Independent assessment pilot

Key facts:

  • 8 assessment tools were tested over two pilots.
  • We completed around 600 assessments in two pilots.
  • We held the pilots to test how we will implement independent assessments.
  • We’ll be restarting the second pilot soon, to continue testing how we will implement independent assessments.

We know independent assessments are a big change for participants. That’s why we’re releasing what we’ve learnt from the independent assessment pilots. We are committed to sharing the information and evidence we’ve collected on independent assessments, to demonstrate how they will benefit new and existing participants.

We ran the pilots to test how we would implement independent assessments, as well as the types of assessment tools we’d use.

You can read the independent assessment pilot learnings and ongoing evaluation plan (DOCX 377KB)

We also want to be open and transparent about any areas of independent assessments that need further focus before independent assessments start.

Why did we do the independent assessment pilots? 

The NDIS is an insurance-based Scheme, which invests in people with disability early, to improve their outcomes later in life. 

Because the NDIS operates on insurance principles, we need to make sure that decision-making about a person’s eligibility for the NDIS and their funding is; evidence-based, consistent, focussed on the person, takes a lifetime approach, and is likely to give people more and better opportunities to take part in everyday life and achieve their goals.

We know that where a person lives, the access they have to health professionals and a medical focus on diagnosis and impairment, has led to inconsistencies in how people are assessed for the NDIS, and the plans they receive.

To decide whether a person is eligible for the NDIS and the kinds of supports they receive, we need to have consistent and reliable evidence that captures detail of their functional capacity, and the environment in which they live.

It’s important to remember, the impact of disability on a person’s functional capacity is the basis for their eligibility to the NDIS. This is an existing rule, and is set out in the NDIS Act .

It’s also why independent assessments are an important part of assessing a person’s initial eligibility for the Scheme, as well as making sure they have the right supports in their NDIS plan. 

We ran the two pilots to test how we would implement independent assessments, to make sure the way independent assessments are applied is in line with the NDIS Act, and the Productivity Commission’s 2011 advice. 

We are using the information from the independent assessment pilots to help inform how they are introduced in 2021.

What we have learnt so far

There is no single assessment tool, which is disability-neutral, and matches the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (WHO ICF) and the requirements of the NDIS Act.

Based on what we’ve learnt from so far, we’ve included 6 tools in the independent assessment toolkit. Three or four of the tools will be administered in an independent assessments, depending on the person’s age to make sure that we produce consistent and reliable results between different assessors, and different types of participants.

You can read more about the assessment tools we’ve selected here.

We had to postpone the second pilot in March 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We’ll be restarting this pilot again soon, offering independent assessments for up to 4,000 existing NDIS participants with all disability types on a voluntary basis, from October 2020. We’ll publish more information about this pilot soon.

It’s important to talk about independent assessments now, while we’re preparing for their introduction in 2021. This approach will make sure that independent assessments provide simpler and more equitable access and planning decisions for all participants. 

The first independent assessment pilot (2018)

From November 2018 to April 2019, we ran the first independent assessment pilot. The pilot was held in nine metropolitan areas in NSW, with independent assessments offered on a voluntary, opt-in basis to people applying for the NDIS as well as existing participants aged between 7 and 64 years. 

The volunteers for the pilot had a primary disability of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disability or Psychosocial Disability (PSD). We chose these groups for the first pilot because they represent 63% of all NDIS participants.

This page current as of
16 October 2020
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