Govt To Review NDIS IT System
6 August 2016 at 3:35 pm
Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Christian Porter has announced a review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s IT system after claims the system has been a “debacle”.
“The implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme myplace portal will be reviewed to ensure the system is meeting the agreed expectations of NDIS participants and providers,” Porter said.
He said he would “commission an independent review of the system following disruptions to the ICT system in recent weeks”.
“The National Disability Insurance Agency has experienced issues including the uploading of provider data to the portal, which has resulted in delays to payments being issued by the agency and concerns being expressed by some providers and participants,” Porter said.
The announcement comes after the federal government was again called on Thursday to urgently step in and sort out “the IT debacle hampering the National Disability Insurance Scheme” as some providers claim they are being forced to suspend their services.
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent had demanded that the social services minister “urgently intervene”, saying many service providers, agencies and self-managed clients have been unable to access the new payment portal, which allows NDIS participants to claim against their funding packages to pay for their services.
Moreover, according to Vincent, no NDIS plans have been approved since before the NDIS was rolled out nationally on 1 July.
An earlier complaint made by Vincent at the beginning of July claimed that the NDIS was “gridlocked” while the government was in caretaker mode.
Vincent, who was elected to South Australia’s upper house in 2010, told Pro Bono Australia News that “enough was enough”.
Christian Porter said on Friday the agency had advised him that the main issues had been rectified and outstanding payment requests were being prioritised.
“However, while the government has now been assured the central issues have been resolved, it is now appropriate that a full review is conducted to determine how and why the problems arose so we can be confident that they will not re-occur,” he said.
The review is expected to be complete by the end of August.
The peak body for Not for Profit disability service organisations, National Disability Services (NDS) welcomed the review into the implementation of the NDIS myplace portal, saying it followed weeks of disruption for disability support providers and NDIS participants.
“The malfunctioning portal has prevented disability support providers claiming payments owed to them, resulting in undue financial pressures. Additionally, providers have the administrative burden of trying to navigate the delays and obstacles caused by the portal,” NDS’s chief executive Dr Ken Baker said.
“Had the new portal been thoroughly tested with disability support providers prior to its launch on 1 July, most of the problems would presumably have been identified and ironed out.
“The NDIS holds enormous promise for Australians with disability; but it will only deliver on this great promise if it is implemented well. It would be sensible to test any proposed system or design change with service providers before it is implemented.
“As well as identifying valuable lessons from the botched implementation of the new portal, NDS hopes that the review will document the impact on providers. NDS is happy to assist the review with this.”
He said the NDS was now compiling data on the cost to providers since the closure of the old portal in mid-June and a report of this data would be supplied to support the review.
“NDS has been in regular contact with the National Disability Insurance Agency since the launch of the new portal, alerting the agency to problems as we hear about them. The NDIA believes that solutions are close and we know that it is working very hard on finding answers,” Baker said.
For participants and providers who require assistance navigating the portal or scheme, the NDIA support team can be contacted on 1800 800 110.