Working in partnership with Providers to transition to the NDIS

Posted on 04 December 2017

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) signifies unprecedented reform of how people with disability are supported in Australia.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) acknowledges the shift from block to participant funding presents both challenges and opportunity for the disability sector. The NDIA is committed to continuously working with providers as they transition to the new, participant centred approach, while supporting the development and growth of the support service market to ensure choice and control and value for money for participants.

The numbers of providers approved to provide services under the NDIS has almost tripled in the last 12 months alone - growing from 3, 696 providers in September 2016 to 10,507 as of 30 September 2017. The NDIA also notes the data provided by the National Disability Services (NDS) which indicates the extent to which clients are moving between disability service providers has increased. This affirms one of the core principles of the NDIS – Australians with disability exercising choice and control over their support options.

The NDIA is committed to ensuring NDIS prices are fair, affordable for participants and commercially sustainable – to this effect the Agency has commissioned an Independent Pricing Review which has consulted widely with providers and is due to report to the NDIA Board by the end of the year.

As part of the NDIA's role as market steward, the NDIA will continue to actively monitor and analyse the growth of the disability services market, and work with providers, to help all NDIS participants' access quality support services. The NDIA also notes NDS' acknowledgement of the Agency's agility in responding to provider concerns and increasing the short-term accommodation prices (respite) services in October 2017.

The NDIS is now delivering support to almost 120,000 Australians as the life changing reform continued to roll out nationally. While the most recent NDIS Quarterly Report shows that 84 per cent of participants rate their experience either good or very good, the NDIA has acknowledged the need to continually improve and is committed to getting the balance right between the rate of participant intake, the quality of plans and the sustainability of the Scheme.

In October 2017, the NDIA released details of a new NDIS 'pathway' designed to significantly improve the experience people and providers have with the NDIS. This work includes an improved NDIS portal and tools, combined with more straightforward processes that will reduce the administrative challenges and make it easier to work with the NDIS. Central to improvements for participants and their families is an improved planning process that will result in more consistent and quality planning.

It is important to note that feedback and collaboration between the NDIA and the disability sector has contributed to many NDIS improvements currently underway and notes NDS' acknowledgement that changes are already underway to improve the experience participants and providers have with the NDIS.