Co-design Advisory Group December 2022 Communique

On Monday 12 December 2022, the Co-design Advisory Group met for the 15th time. 

The primary purpose of the Co-design Advisory Group is for the Independent Advisory Council (IAC), Department of Social Services (DSS) and the disability sector to provide strategic advice to the NDIA on the implementation of co-design and engagement processes within the disability community.

The following people attended the meeting.


  • Ross Joyce, CEO, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations


  • Ellen Skladzien, CEO, Down Syndrome Australia
  • Neha Prakash, Director of Strategy and Partnerships National Ethnic Disability Alliance
  • Leighton Jay, IAC
  • Leah Van Poppel, IAC
  • Sharon Boyce, IAC

NDIA representatives

  • Shannon Rees, General Manager, Communications and Engagement
  • Liz Callaghan, Branch Manager, Co-design and Engagement 
  • Jess Walker, Branch Manager, Agency Policy 
  • Sam Bennett, General Manager, Policy, Advice and Research 
  • Sarah Rosier, A/g Director, Co-design and Engagement


  • Matthew Wright, Director, Sector Engagement and Advice 
  • Caitlin Haddad, Assistant Director, Sector Engagement and Advice 
  • Phillip Wakefield, Assistant Director, Sector Engagement and Advice 


  • Donna Purcell, Branch Manager, Participant Advocate 
  • Mary Mallett, CEO, Disability Advocacy Network Australia
  • Dwayne Cranfield, CEO National Disability Ethnic Alliance
  • Jennifer Cullen, IAC 
  • Julie Yeend, DSS 
  • Trish Drury, DSS
  • Mel Young, Director, Co-design and Engagement 

Meeting summary

The Chair acknowledged the Traditional Owners of the land, paying respect to their Elders, past and present. The Chair also paid respects to people with disability. 

Co-design policy update

The Chair introduced Sam Bennett, NDIA General Manager, Policy, Advice and Research. 

Sam provided an update on next steps for the following co-design projects: 

  • The Supported Decision Making policy and implementation plan is expected to be endorsed by the NDIA Board in January 2023. The NDIA is aiming to release the policy in February or March 2023.
  • The Participant Safeguarding policy and implementation plan will be presented to the NDIA Executive Leadership Team in January 2023.
  • Further work on the Home and Living implementation plan will continue in early 2023. 
  • A 2023 work plan to progress the Information Gathering for Access and Planning project is being developed following a workshop with the Steering Committee in December 2022. 

Group discussion

Attendees discussed what opportunities there would be for the disability community to be involved in the co-design of the implementation plans for the policies. 

Attendees also discussed what further engagement with providers is needed make sure policy implementation goes smoothly.

Co-design Evaluation Framework

The Chair introduced Liz Callaghan, Branch Manager, Co-design and Engagement to provide an update on the Co-design Evaluation Framework.

Liz talked about the proposed scope for the Co-design Evaluation Framework and asked for feedback on the following elements: 

  • building trust
  • strengthening engagement 
  • improving the relationship between the NDIA and disability community
  • delivering better outcomes for NDIA participants.

Liz advised that a pilot engagement phase will start shortly.

Group discussion

Attendees responded positively to including trust in the Evaluation Framework.

Attendees discussed how other events such as the NDIS review will also impact on trust in the NDIA and NDIS.

Attendees also talked about how the Evaluation Framework could look at the ways co-design is making a tangible difference to the lives of people with disability

Communicating the outcomes of co-design

With some of the co-designed policies set for release in early 2023, Liz sought feedback from attendees about the best approach for communicating the outcomes of co-design.

Group discussion

Attendees agreed to continue publishing Co-design Advisory Group meeting communiques to make sure people are informed of the discussions.

Attendees also talked about the importance of centring participant and stakeholder experiences of co-design in communications, for example, by holding online panel discussions with participant and sector representatives involved in co-design.

Attendees recommended further conversations with Disability Representative and Carer Organisations on the best approach for communications.

Attendees also agreed to formally acknowledge and thank the people involved in co-design this year:

The Co-design Advisory Group wants to extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to the hundreds of people involved in co-design this year. 

We also want to acknowledge the work of NDIA staff and partners to deliver the co-design projects and their commitment to ‘learn by doing’ in partnership with the disability community.

The process of co-design hasn’t always been perfect. But from the perspective of the Independent Advisory Council and Disability Representative and Carer Organisations, this has probably been the best year in terms of working together constructively to create a positive future for the NDIS.

Meeting close

A forward calendar of meetings for 2023 will be provided to the group shortly. 

If you have any feedback or questions about the Co-design Advisory Group, please email [email protected]