Building the evidence base

NDIS Evaluation

This project aims to understand how the NDIS Trial worked and to inform rollout of the NDIS.

Organisation: National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University

Timeframe: 2012–17 (current)

Location: The five Trial sites

Overview: This project recognises the need to conduct a robust evaluation of the NDIS Trial to ensure the learnings can be applied to full rollout.

The evaluation consortium developed a three-phase approach to the evaluation.

  • Phase 1 involved evaluation planning and development of the stakeholder engagement strategy. The evaluation team refined sampling strategies and developed survey and interview instruments. They began initial surveys of people with disability and their families and carers; disability support providers, employers and their workforces; and mainstream providers and services. They also consulted with other stakeholders, such as government and NDIA representatives and Local Area Coordinators.
  • Phase 2 involved analysing baseline data and high-level implementation processes, and continuing qualitative research.
  • Phase 3 included the second waves of the three large-scale quantitative surveys and the final rounds of qualitative fieldwork.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 5—build the evidence base about what works.

Project resources:

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Survey of disability, ageing and carers

This project aims to increase available population level data on people with disability and their carers.

Organisation: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Timeframe: 2012–18 (current)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognises the need for more data about the experiences of people with  disability and their carers than could be gathered through the six-yearly implementation of the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).

Through this project, the ABS has:

  • refined the survey to collect data to measure:
    • the experiences of people with disability, older people and carers with health services, and community and social participation compared to the general population
    • National Disability Agreement indicators about satisfaction with the range of formal disability service options and the quality of support received.
  • reviewed the survey sample design to include more people in the target populations
  • delivered one additional round of the refined SDAC in 2012 and  will deliver a second round in 2018.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 5—build the evidence base about what works.

The more frequent use of the refined survey will meet current and future government reporting requirements on the social and economic circumstances of people with disability, older people and carers. It will also support policy development and monitoring of outcomes for people with disability.

The 2015 survey found that disability prevalence in Australia remains mostly stable, with around one-fifth (18–19 per cent) of people reporting disability over the last three surveys. The majority of people with disability reported a physical condition as their main long-term health condition. 

Almost one in twelve (8.6 per cent) Australians with disability reported experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment because of their disability, with young people more likely to report this experience than older people. Over one-third (35.1 per cent) of women and over one-quarter (28.1 per cent) of men aged 15 and over had avoided situations because of their disability. Only about half (53.4 per cent) of those with disability aged 15–64 reported participating in the labour force compared to 83.2 per cent of people without disability.

The average primary carer age is 55 years old, with females making up the majority of both primary and other carers. Over one-third of primary carers are living with disability themselves, and labour force participation rates for primary and other carers are lower than rates for non-carers.

Project resources:

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Cross sector service coordination for people with high and complex needs

This project aimed to provide evidence to inform policy directions and ensure that NDIS participants get the range of services and supports they need to pursue their goals and participate in society and the economy.

Organisation: The Centre for Disability Research and Policy at the University of Sydney and the Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance

Timeframe: 2014 (complete)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognised that people with high and complex needs will generally need a range of supports to participate in society and the economy, but the complexity of service systems and the interfaces between sectors can create significant gaps and barriers.

It published a discussion paper that: explores best practice examples of coordinated, cross-sectoral approaches in delivering supports and services currently occurring in the disability sector; identifies key themes emerging; and provides recommendations for the NDIS rollout.  The paper was informed by a literature review of service coordination and four workshops with consumers, service providers and policy makers, to identify the challenges and value of coordinated, cross-sectoral approaches in delivering supports and services.

Outcomes: This project contributed SDF Outcome 5—build the evidence base about what works.

The research found that:

  • cross service coordination and collaboration across governments and services is of value and is needed to successfully deliver the NDIS for people with complex health and disability needs
  • coordination can reduce duplication across systems, enable providers to better understand consumer needs and connect them with the range of supports they need, improve consumer choice, wellbeing, community participation and social outcomes, and support the sustainability of informal care arrangements
  • there is a need for service coordination at the system, service provider and participant level, and integration between these levels
  • cross sector coordination requires high level commitment, shared terminology, agreement about who coordination is for, and workforce development
  • a designated linkage point would streamline cross sector coordination across systems.

Project resources: The Cross sector service coordination for people with high and complex needs: Harnessing existing evidence and knowledge (external) (2014).

Key contact details:

The Centre for Disability Research and Policy at the University of Sydney:

Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance:

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Development of a national approach to assistive technology

This project conducted research to inform the development of a nationally consistent Assistive Technology Strategy.

Organisation: Heather Browning Partners

Timeframe: 2013–14 (complete)

Overview: This project recognised the value of assistive technology in enabling people with disability to live more independently, and the need to ensure effective coordination between state-based aids and equipment schemes, and the NDIS.

Heather Browning Partners provided technical expertise in the development of a nationally consistent Assistive Technology Strategy, including sourcing, procurement, contracting, and supply and service delivery of Assistive Technology in Australia. This included:

  • developing a scoping and stocktake paper, outlining existing state, territory and commonwealth Assistive Technology procurement and provision systems, including a gap analysis
  • establishing and facilitating a Sector Reference Group to assist in the exploration and reform of the Assistive Technology services
  • developing an Options Paper, articulating options for future systems including economic modelling of required investments, and strategies and timeframes for realisation of identified benefits.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 5— build the evidence base about what works.

Project resources: This project informed the development of the NDIS Assistive Technology Strategy (PDF)