Building the capacity of providers

NDIS Organisational Readiness

This project aimed to increase provider readiness for the NDIS operating environment.

Timeframe: 2013–16 (complete)

Organisation: National Disability Services (NDS)

Location: Initially in Trial sites and now national

Actions: This project recognised the need for targeted support to help providers transform their businesses to operate successfully in the NDIS.

The NDIS Provider Toolkit was developed, promoted through workshops and distributed to providers online. The Toolkit enables providers to self-assess their readiness across seven areas of business practice essential to successful operations in the NDIS:

  • strategy
  • corporate governance
  • clients and market focus
  • financial sustainability
  • people and capability
  • information and knowledge management
  • safeguarding quality management and improvement.

Providers who complete the Toolkit online receive a benchmarking report that enables them to assess their state of readiness compared to other providers in their peer group. In the first phase of the project, NDS also provided individualised follow-up support to providers in Trial sites. In the second phase, NDS developed resources to address the main areas in which providers were underperforming.

  • A Costing and Pricing Learning Program developed in partnership with the Curtin University School of Accounting, provides financial officers, chief operating officers and other staff with responsibility for financial management, advice on costing and pricing support services in the NDIS market. It includes an explanatory guide, webinars and face-to-face workshops.
  • An ICT Planning and System Selection Project brought together independent education on ICT planning from Infoxchange, and ICT system matching and selection advice from the Virtual IT Department. The aim is to help providers identify improvements to their ICT systems or new solutions to meet their needs in the NDIS environment and help to drive back office efficiencies. It includes online resources and activities, ICT planning workshops and system selection workshops.
  • A Marketing for Disability Services Project provides an e-learning module and workshops to assist providers develop a draft marketing strategy.

NDS also ran specific workshops to meet priority needs in different states and territories, including costing and pricing, financial management, marketing, cultural change, human resource management, supporting people with complex needs, and preventing abuse and neglect.

An analysis of de-identified provider readiness data was also provided to the NDIA to inform market stimulation activities.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.

The Toolkit and additional provider development activities were designed to address key gaps in providers’ existing capacity. Overall, data collected through the Toolkit indicates an increase in provider readiness between 2015 and 2016. This suggests the range of provider support strategies available through the SDF and other channels are helping providers transform their businesses for the NDIS, although there are still areas for further development.

Growing use of the Toolkit, return users and high satisfaction levels (97–98 per cent) suggest providers have found the Toolkit a valuable resource. Organisations participating in the webinar and face-to-face Costing and Pricing Learning Program sessions were also broadly satisfied with these.

Project resources:

NDIS Provider Readiness Toolkit (external)

Costing and Pricing Learning Program (external)

ICT Planning and System Selection Project (external)

Marketing from the Frontline e-learning module (external)

Contact details:

Email: stephanie.worsteling@nds.org.au

Phone: 02 6283 3200

You might also be interested in:

  • All providers:
    • learning about the benchmarking function that will enable you to compare cost and operational metrics to your peers
    • accessing the Unit Costing Toolkit to assist you to calculate the cost of your services
    • accessing the Cash Management Maturity Assessment and other cash flow resources to determine your ability to manage current and future cash flow, and identify and prioritise areas that require improvement.
  • Mental health disability service providers: accessing information and webinars to support your transition to the NDIS through the Mental Health Australia Capacity Building Project website. 
  • Australian Disability Enterprises: accessing online corporate governance training.

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NDIS Quality and Safeguards: towards a national verification and certification scheme

This project aimed to develop a national quality verification process and certification scheme for registered NDIS providers.

Organisation: Attendant Care Industry Association

Timeframe: 2016 (complete)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognised the need to develop a nationally consistent provider verification and certification scheme that could be applied across a broad range of providers so that NDIS participants receive the same protections no matter where they live.

This project developed the design of the National Quality Verification and Certification Scheme. This included:

  • the verification requirements and online verification process, including mapping of requirements against different NDIS service clusters and service scenarios
  • a modular outcomes-based practice standard and certification scheme that is linked to the National Standards for Disability Services
  • the scope and specifications of an online system for providers and auditors.

Industry peak bodies were engaged in establishing the standards and a reference group guided the project.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.
The verification scheme, along with other safeguarding measures, will help to reduce the risk of quality and safety failures among providers entering the NDIS, enable national quality benchmarking, and reduce red tape for providers operating across state and territory boundaries.

Key contact details:

Email: contact@acia.net.au

Phone:  02 9264 7197

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Community inclusion initiative

This project was designed to support providers of day services to work with people with disability to co-design more individualised supports that increase community inclusion.

Organisation: National Disability Services managed the project, which was run with eleven disability support providers and supported by consultancy services

Timeframe: 2014–16 (complete)

Location: Selected locations across all states and territories

Overview: This project recognised the need to support providers of traditional centre-based supports to develop more person-centred and inclusive approaches in the NDIS. 

Eleven providers of day services around Australia worked with a total of 46 people with disability to co-design more individualised and community-based support options. Participating providers were supported through a Community of Practice, which met online every six weeks to discuss enablers and work through barriers to transitioning from traditional to more innovative and individualised support models. Providers received training and support to use co-design to explore and trial options with people with disability, and to work through costing and pricing of new supports.

This project established that co-design is valuable, but providers and people with disability may initially find it challenging. Time is needed to build co-design into organisational culture and train staff. The process needs to support individual communication styles, address differences in perspectives of parents and people with disability, and support people with disability to break big goals into small steps to empower them to engage in the process. In this project, co-design worked best when considered as a way of thinking and acting, not as a set methodology to be strictly followed.

The project also identified that to provide more inclusive support options, providers need to find transport options and build the capacity of local services to be more inclusive. Additionally, participants with autism may face particular challenges meeting new people and negotiating new environments, and need particular supports.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition—and, through the co-design process, SDF Outcome 2—increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability.

The Community of Practice helped to build provider capacity to use co-design to develop more innovative models. The project helped participants to tell people how they wanted to be included, to do new things in the community and to make new friends. Some participants became happier and more confident. They particularly valued activities where they could develop a purposeful and meaningful role.

Project resources: Check out the NDS website for project resources (external)

  • Community Participation in Action Guide: Assists disability service providers to think about the way they support community participation for people with disability. It provides information, questions and reflections from providers who participated in the project to help other providers start the conversation with people with disability and staff.
  • Factsheets: Cover key topics for providers: What do we mean by community inclusion?; Workforce; Creating meaningful roles; Bricks and Mortar; Transport; Understanding Cost; Leadership and shared vision; and Community building.
  • Telling Your Story Evaluation report: Outlines outcomes for participants in the project and reports on effectiveness, sustainability and adaptability of models into the future.
  • Telling Your Story videos: Seven short films help communicate the evaluation findings: a summary overview, three stories of project participants, and videos on the importance of contribution, relationships and co-design to increasing community inclusion.

Email James Bannister from the NDS National team (james.bannister@NDS.org.au) to register for the community of interest mailing list.

Key contact details:

Email: james.bannister@NDS.org.au

Phone:  02 9264 7197  

You might also be interested in:

  • Accessing the NDIS Provider Toolkit to self-assess your readiness for the NDIS.

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Corporate governance training for Australian Disability Enterprises

This project aimed to build the corporate governance capacity of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) to effectively manage their transition to the NDIS.  

Organisation: Australian Catholic University (ACU)

Timeframe: 2014–16 (complete)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognised the need to support Australian Disability Enterprises to develop effective corporate governance models for the NDIS.

ACU developed and published online training modules to help ADEs prepare for the NDIS. The training involves three units:

  • strategic planning and change management
  • financial management
  • becoming a service provider of choice, including marketing, business development and performance monitoring.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.

Project resources:

You can register for the training (external)

You might also be interested in:

  • Accessing the NDIS Provider Toolkit to self-assess your readiness for the NDIS.

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Early childhood providers

Best practice early childhood intervention

This project aimed to support the delivery of best practice early childhood intervention. The Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) (Victorian Chapter) was also funded to build family and community capacity.

Organisation: Early Childhood Intervention Australia (Victorian Chapter)

Timeframe: 2015–16 (complete)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognised the need to establish clear guidance about what constitutes best practice in early childhood intervention that applies to large and small providers, not-for-profits, for-profits and sole traders across Australia.

The ECIA (Victorian Chapter) developed:

  • National Guidelines for Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention for children with disability and/or developmental delay based on research and consultation and reviewed by an Expert Advisory Group
  • resources to support provider best practice, distributed through The Inclusion Hub.

Four quality areas and eight key best practices form the basis of the Guidelines.

  • Family: Recognising the central role family plays in a child’s life, all families are encouraged to be included and contribute to a child’s learning and development.
  • Inclusion: All children, regardless of needs, have the right to participate fully in all aspects of life. Therefore, children should be included in natural learning environments such as daily routines, at home, and in the community.
  • Teamwork: Professionals and families work together as a collaborative team to build the knowledge, skills and abilities of the individuals who will spend the most time with the child.
  • Universal Principles: Early childhood intervention practitioners provide services that are grounded in research and clinical reasoning. This creates a professional environment that encourages sharing of knowledge and expertise to help families make informed decisions and the sector to continue to provide high quality services.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition—and SDF Outcome 5—build the evidence base about what works.

The resources available through The Inclusion Hub were designed to meet the needs identified through a gap analysis survey of 749 professionals and the research conducted to inform the National Guidelines.

Project resources:

The National Guidelines for Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention. (external)

You can access The Inclusion Hub (external) resources for providers.

Background research:

Emerging Themes Reports provide a summary of the responses from each of the eleven consultations held to inform the Guidelines, and insight into the state of practice in early childhood intervention across the country.

Key contact details:

Submit an email enquiry through the ECIA (Victorian Chapter) website (external).

Phone: 03 8559 2620

You might also be interested in:

  • Accessing the ECIA NSW/ ACT Online Inclusion Community of Practice Blog for posts on best practice, collaborative team work, inclusion and transitions.

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Developing early childhood intervention in the NDIS

This project aimed to build the capacity of early childhood intervention service providers to deliver a best practice, outcomes-focused approach that meets the needs of children who receive NDIS packages and those who do not.

Organisation: Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) (NSW/ ACT Chapter)

Timeframe: 2015–16 (complete)

Location: Hunter and Nepean Blue Mountain Trial sites

Actions: This project recognised the need to establish clear referral pathways in the NDIS and build provider capacity to effectively support children who receive NDIS packages and those who do not.

The project involved the following research and capacity building activities.

  • Understanding the state of practice: Research by the Social Policy Research Centre into the evolving nature of early childhood intervention in the Hunter and Nepean Blue Mountain Trial sites, with a particular focus on referral pathways in the NDIS, supports for children who are receiving an NDIS package and those who are not, collaboration between early childhood intervention services and mainstream early childhood services, and providers’ adaptation of their business models for the NDIS.
  • Building provider capacity for operation in the NDIS:
    • A series of Provider Readiness Forums were held in 2016 covering a range of topics to assist providers to prepare for the NDIS. Specific workshops were held in the Nepean Blue Mountains to help early childhood intervention services prepare for the early launch of the NDIS in July 2016.
    • A series of forums were held in 2016 to give Directors and Managers of early childhood intervention services and related early childhood services, an opportunity to discuss and workshop the impact of the NDIS rollout in NSW.
  • Building an outcomes-focused approach: ECIA NSW/ ACT worked with the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) to develop and pilot a Results Based Accountability Reporting Framework.
  • Supporting inclusive practice:
    • An Online Community of Practice Blog provides information on best practice.
    • A Sydney forum for mainstream and early childhood intervention services (Engage & Connect: Inclusion for all children with developmental delay and disability) brought together international and Australian presenters to share current research and practices around inclusion in the early years.
  • Building collaborative practice across the early childhood sector: A working group was established to discuss collaborative practices between the early childhood intervention and early childhood education and care sectors, and develop a protocol to support and clarify best practice early childhood intervention in inclusive settings.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 1—build community capacity and engagement—and SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.

The Inclusion Hub supports best practice in inclusion.

Project resources:

The Online Community of Practice Blog (external) includes posts on best practice, collaborative team work, inclusion and transitions.

You can access presentation materials (external) from the Provider Readiness forums.

Background research:

The Early Childhood Intervention Review: Nepean Blue Mountains/ Hunter Trial Sites Report (external), prepared by the Social Policy Research Centre.

Key contact details:

Email: admin@ecia-nsw.org.au

Phone: 02 9873 2593

You might also be interested in:

  • The National Guidelines for Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention  and The Inclusion Hub produced by ECIA Victoria

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Mental health providers

Mental Health Australia's NDIS capacity building project

This project aimed to build the capacity of mental health service providers for the NDIS. Mental Health Australia was also funded to build the capacity of people with psychosocial disability and their carers to engage with the NDIS.

Organisation: Mental Health Australia

Timeframe: 2014–16 (complete)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognised that specific strategies were needed to support mental health service providers to transition to the NDIS. 

Mental Health Australia worked with National Disability Services (NDS) and Community Mental Health Australia to adapt organisational readiness resources for mental health service providers. Face-to-face workshops were run in 2016 and webinars are available on the Mental Health Australia website. The workshops provided information on marketing, costing and pricing, and flexible workforce practices to assist mental health service providers to engage with the NDIS.

Project activities were informed by consultations with key stakeholders and project working groups.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.
Project resources were designed to meet the specific needs of mental health service providers transitioning to the NDIS.

Project resources:

Access information about the NDIS Capacity Building Project (external), including links to national webinars. Webinars cover: 

  • marketing for psychosocial disability providers
  • marketing – sales planning process
  • costing and pricing
  • flexible workforce practices.

Background research:

The Workforce Development Scoping Paper (external) (2015) explores the impact of the NDIS on the mental health workforce.

Key contact details:

Email: NDIS@mhaustralia.org

Phone: 02 6285 3100

You might also be interested in:

  • Accessing the NDIS Provider Toolkit to self-assess your readiness for the NDIS.

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Assistance for community mental health providers

This project aims to assist Commonwealth-funded community mental health providers to successfully transition to the NDIS.

Timeframe: 2017–18 (current)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognises the need to support community mental health services transitioning from block funding paid in advance to individualised funding paid on invoice.

It is offering one-off funding to community mental health providers delivering Commonwealth-funded programs, such as the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (PHaMS) and the Mental Health Respite Carer Support Program (MHRCS). Funding will enable providers to undertake further readiness activities to support their transition to the NDIS.

Providers who receive funding will report and share any useful learnings from the activities they undertake.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.

It will support providers to prepare for the NDIS and enable them to continue to effectively support new and existing NDIS participants. 

You might also be interested in:

  • Accessing information and webinars to support transition to the NDIS through the Mental Health Australia Capacity Building Project website. 
  • Accessing the NDIS Provider Toolkit to self-assess your readiness for the NDIS.

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Building the capacity of Indigenous organisations and cultural competence of mainstream organisations

This project aimed to build the capacity of Indigenous organisations to support people with disability and to increase the cultural competence of mainstream service providers. First Peoples Disability Network was also funded for capacity building activities with people with disability and their families.

Organisation: First Peoples Disability Network

Timeframe: 2013–15 (complete)

Location: National, with particular focus on Trial sites

Overview: This project recognised that the lack of Indigenous-specific disability support services and cultural competence among mainstream disability support providers, can affect Indigenous people’s engagement with the NDIS. It also recognised the additional challenges faced by remote Indigenous communities, including the lack of local providers, the high costs of service delivery costs and the issues with fly-in-fly-out services.

This project included meetings with Indigenous organisations to build their capacity and increase the number of Indigenous organisations registered with the NDIS. It also included activities to build the cultural competence of mainstream service providers through cultural awareness training and mentoring. Activities included:

  • cultural training to staff from the NDIA (in the Hunter region)
  • training in disability from an Aboriginal perspective to staff from Brain Injury NSW
  • advice on how the National Relay Service can provide its services to the Aboriginal community
  • information on how to effectively engage Aboriginal students with disability and their families at the Pathways conference in Freemantle
  • advice on issues related to mental health in Aboriginal Australia to the NDIA Mental Health Engagement forum in Canberra
  • presentation on the NDIS and Aboriginal communities at the National Disability Summit conference in Melbourne.

The project was informed by the Ten Point Plan for the Implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which was developed based on consultation with Indigenous people.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 1—build community capacity and engagement—and SDF Outcome 3—build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition.

Project resources: You can find out more about what the First Peoples Disability Network is doing to support Indigenous people living with a disability on their website (external).

The First Peoples Disability Network has created a video (external) describing the Ten Point Plan for the Implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their work to build the capacity of individuals and the disability sector to better support Indigenous people with disability

Key contact details:

Email: enquiries@fpdn.org.au

Phone: 02 8399 0882

You may also be interested in:

  • Queensland Community Capacity Building Toolkit.