From the CEO 27 July update

Welcome to the latest of these updates. This follows the last update quite quickly, as July has been a month of many significant milestones and achievements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This financial year 2018-19, is going to be a year of many milestones, as the NDIS continues to roll out to more locations across the country. I look forward to learning about the outcomes and experiences of these participants through the latest round of participant surveys. These surveys help the Agency identify what supports are effective for participants, and ways the NDIS experience can be improved for all. 

On Friday 20 July 2018, NDIA and Partners in the Community senior leaders came together in Melbourne for the first NDIS Town Hall. One primary purpose of this Town Hall was to share with NDIS Leadership the refreshed NDIA Corporate Plan 2018-2022.

I am pleased to now share the Corporate Plan here.

It is often said the Agency and our Partners in the Community are rolling out a world-first Scheme with no template to follow. However, we do have a roadmap – the Corporate Plan. The four aspirations contained in this Corporate Plan together make up what the Scheme will look like and achieve for people with disability at full Scheme.

  • A quality experience and outcomes for participants.
  • A growing and competitive market with innovative supports.
  • A financially sustainable Scheme.
  • A high-performing NDIA.

The Town Hall event was an opportunity for NDIS leadership to plan for the remainder of transition, and how the Agency and Partners in the Community will bring the new NDIA Values and Corporate Plan to life to deliver on our purpose: making the difference so that people with disability have choice and control over their lives.

As I said to NDIA and Partner staff following the Town Hall, there are two primary reasons it was important the Agency hold such an event at this point in time.

First, in an organisation as large as the NDIA and our Partners in the Community, it is important we come together to share messages in a way that are consistent, meaningful and lasting, particularly when it comes to topics like leadership and the Corporate Plan. Leaders having a shared understanding of the work ahead is crucial if we are to successfully deliver what is an exceptional piece of social infrastructure that people with disability fought long and hard for.

Second, we are at the beginning of a new year of transition, and what will be the largest year in terms of the pace and scale of NDIS rollout. It is important to take this moment to reflect on what has already been achieved, and what we have left to do. It is also a good opportunity for us to take the refreshed NDIA values and Corporate Plan as a chance to also refresh ourselves, our ways of working and our mindsets.

NDIA organisational structure and local leadership

The NDIA is in the process of finalising work to nationally realign Agency functions and roles, and to clarify reporting processes and operating principles. As part of this work, the NDIA is moving to a national service delivery model to support greater consistency in how we deliver planning across the country. In this model, each region will continue to have a local senior leader on the ground.

We are also creating a number of new senior leadership positions and teams to support a range of groups, functions and matters across the Scheme, including:

  • people with disability in rural and remote locations;
  • early childhood services;
  • provider and stakeholder engagement, and;  
  • an expanding team of specialist advisors.  

This organisational structure will mean the NDIA is able to support its ongoing commitment to delivering a quality and consistent experience for NDIS participants, no matter where they live.

Fraud Taskforce

The Commonwealth Government has announced a new NDIS Fraud Taskforce (the Taskforce) to address potential and alleged cases of fraud against the NDIS.

The Taskforce will be a joint operation between the NDIA, Department of Human Services (DHS) and Australian Federal Police (AFP), and will work to tackle cases of fraud against the NDIS through information sharing, analytics and combined law enforcement efforts.

Establishing this taskforce drives home the warning to those that may try to commit fraud against the NDIS — the NDIA and Federal Government will not allow the misuse of funds intended to support people with disability.

It is important to note the establishment of this taskforce is not in response to any particular case or set of cases, nor is it an attempt to monitor how participants use their plans. Rather, it is a recognition of the Scheme's status as a major Government financial investment. The Taskforce will target serious, organised crime against the NDIS.

All reports of suspected fraud are taken seriously. Anyone with information about suspected fraud involving the NDIS should contact the Fraud Hotline on 1800 650 717.  This includes NDIA and Partner staff.

Portal enhancements

More portal enhancements to the NDIS participant and provider portals went live as part of the ongoing Pathways review. Among the changes, participants and providers have been given more control and visibility over service bookings.

Autism Advisory Group

On 6 July 2018, the recently established Autism Advisory Group met for the first time. The Group was established earlier this month as part of the NDIA and Federal Government's ongoing commitment to engage with organisations representing people with autism as the NDIS continues to roll out.

The Group will provide advice and feedback to the NDIA and strengthen the Agency's relationships with the sector, ensuring the delivery of a Scheme that supports people with autism to have choice and control over their lives.

This first meeting covered a range of topics and clarified the group's priority areas of work. These include strengthening training for NDIA and Partner staff and clarifying the role of the NDIS alongside the National Disability Strategy (NDS) in supporting people with autism to access services, supports, and get involved in the community.

The NDIA's relationship with this new group and this first meeting are an encouraging next step in the Agency's ongoing relationship with the sector and groups representing people with autism. The Autism Advisory Group will meet again soon, and details will be released closer to the date.

In other news

On Thursday 2 August between 11am and 12pm AEST the NDIA will be hosting a webinar on self-managing NDIS plans. This will be a great opportunity to get a lot of information and insights about what self-managing your NDIS plan means, how to do it, and your responsibilities if you choose to manage your own funds. Participants, families and carers are welcome to join the webinar and get involved by asking questions through the live chat.

Nominations are open (external) for the annual Human Rights Awards. Many people working in the disability sector will know someone who deserves a nomination for this prestigious award. It recognises the hard work being done in communities across Australia every day to further human rights and freedoms in Australia. I encourage you to have a think about who in the sector deserves a nomination and get your vote in by 5 August 2018.

As always, thank you all for your ongoing support and input to the delivery of the NDIS.