Senate Order 13 requires that, twice a year, Commonwealth entities publish details of individual contracts with a value of $100,000 or more.
For the period 1 January to 30 December 2019, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified 2327 individual contracts that met the requirement of the Senate Order 13.
The Senate Order 13 requires that the commitment amount for each individual contract can cover multiple years, with a high degree of unevenness in the period covered. For instance, it might be one, two or more years, with significant disparity in the start and end dates. On its own, information in such a format does not provide insight on a specific period, nor can it be easily added or compared because of the various timeframes that are covered.
The information provided in the Senate Order 13 has to be considered in the context of significant growth in the NDIS - growth in NDIS expenditure has gone from close to $1.8 billion in 2016 to $15.6 billion in 2019.
Notably, the number of people with disability benefitting from the NDIS has grown by over 100,000 (62%) in the past year to close to 339,000 participants as at 31 December 2019, up from 227,000 participants at 31 December 2018.
Around 500,000 Australians are expected to benefit from the NDIS over the next four years. Over 134,000 people are now receiving disability supports for the first time. This has been achieved through a strong focus on delivering an improved experience for participants, with satisfaction rates most recently standing at 85 per cent, while recognising that more can and must be done.
As detailed in the NDIA Portfolio Budget Statements, the Agency’s operational costs are within budget, as they have been every financial year since the Scheme’s inception.
Senate Order 13 (February 2020)
For the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified 2,327 individual contracts that meet the requirement of the Senate Order 13.
To provide greater insight, the NDIA provides details on the consideration paid for each contract in the current period, as well as the commitment for each contract over multiple years, as required by the Senate Order 13.
Because the consideration paid amount is only for contracts over $100,000, the Senate Order 13 contractual amounts differ from the NDIA’s Financial Statements, both overall and by classification category.
Table 1 below provides additional information on the Senate Order 13. It aggregates the individual contracts, providing not just the overall amount paid for contracts over $100,000, but also the amounts paid in each category. For
comparison purposes, the Table provides information for each of the past three calendar years.
|Expenditure category (category paid)||1 January 2019 - 31 December 2019 ($m)||% spend||1 January 2018 - 31 December 2018 ($m)||% spend||1 January 2017 - 31 December 2017 ($m)||% spend|
|Temporary staffing and/or recruitment support||
|Service delivery (LAC or ECEI)||12.1||5%||26.3||12%||2.6||1%|
|Training development and management||1.8||1%||2.2||1%||0.0||0%|
|Translation and interpreting services||1.2||1%||1.4||1%||1.3||1%|
The following comments and caveats should be noted in interpreting the Table above and in relation to the Senate Order 13 more generally.
- Total amount: Over the past three years, the total spend on contracts covered by the Senate Order 13 have increased from $210.8 million to $222.1 million, with only a marginal increase of $3 million in the past year. Over the three year period, the number of participants in the Scheme grew close to 10 fold from 61,215 to 338,982. Within the CY2019, the aggregate of consideration paid through contracts covered by the Senate Order 13 represented $222.1 million or 15 percent of the Agency’s total annual operating budget.
- Temporary staffing and/or recruitment services: For CY19, under contracts covered by the Senate Order 13 criteria, $126.1 million was paid for temporary staff and/or contractor services. Temporary and contract staff have been employed to support the dramatic surge throughout CY19 in the number of participants entering the Scheme. More specifically, in CY19, 111,496 participants entered the Scheme versus 97,031 in CY18 and 69,240 in CY17. The use of temporary and contract staff assists the Agency deal with the variability that exists in the demands on the Agency during a period of rapid ramp up in the roll-out of the Scheme.
- Service delivery (Local Area Coordination or Early Childhood Early Intervention Partners): $12.1 million was paid under a services contract within CY19. This represents expenditure on essential on-the-ground services for participants. The reduction in expenditure from CY18 to CY19 reflects changes in procurement practice, including moving some providers from providing services under contracts to the deployment of grants which better reflects the insurance principles of the Scheme. It does not reflect a reduction in total spend on LAC and ECEI services. To the contrary, expenditure on service delivery partners has increased when grants are included in total spend. In other words, caution must be exercised in drawing conclusion based on a year on year comparison. This also has implications for year on year aggregate comparisons.
- Contact centre: In CY19, consideration of $41.9 million, was paid for the provision of contact centre services for participants and providers. Prior to the FY2018, the Department of Human Services (now Services Australia) provided contact centre services for the NDIA. The amounts paid to the Department of Human Services for these services is are not included in this table due to the legal relationship between DHS and NDIA, therefore limiting the ability to make comparisons and also understating the aggregate amount in prior years.
- Consultancies: In CY19, in line with the Senate Order 13, the NDIA paid $15.5 million to consultants for specific projects, including for the Participant Pathway (EY) program; scheme price review (Deloitte) and SDA Standards (Livable Housing Australia). The NDIA’s focus on reducing the use of consultants and increasing the capability of its own staff can be seen not just in the reduced annual spend over the past year, but also in the reduction in consultant spend as a proportion of the aggregate spend under the Senate Order 13.
- Legal services: In CY19, in line with the Senate Order 13, the NDIA spend on legal services was $12.1million. The legal spend has increased over the prior year, in large measure reflecting additional costs associated with preparing for various Royal Commissions, as well as supporting participants in the AAT, in line with the NDIA’s commitment to being a model litigant.
- Training development and management: Under the Senate Order 13 criteria, $1.8m was spent on external providers to support staff training in CY19. This included work undertaken to support front-line staff in the roll out of the pathways reform program and to improve the induction processes for new staff joining the Agency.
- Translation and interpreting services: In CY19, $1.2m was spent to help participants receive information in languages other than English, as well as for Auslan interpreting services.
- Other: The other category covers expenditure associated with property; leases and associated expenses; vehicles and insurance. These are essential infrastructure spending associated with the rapid roll-out of the NDIS across the nation. By the end of CY19, the NDIA had over 173 offices throughout Australia.
As detailed in the NDIA Portfolio Budget Statements, the Agency’s operational costs are anticipated to remain within budget, as they have been every financial year since the Scheme’s inception.