My seven takeaways from the NDIS Leaders Breakfast
20 March 2019 at 3:48 pm
In case you wanted to be there and couldn’t make it, here’s a summary of Fran Connelley’s personal key takeaways from the NDIS Leaders Breakfast held at the ICC in Sydney last week.
1. National Disability Services (NDS) NSW did an excellent job hosting the event.
2. The ballroom was full (and brekky was huge: muesli, mousse, OJ, sausages, eggs, croissants…).
3. The NDIA acknowledged the need to provide more market data and referred the group to “Appendix N” of the last COAG report. They anticipate being able to provide more granular data by postcode sometime in the future.
4. They also acknowledged the need to: get pricing right, streamline SDA access, improve payment systems and interactions with providers, improve interfaces with other community services (transport, health, criminal justice, mental health…) and address thin markets. For rural and remote areas there is a new pilot for quotable support.
5. Some excellent and specific questions were met with vague responses.
For example: “What’s the profit margin you’re modelling for viable service delivery?”
A:“We’re looking at the bandwidth by provider type.” (No margins indicated.)
6. The NDIA has nearly doubled its workforce in the last 18 months.
It appears as if the NDIA and service providers are actually competing within the same limited workforce pool. A National Workforce Strategy is years overdue (Refer Productivity Commission Report(s), Joint Parliamentary Committee Report, Australian National Audit Office…).
7. The closing remarks from Joan McKenna Kerr (president, National Disability Services) were spot on: “A values based workforce requires us to provide a living wage. This requires viable pricing”.
In other words, as the Sisters of Charity used to say, “there’s no mission without margin”.
From the conversations around the room, it’s clear that the impacts of the NDIS Price Guide, plan inconsistencies, extensive delays in plan reviews, workforce shortages and the increased audit and compliance costs due to the NDIS Commission, are biting hard for anyone trying to run a viable disability service business in NSW.
About the author: Fran Connelley is a strategic marketer who has been working in the disability sector since 2008. Her book, How to Thrive Under the NDIS is now in its sixth reprint.
Her Workplace Culture Masterclass is running in most capital cities in April-May. Early Bird Offer expires Thursday.