National Benchmarking Survey Shows Disability Service Providers How They ‘Stack Up’
1 May 2018 at 8:34 am
Disability service providers are being encouraged to take part in a national benchmarking survey that aims to offer vital market intelligence and give providers a competitive edge.
The National Disability Service Providers Benchmarking Survey, which was launched last year, collects important financial and operational data across the disability services industry in a bid to support more successful transitions to the National Disability Insurance Scheme arrangements.
The independent survey, which is supported by the National Disability Insurance Agency, National Disability Services and Mental Health Australia, is administered by AbleInsight.
AbleInsight managing director Joe Scuteri told Pro Bono News it was important for organisations to understand their financials and how they “stacked up” against the rest of the sector, at a time when the sector was experiencing a lot of change and moving to a new system.
“As you know the sector is in a time of transition with new market circumstances,” Scuteri said.
“In that context, organisations need to have the process, systems and information that allow them to adapt to that change.
“We are excited to provide a service where providers can compare their costs with those of other similar services. This nurtures participants to operate as part of a vibrant and responsive market for disability support, shaped by choice and control by participants.”
According to Scuteri, the survey marks the first time this kind of benchmarking has been done this way for the disability services sector.
In addition to helping providers understand their performance compared with peer organisations, the report provides data about financial health, market capacity and operating efficiencies to help disability service providers build more strategic and financially sustainable businesses.
Sue Horsnell, CEO of NDIS-registered Hills Community Options in South Australia which took part in last year’s survey, said she saw an immediate correlation between the benchmarking report and positive changes for her organisation.
“Across the industry, there are so many of us striving to adapt to the new NDIS market-driven business model while keeping our mission at the heart of what we do,” Horsnell said.
“The benchmarking results helped us gain real clarity around our finances.
“The results highlighted we were out of sync with our overhead percentages in relation to our peer group. As a result we were able to critically analyse our underpinning assumptions and achieve an immediate improvement.”
Community Business Bureau NDIS transition lead consultant, Brendon Grail, who worked with many providers who took part in the 2017 survey, said he saw firsthand the value the data provided his clients and that he was encouraging more providers to be involved this year.
“The survey results provide valuable data to help organisations prioritise areas to address, influence stakeholders and inform decision making,” Grail said.
“When I worked in the corporate world, we would pay $30,000 to $40,000 for benchmarking surveys like this. If I was still a CEO in this industry, I would feel as though I was failing my board if I didn’t take part in this survey. The ease at which you can have your numbers crunched is priceless.”
Around 50 organisations took part in the survey last year, with AbleInsight hoping to attract more than 200 this year.
“The more providers that participate in the survey, the more robust and useful the data will be,” Scuteri said.
“Getting something off the ground is never easy, it takes time to work out. We have learned a lot in the process and the sector has learned a lot.
“This year 200 is the target.”
Since it launched last year, AbleInsight has also improved the collection process to increase the number of dynamic calculations in the survey while at the same time keeping consistency in the questions so organisations can get longitudinal data.
Scuteri said while the survey did require resourcing and time commitment from participants, the process formed part of the learning for organisations as they adapted to this “new world”.
Horsnell said she believed involvement was critical for her organisation and others.
“Collecting the information required for the survey does take some time. However, I think it’s a critical investment now that will have a myriad of longer term benefits. I do see this survey as a key step for us being financially sustainable in this new environment,” she said.
The 2018 survey is open to all NDIS-registered providers until 20 May, with reports expected in August.
See the website for more information.