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How the NDIS is Disrupting the Culture of Largesse in NFPs

7 June 2016 at 10:33 am
Natasha Hudson
Not for Profits with head offices not based in the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial sites will tell you they’re ready for a 1 July start up, but disability consultant Natasha Hudson is not convinced.

Natasha Hudson | 7 June 2016 at 10:33 am


How the NDIS is Disrupting the Culture of Largesse in NFPs
7 June 2016 at 10:33 am

Not for Profits with head offices not based in the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial sites will tell you they’re ready for a 1 July start up, but disability consultant Natasha Hudson is not convinced.

Wheelchair disability NDIS

On the eve of the NDIS roll-out, beyond the trial sites, we have yet to see the full impact of this major social change on the disability sector.

The change is by no means an easy feat. Not for Profits have a huge task in front of them. The transition from block funding to a user-pays model is as much cultural as it is operational.

Speculators will tell you that the larger for-profit organisations are waiting for the sector to settle before moving in. Smaller organisations are merging with bigger ones. Boutique organisations are coming into their own. Larger organisations are either cutting programs and refocusing their efforts or are looking to corner the market.

The tyranny of distance

I am most concerned for NFPs with head offices not based in trial sites. They will tell you they’re ready… but I’m not convinced.

Head offices outside of trial sites seem out of touch with what is happening on the ground. They are blinded to the realities of delivering services in a market environment.

These organisations are simultaneously running two business models: block funding and user pays. The problem for these organisations is that the block funding mentality persists over attempts for lean and agile models. Where trial sites are attempting change, head office is stifling their efforts and charging exorbitant shared service administration fees for the privilege.

Stealing from Peter to pay Paul

The history of the government contracts appears to have indoctrinated a habit in the sector where funding from one area of the organisation props up others. Accountability measures (as they were) also created the environment for NFPs to become accustom to paying scant regard for demonstrating value for money or measurable outcomes.

As a result, NFPs are behaving more like governments that apply largesse rather than organisations relying on the delivery of quality services efficiently to make ends meet.

In the NDIS world order, largesse will no longer be possible (let alone acceptable)

But I don’t reckon head office has realised this yet.

NFPs continue to maintain top-heavy organisational structures which are not viable. Luxuries like having vehicles and advisors, specialists, clinicians on salary is unlikely to be sustainable (organisations can barely afford to train their staff as it is, but that’s another story).

It will likely take a “crisis” to ruffle the feathers of those ostriches who have their heads buried in the proverbial sand. When the block funding stops, head office will be forced to listen.

Only then, will they begin to understand the true financial risk that their organisation faces.

Seize the opportunity

No matter how long you wait, the fat will need to be shed. Without a doubt, people will be upset and even protest.

You will need the right vision and the right people with the right skills and the right attitude to see opportunities (not obstacles) and deliver innovative solutions (not problems).

Make the necessary changes to achieve positive outcomes for people with disability, delivered sustainably. Stay true to your values. Just do it better.

Ready or not, the NDIS is coming

Check your contract variations.

About the author: Natasha Hudson moved to Canberra from Canada where she drafted accessibility regulation for the Ontario Government. In Canberra she was an adviser to COAG’s national disability reform agenda with the ACT Government in 2010. She has represented government on national working groups and advised senior executives and ministers on a range of issues, including the implications of the NDIS in response to the Productivity Commission inquiry and subsequently as part of their consideration of becoming a launch site. Hudson has relocated to Newcastle where she has been contracting with for-profit and Not for Profit organisations affected by the NDIS.

Natasha Hudson  |  @ProBonoNews

Natasha Hudson is principal strategist at Coforte Consulting. Her mission is to make For Impact the norm.


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  • Paul Montgomerie says:

    I am in the Hunter NDIS trial site and because organizations were allowed to claim exorbitant amounts that I had not authorized I am now attempting to have these over-payments to Provideres repaid to my plan. The legislation to mandate written approvals will go a long way to prevents what can be deemed misappropriation of funds.

    • Natasha Hudson says:

      Thanks for sharing you experience, Paul. Your experience has identified how the system could be better safeguarded and I believe the NDIA’s new Service Booking requirement aims to address part of this issue.

      From 1 July 2016, participants must book their services in the NDIS operating system. Only one service may be booked at one time and only those service providers listed in the booking may claim. Information on Services Bookings in found in the 2016/2017 NDIS Price Guide

      I understand that there were cases (like yours) where multiple services were claimed, although only one service was delivered. This may be in part due to Providers’ cancellation policies that stipulate the full service cost will be claimed if prior notice is not given.

      In terms of legislation, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 aims to enhance the welfare of Australians by promoting fair trading and competition, and through the provision of consumer protections. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) offers advice to consumers about how to resolve problems or make a complaint. For more information visit

  • Andrew Malloch says:

    Organisations who realise that ‘the fat will need to be shed’ may still do nothing about developing a customer-service and person-centred culture in their front line staff. It’s these employees who are the face of the business. Getting the back of house in order in only one part – ensuring the frontline are well prepared is the other critical issue. Who will train them adequately?

    • Natasha Hudson says:

      Andrew, I agree. The issue is not singular. It is such a complex social change that touches all aspects of an organisation.

      For organisations that want to stay ahead of the competition and apply best practices, training will become essential. But I suspect this won’t become a ‘priority’ for most until the eleventh hour.


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