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NDIA is failing disability providers

2 March 2020 at 4:41 pm
Maggie Coggan
Only one in five providers say the NDIA is working well with the sector

Maggie Coggan | 2 March 2020 at 4:41 pm


NDIA is failing disability providers
2 March 2020 at 4:41 pm

Only one in five providers say the NDIA is working well with the sector

The poor relationship between disability providers and the agency in charge of rolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme could undermine the entire program, researchers warn.  

Just 19 per cent of providers surveyed in this year’s National Disability Services’ Market Survey said the National Disability Insurance Agency was working well with the sector, and only 22 per cent said they felt the agency had respect for providers. 

“The persistence of poor functioning and relationships is a major risk for the NDIS,” the report said. 

The report found that the administrative burden of helping participants and families navigate the scheme, and instability created by constant change and reform to the sector, meant around half of providers were concerned about their sustainability and ability to continue to offer services in the NDIS. 

Co-author of the report Megan Weir told Pro Bono News that organisations were starting to buckle under the pressure of supporting all their clients through the system. 

“It means they can’t provide the services as well as they would like and we are really seeing it erode the relationship between the NDIS and providers,” Weir said.  

The findings are consistent with the recent Tune Review, where providers reported needing to support people through the NDIS because it was too complicated for participants to do it alone.  

While recent pricing changes seem to have brought relief to the sector, a large group of providers said they were still unsure they could operate within the system as it currently was, with some indicating this was a result of pricing levels, while others said significant delays in payments were causing financial instability.   

A number of recommendations to improve the relationship between the NDIA and providers were laid out in the report, including making sure the NDIA was properly staffed, and providing more training to agency staff so they could better communicate changes in rules and regulations to the rest of the sector. 

Weir noted that there had been an increase to staffing based on previous recommendations made, but that it was still not enough.  

“It’s still not adequately addressing the needs of the sector, and if the NDIA can’t meet those needs, then we would recommend outsourcing the task of helping clients navigate the system,” she said.  

“That will mean that providers can go back to actually providing the services that they’re wanting to be able to deliver.”

She said ignoring these concerns could prove detrimental to the entire scheme. 

“Unless these issues are addressed the scheme will continue to be under significant pressure,” she said. 

A full copy of the report can be found here. 

UPDATE: In earlier version of this article CSI made an incorrect statement that the NDIS was at risk of failing, which this research does not indicate.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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