable.
The results identify some areas for improvement during the planning process, including:
Planners need to be well resourced and have the right skills
There is a need to ensure collaboration between planners and Local Area Coordinators (LAC)
The LAC role is vital to locate the supports people need
There is also an opportunity to develop the skills and capacity amongst participants as well as a need to accelerate information, linkages and capacity building (ILC) supports.
A number of the recommendations confirm the benefits of independent advocacy and advice to support people throughout the planning process.
The jury identified some risks to mitigate during rollout of the NDIS, including:
The risk of jurisdictions withdrawing from services too early
Reductions in support being received outside of the trial sites
Avoiding the risk of uneven transition of power from some current service providers to the NDIS participants, based on the change from the block-funding model to the NDIS participant funding controlled model.
The scorecard was released today at the National Disability Insurance Agency in Geelong.