The NDIS pathway experience

Improving the NDIS experience

We have released details of new ‘pathways’ designed to improve the experience and engagement that participants and providers have with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The pathway refers to the experience that participants and providers have from their first interaction to their ongoing engagement with the NDIS.

The Pathway Review

We have been listening to participants and providers about what works and what doesn't, as well as capturing ideas on how to make their NDIS experience easier. We have used your feedback to make improvements to the way we work with you.

In April 2017, the NDIA announced a Pathway Review in response to feedback from participants and providers that their experience with the NDIS was not meeting expectations.

As part of that review, the NDIA worked with over 400 participants, providers and other stakeholders to learn about their experience. We listened and worked with:

  • People with a disability, families and carers
  • Providers
  • Staff (Partners and NDIA)
  • State and territory officials

The NDIA released a detailed report on the NDIS Pathways Review in February 2018.

A better planning experience

Beginning in January 2018 we tested key parts of the new participant pathway in three Victorian locations in partnership with two established Local Area Coordination (LAC) Partners, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Latrobe Community Health Services. By the completion of the pilot, over 1,000 participants had participated in the new approach to pre-planning, planning and initial plan implementation.

Some of the key features initially piloted in Victoria included:

  • Pairing participants with a consistent point of contact based on an individual’s needs – in most cases, an LAC.
  • A re-designed NDIS plan to make it easier for participants to see how their goals have been recorded and linked to community, other government services and funded supports.
  • Face-to-face pre-planning and planning meetings.

Read more in the media release: NDIS pathway pilot released

The new pathway

NDIS participants will have face-to-face planning meetings that deliver easier-to-understand, accessible plans, supported by a consistent, single point of contact for the participant.

The new participant experience will include:

  • Clear links to other service systems — to make sure that people get the supports they need from other services like housing, education, employment and health systems
  • Easy to understand information — key information and communication material will be provided in Easy English and in languages other than English to help participants use their plan.
  • Stronger connections between NDIA planners and Local Area Coordinators (LACs), who will become a consistent point of contact during the participant’s journey.
  • An easy to understand plan that is simple, accessible and explained by planners.
  • Face-to-face planning support will be offered to participants to assist during the critical pre-planning and plan implementation stages.
  • Skilled planners and improved training — LACs and Planners will undertake improved disability awareness and cultural competency training to increase their ability to engage with and support the unique situations and diverse needs of participants.
  • Better connections between participants and providers — the NDIS Provider Finder has been improved so that participants can find and engage the supports and services they need from their preferred provider, to put their plans in action and achieve their goals.
  • Improvements to systems — including updates to the participant and provider portals and NDIS website to make the experience of engaging with the NDIS clearer, simpler, and more intuitive.

Participant experience improvements will also include:

  • A nationally consistent Early Childhood, Early Intervention (ECEI) approach which will provide best practice intervention strategies.
  • A dedicated specialist team established for participants with complex support needs to improve access support, connections and coordination across multiple service systems, including community, mainstream and informal.
  • Ongoing work with Mental Health Australia (MHA) to develop a psychosocial disability stream to better address the needs of participants with severe and persistent mental health conditions.
  • A new hearing stream to streamline access for children aged 0 to 6, focusing on early intervention to minimise development delay and support life-long outcomes. Once this important work is completed for 0 to 6 year olds, the NDIA will also be improving the experience for 7-25 year olds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that experience hearing impairments.
  • Ongoing work with the Autism Advisory Council, a national group consisting of both peak bodies and people with autism, to ensure the Scheme can deliver quality outcomes for all people with autism.
  • Service enhancements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the LGBTIQA+ community, people living in remote and very remote locations and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Read the full media release

Testing a new approach to plan review

We are also piloting a range of improvements to the process for reviewing a participant’s plan to ensure participants, their families and carers, are supported through this important part of their NDIS journey.

A pilot is being undertaken in two locations - Toowoomba, Queensland and Coffs Harbour, New South Wales - in partnership with NDIS Local Area Coordinator (LAC) organisations Carers Queensland and Mid-Coast Communities. More than 200 local NDIS participants, approximately 100 people in each area, who are due for their plan review between August and October 2018 will be included in the pilot.

Key improvements to be piloted in Toowoomba and Coffs Harbour are:

  • Participants will have a joint plan review meeting with their LAC and planner with most plans expected to be approved at this meeting
  • A new participant booklet to guide participants and families through their plan review, helping participants think about what they have achieved with their previous plan and identify new goals
  • The LAC will be the participants’ single point of contact to support them to prepare, discuss and implement their new plan
  • Improved training and resources for LACs to support participants implement their plan.

An important aim of the pilot is to allow participants to receive and implement their plan sooner, ensuring they can connect with providers and their community to achieve their individual goals.

We have also tested features that have been rolled out nationally without the need to pilot, bringing more immediate improvements to the participant experience including:

  • A simpler and quicker process to make minor changes to a plan
  • Removing the need for participants to obtain quotes for low-cost assistive technology
  • Providing participants with the option to allow their providers to view their plan in the portal so providers can better understand their goals and tailor their services accordingly.

The new pathway for providers

Providers are critical to the success of the NDIS. We need a strong and vibrant provider market that contributes to improving outcomes for participants. As part of the new provider pathway, the NDIA will provide better information and insights to support business decisions and make it easier for providers to transact with the Scheme and connect with participants.

Reforms also include improvements for providers to promote an innovative market of supports and services. Improvements for providers include:

  • Clear and easy-to-understand policies — the first recommendations of the Independent Pricing Review are on track to be implemented in July 2018. Information to assist participants, providers and investors to understand new markets continues to be provided regularly.
  • Clear registration process — provider registration will be simplified and improved as states and territories start to transition to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission from 1 July 2018.
  • Connecting providers and participants – the Provider Finder tool has been enhanced to improve the search functionality, so that providers can be easily found and engaged by participants.
  • Effective and efficient payments to grow the market — a dedicated National Provider Payments Team will be expanded to continue working with providers to resolve specific claiming issues while broader improvements are made to the payments system. The Establishment of the Team in February 2018 has resolved a substantial amount of payment issues and improved communications with providers to increase understanding of the payments system.
  • Easy-to-use portal and website — includes improvements to quoting and claiming processes for low-cost Assistive Technology, as well as other improvements to the portal to make it easier to use.
  • Proactive engagement approach — regular engagement with providers to build the NDIA’s understanding of business needs and increase awareness about the purpose of the NDIS.

Previous pathway updates

Read previous announcements about the Participant Pathway review and new NDIS pathway experience.

  • 17 May 2018 - we explain:
    • How we are improving the participant experience
    • Progress of tailored pathways for participants
    • Improvements to the provider finder
    • A transcript and feedback from our recent provider webinar
  • 14 March 2018 - we explain:
    • The progress of the pathway pilot and improvements to our tailored pathways
    • An overview of the release of Pathway Report.
  • 13 February 2018 - we explain:
    • The establishment of the Participant Reference Group
    • How the pilot is progressing and initial feedback from participants, their families and carers
    • Information on the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) market
    • Registration details for the upcoming National Provider Forums
  • 16 January 2018 - we explain:
    • Where the pilot is taking place
    • Changes to the myplace portals
    • Information and registration details for the National Provider Forums
    • Testing of a new feedback tool to improve the provider pathway
    • Details about the Assistive Technology market
  • 4 December 2017 - we explain:
    • The new and improved Provider Toolkit