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Stop Speculating and Get on with NDIS Practicalities

9 February 2016 at 9:58 am
Staff Reporter
Disability service providers need to shift the focus away from speculation and onto getting their houses in order before the NDIS 1 July start date, writes strategist George Liacos who analyses five ways for organisations to succeed in the new financial year.

Staff Reporter | 9 February 2016 at 9:58 am


Stop Speculating and Get on with NDIS Practicalities
9 February 2016 at 9:58 am

Disability service providers need to shift the focus away from speculation and onto getting their houses in order before the NDIS 1 July start date, writes strategist George Liacos who analyses five ways for organisations to succeed in the new financial year.

The rollout of the NDIS is looming. There is still much ambiguity and uncertainty as to the details of this massive change. One thing is certain, however – there is unrest and concern across the sector as to how the next six months will unfold.

I have been involved in many facets of this complex transition over the past year. From running workshops in Canberra between the NDIA and mainstream service providers, to facilitating workshops with major disability service providers, to creating and presenting official NDIA material relating to new business models in the changed environment.

This experience has led to the development of a number of insights, however the dominating one for the moment is that, for service providers, is that time is of the essence.

While there is much continuous work to be done at the strategic level and on organisations’ business models, now it is vital to focus on the imminent. The practical. What’s actually going to happen on day one?

In a nutshell, disability service providers need to bed down their new service and operating models. Many are still focussed on speculating about the details of the program – what exactly will be covered, and how.

It’s time to shift focus away from speculation and onto getting your house in order.

I asked one service provider recently, point blank, what their therapists would do on 1 July . They couldn’t answer.

The unrest between executive and frontline staff continues to build the longer “on the ground” questions (e.g. how will bookings be made, contracts generated and payments processed) remain unanswered.

This highlights the need to become really practical, and step into action mode.

Below are five steps that can be achieved in this short time frame, and will help set up disability service providers for success in the new financial year:

1. List your stakeholders: consider the different roles in your organisation as well as your beneficiaries and customers.

2. Map their journeys: lay out all of the major activities that they will have to undertake in the new environment, identifying where they are different from today.

3. Bed down the major activities of the service model: identify where the activities of service delivery staff cross over roles and determine how handovers will occur.

Map the journeys of your different types of beneficiaries (soon to be customers) to ensure that no gaps have been left, no needs unmet. Think about what touch points they have with your service and what needs to be done to make that as smooth as possible.

This is becoming a competitive environment and if a high level of service is not being delivered, customers will choose different providers.

4. Determine the operating model needed to support this: an operating model depicts the way an organisation runs itself. The people, the process and the technology.

Is your organisation appropriately resourced to execute the new plan? Technology, in particular, can be a great enabler here. Have payment walls been set up? Does your website clearly convey your value proposition to your target markets?

Look at ACL Disability Services, who have invested in technology to stay at the top of the heap.

The organisation has developed a new intranet system, and migrated its staff onto tablets and phone. So, if clients are paying for 10 hours of support a week they can log and see in real time exactly what their money has gone to.

Articulating processes will eliminate confusion and conflict between your internal stakeholders.

5. Develop a six month transition roadmap: you may already have a number of projects in train to enable this organisational change. Identify any gaps where projects have not been assigned, determine the dependencies between tasks and stream them out over the six month timeline.

Make sure you map these tasks to current capability and capacity, so that there is ownership and transparency to get them done.

Finally, it is important to communicate this planning across all altitudes of the organisation, from board to frontline staff.

In fact, it’s valuable to involve members from different areas in the design of the service and operating models, to ensure practicality and stakeholder buy in.

Yes, there is much work to be done, but by following these five steps above, disability service providers can eliminate some of the noise and create some order amongst the chaos.

This will give staff confidence that 1 July is a date of opportunity rather than an impending catastrophe, and will build the foundation for a strong organisation in an increasingly competitive environment.

About the author: George Liacos is the Managing Director of Spark Strategy, an agency that works with Not for Profits and social enterprises to realise their social mission objectives. Liacos has advised Not for Profits, social enterprises, governments and commercial organisations for over 18 years in the areas of new business and funding models, business and digital strategy, and system transformation. He has also held roles as the National Lead Partner for Transformation at Grant Thornton, Program Director for the Department of Premier and Cabinet as well as Chairman and Non-Executive Director on a number of technology and service businesses. For more about achieving sustainability, download the whitepaper, In search of sustainability: Thinking beyond funding models, here.


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