Service design - our research

These include evaluations of key services or pilots, including Independent Assessments, Community Connectors and our COVID-19 response. We explore what works well, and what we can do better, to improve services.

Development of a wellbeing measure for people with disability

The NDIA is partnering with the Centre for Health Economics and Monash University to develop a wellbeing index for NDIS participants. The wellbeing index will complement the existing NDIS and Australia’s Disability Strategy Outcomes Framework by providing a preference-based summary outcome measure to assess the impacts of supports and other initiatives on the wellbeing of people with disability. The project is being delivered over 2021 to 2023.

To find out more about this research you can email our research team at [email protected]

Exploring participant experiences: a survey on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on NDIS, allied healthcare services and consumer experiences transitioning to telehealth

In 2020, COVID-19 brought significant disruption to the way NDIS and many disability support services were offered. The NDIS made a number of changes to assist participants to stay safe and ensure they were able to continue to access their essential services and supports, including offering planning consultations (over the phone or internet based video conferencing) and plan extensions of current plans (for up to 24 months). Many NDIS funded supports (including consultations with allied healthcare clinicians) also transitioned to remote service delivery via telephone or video over the internet. 

In collaboration with the University of Melbourne, the NDIA conducted a national survey to investigate the experiences of NDIS participants, or their family members/carers, when accessing allied healthcare supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This research was done through an online survey. 2,391 NDIS participants, family members or carers across Australia took part in the survey.

A full copy of the published research can be found here .


The findings are presented in two parts:

What the survey found:

  • Of the respondents that had a phone or video based plan review during the pandemic, most were happy, found the technology safe and easy to use and were comfortable communicating over the phone or video. Nearly half said they would likely choose a plan review by phone or video in the future.
  • Of the respondents that were offered a plan extension, most were happy and four in five said they would like the option for plan extensions to continue. 
  • Like many Australians, some participants found it difficult to access some non-essential services during restrictions. However more than half transitioned to remotely delivered services via telephone or video to enable services to continue. 
  • Those who had remotely delivered consultations during the pandemic reported positive experiences overall. They felt comfortable and safe communicating and believed the care they received was effective during the lock down.  
  • One in three of respondents said they would be interested in remote service delivery of allied health consultations by phone or video in the future, equivalent to approximately 130,000 NDIS participants. 

From this research we have learnt much about the NDIS and how to better support participants and providers during emergency responses. These findings were used to help support decisions we make around what COVID related initiatives we will keep for the future and our proposed reforms to the NDIS planning processes, which aim to further enhance participant choice and control, such as continuing with the flexible approach to plan review meetings and the possibility of having plan durations of up to three (3) years. Read more information about these new changes

Due to the continuing risk of COVID-19 in the Australian community, the NDIA extended some of the support measures and mechanisms place to support providers (both registered and non-registered) to ensure supports are continued and have been working with other government agencies, states and territories to share and discuss initiatives to ensure we respond to issues in the future. 


If you have any questions about these reports, they should be addressed to:

For Part 1 – NDIA Research and Evaluation Branch

Email:  [email protected] 


For Part 2 - The University of Melbourne, Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine
Level 7, Alan Gilbert Building
161 Barry Street
The University of Melbourne, 3010

Email: [email protected] 

Interim evaluation of the second Independent Assessment pilot

This report presents interim evaluation findings from the Second Independent Assessment Pilot.

In July 2021, the Commonwealth, state and territory disability ministers made the decision not to proceed with the introduction of independent assessments. Information about independent assessments has been archived.

The evaluation captures the feedback from representative sample of NDIS participants and includes: 

  • The experiences of participants and how they find the independent assessment process
  • The perspectives of independent assessors on the tools and their support needs
  • Whether participants feel their independent assessment accurately reflects both what they told their assessor and their functional capacity.

The evaluation was completed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) Research and Evaluation Branch. It also includes an independent review by the Centre for Disability Studies and the Centre for Disability Policy and Research at the University of Sydney.

Read the findings of the interim evaluation.

Evidence review: Support coordination and LAC models to inform how participants can be best supported to implement plans

Support Coordination and Local Area Coordination (LAC) models can support plan implementation for people with disability. The evidence also suggests that LAC interventions can be effective tools in reducing social isolation, enhance individual wellbeing and acting as a social glue for communities. 

Read the Support Coordination and LAC models report (DOCX 1MB).

What did we review? 

This project critically summarised international literature on services that are equivalent to NDIS’s Support Coordination and LAC models.

Using a comprehensive search and analysis of the best quality published evidence, we found: 

  • Evidence that Support Coordination interventions are seen by disability planners, consumers and their families as important facilitators of successful plan implementation.
  • Indications that LAC interventions are likely to deliver positive outcomes in relation to social isolation and sense of agency and control over health and wellbeing for its target cohorts, including supporting their vision of a ‘good life.’ They also act as a social glue for the communities they work with. 
  • No published data regarding costs or cost-effectiveness of Support Coordination interventions.
This page current as of
29 March 2022
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