1 ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DISCUSSION PAPER Reference No: SQ The Independent Advisory Council has agreed to provide the following information: Concerns have been raised about the NDIA discussion paper on assistive technology. Although it highlights choice and control, there is a concern that there is going to be a centralised top down purchasing arrangement. 1. Has this been raised with the Independent Advisory Council? 2. What role is the Independent Advisory Council planning to make sure there is a real choice? 1. These concerns have not been raised with the Independent Advisory Council (IAC). 2. The IAC received a briefing from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on the NDIA Assistive Technology Strategy (the Strategy) at the IAC s May 2015 meeting. Members with personal experience noted that wheelchairs provided through a pool mechanism will generate fear among many people who use them as it suggests a one size fits all mentality. The IAC noted the intent of the Strategy is to improve participant choice and control while trying to build an end to end solution for participants. More broadly, it noted that assistive technology was an important strategy for improving the responsiveness and flexibility of services. It encouraged the NDIA to continue its focus on leveraging the National Disability Insurance Scheme to inform creative solutions for support plans that provide a better balance between labour and assistive technology. Creating incentives for recycling and refurbishment will be important, especially for children. The IAC is continuing to provide input into the draft Strategy. A number of members have met NDIA staff and provided their assessment of the Strategy based on lived experience. Members analysis demonstrates that the essential enablers to producing an effective Strategy include access to information and training, support in decision making, power over resources and relationships and the opportunity to think and pursue alternatives.
2 OPERATING COSTS FULL SCHEME TRAJECTORY Reference No: SQ Senator GALLACHER: Mr Bowen, you have touched on a few issues, but what I would like to see this may not be supported by the rest of the committee is the bureaucratic starting point: offices and costs, the number of people employed. Obviously you are going to have to ramp up to get to a critical balance in getting 460  people into the scheme. Then, when you get to that level, and presumably you are starting to go down the other side, I do not want to see at the end of this a huge bureaucracy that has a vested interest in people's lives. If their aspiration is to have an ordinary life, that does not mean they interact with a public bureaucracy every day of their life. It is a really difficult issue, but right at the start of this I would like this committee to see where we are tracking. I do not need to interrogate at every meeting, but I would just like to be able to follow it. Mr Bowen: We have that and we can show that to you. Our trajectory for our operating costs is that by full scheme we are operating on a margin below seven per cent, and that includes all the local area coordination. I have to say though that a seven per cent margin is achievable and we will achieve it The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is continuing to refine its Service Delivery Operating Model for full Scheme based on evidence gathered to date, including experience in trial sites. A key part of the design will be the consideration of the NDIA s resourcing requirements. It is likely that a different resourcing level will be required in the transition period in order to bring a significant number of participants into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), particularly between and This will also be required to deliver the NDIS in the longer term. A number of strategies will be employed to manage these requirements and contain the associated costs including: the use of non-ongoing staff; outsourcing arrangements during periods of peak demand; and aligning the phase-in plans for participants in the most efficient manner. The NDIA is committed to maintaining operating expenses at no more than 7 per cent of the total cost of providing reasonable care and support for participants [NDIS costs] once full Scheme is reached by 30 June The amounts shown in the table below reflect budgeted expenses over the four year forward estimates period to 30 June The Australian Government has not yet released Budget estimates for and future financial years.
3 Table 1: NDIA budgeted expenses to $ million Reasonable and necessary care and support for participants Community inclusion and capacity development grants* , , , NDIA costs , ,541.0 Total , , , ,201.6 NDIA costs as percentage of reasonable and necessary care and support for participants 36.0% 26.1% 18.6% 12.8% 8.8% Source: Portfolio Budget Statements Note that figures above have been rounded. * figure includes $14.3 million of expenses related to the Sector Development Fund (for which administrative responsibility has now been transferred to the Department of Social Services).
4 DISABILITY SUPPORT ORGANISATIONS Reference No: SQ The Independent Advisory Council has agreed to provide the following information: 1. Do Disability Support Organisations work in Indigenous communities? 2. How many Disability Support Organisations are there in total? 3. How can their further establishment be supported? 1. Yes, the Independent Advisory Council (IAC) understands that Disability Support Organisations (DSOs) work in Indigenous communities. 2. The IAC understands there are 18 DSOs. The National Disability Insurance Agency could provide more information about the DSOs. 3. The further establishment of DSOs could be supported through the expansion of the current DSO programme. The IAC has assessed that this DSO work should be developed into a comprehensive network across Australia so that all participants will have the opportunity to be part of peer-to-peer organisations. The IAC s analysis demonstrated a need for the DSOs and the local support groups they operate to continue to build basic understanding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the principles which underpin it and key features of its operation to reduce fear and uncertainty. With the funded DSOs, the local support groups they operate are assisting participants with information and support both in the area of pre-planning (including goal setting and decision making) and in plan activation and coordination (what supports might be available or suitable and how they may be organised). This work should be expanded. DSOs are also well placed to ensure that the focus of groups moves from funded supports to exploring the full range of opportunities for community inclusion. DSOs also provide a unique opportunity for participants to come together to identify shared needs and push existing or new providers to develop solutions. As per the evidence provided by Ms Jennifer Cullen, IAC Member, at the Committee s public hearing on 5 June 2015, DSOs also resonate very well in rural and remote Australia and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Ms Cullen went on say that DSOs play a very important role for people who are marginalised and do not understand the concept of disability.
5 NDIS AND EMPLOYMENT Reference No: SQ How will the NDIS link with the Disability Employment Services and the Australian Disability Enterprises? 2. Will the NDIA be providing input into the Government s review of Disability Employment? 3. Do the terms of this review consider the roll out and impact of the NDIS? 1. A response to this question was provided by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 3 June The NDIA is working with the Disability Employment Taskforce. Initial discussions are about the necessary links to support employment outcomes for participants. This has focused on: the need for a feedback mechanism from employers, through the Department of Social Services, to the NDIA about employer needs this information would be used to shape learning and development and economic security aspects of participant plans; assistance with the Taskforce engagement and co-design processes; life course approaches to achieving employment outcomes; and employment options in supported and open employment for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants. 3. Yes.
6 LOCAL AREA COORDINATORS Reference No: SQ Is work being done to look at the role of the Local Area Coordinator; how they are working differently across trial sites and the effectiveness and impact of the different approaches to the role? This should also include the difference between Local Area Coordinators and MyWay Coordinators. 2. Please outline to the Committee the current understanding of the role and impact of the Local Area Coordinators. 1. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has undertaken an evaluation with the Local Area Coordination (LAC) partners in Tasmania, and an internal evaluation of the experiences within trial sites is underway. The outcomes of both of the evaluations will be used to inform the scope and nature of the role of LAC for full Scheme. Information on the comparative role of the LAC to the MyWay Coordinators based on publically available information has been provided to the Joint Standing Committee. There is an independent evaluation of the MyWay trial to be undertaken by governments. 2. LACs will have an active role in the community to positively influence community attitudes to inclusion and work to address some of the systemic barriers to participation. They will also work to address barriers on behalf of individuals and support people with disability to build capacity to access other support systems and increase independence. The role of the LAC incorporates: active involvement in building the capacity of other community services to respond to the needs of people with disability and carers and to develop natural networks of support around people with disability; prevention, capacity building 1 and locally based practical solutions which are fundamental to Information, Linkages and Capacity Building 2 (ILC) and the concept of a wide entry gateway; and building and supporting informal support systems. 1 Capacity Building strengthens personal networks that better connect people with disability to opportunities such as employment. It assists independence through building up skills and informal networks of support. It also develops strategies to overcome barriers that can prevent or inhibit participation and social inclusion. 2 Information, Linkage and Capacity Building (ILC) connects people with disability, their families, carers and advocates, to community and informal supports and mainstream service systems, to enable an effective integrated response to disability which supports the choice and control of people with disability, their families and carers.
7 The role of the LAC is delivered through: working with people with disability, their families and carers to consider their immediate and future goals and how these might be best achieved; working with individuals and their families to achieve their goals by building new networks and accessing support and services in their community; and working alongside communities and mainstream services, supporting them to become more welcoming and inclusive. LACs provide information and linkages and referrals in a range of clusters such as: Mental Health, Advocacy, Employment, Transport, Early Childhood / Childcare, Income Support, Volunteering, Social/Community, Education and Training, Housing and Support / Accommodation. For those determined as eligible, LACs work with participants and their families to ensure they are plan ready by conducting pre-planning workshops and / or one-on-one sessions for individuals, their families and recognised supports to: ensure a strong understanding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning pathway; assist in documenting their goals and aspirations; assist in facilitating an understanding of the principle of choice and control for the participant; develop an understanding of reasonable and necessary supports; ensure informal, community and mainstream opportunities and support options have been explored, identified and documented, and are in place and/or linking/referral has commenced; and support the individual and their family to feel confident and ready for the formal NDIA planning development conversation and approval process. Positive outcomes and benefits can be expected in the moderation of demand for funded supports within the individual NDIS plan and the identification of connections with informal community and mainstream services. Longer term outcomes such as increased employment opportunities for people with disability can also be expected by building stronger public awareness and inclusion of the needs of people with disability. In these early stages of the NDIS, outcomes at an individual level have included: Economic participation Education Community and social participation Health and wellbeing Paid employment, work experience and volunteering Engaging participants into mainstream schools, post-secondary education, adult education and training courses Improved accessibility, better access and inclusive community groups, social networking Increased access to community and mainstream services, improved personal life skills, increased resilience, independence and confidence, increased self-esteem and family relationships
8 LACs continue to gather social stories to reinforce effectiveness of their role working alongside participants and within the community. Continual feedback is received from people with disability, community, service providers and NDIA staff which is valuable to scope trends and gaps within the community. This feedback is used to inform ongoing practice and direction of the LAC role.
9 NDIS IMPLEMENTATION PLANS Reference No: SQ What involvement has the NDIA had in the development of the plans to transition to full scheme? 2. Please provide the committee with the timelines for plan approval, by jurisdiction. 3. Will any large variations be able to be accommodated? 4. Will a plain English version of the implementation plans be published so they are more accessible and transparent? 1. Primary responsibility for agreements related to transition to full Scheme rests with the Commonwealth and state governments. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is working in partnership with jurisdictions transitioning to full Scheme to develop Operational Plans. These plans will serve as detailed implementation activity workplans in each jurisdiction transitioning to full Scheme and will give effect to Bilateral Agreements between governments. The plans will set out the key deliverables agreed between the NDIA and governments to support the rollout of the full National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and give effect to Bilateral Agreements and associated schedules. 2. The Department of Social Services (DSS) has advised that it is endeavouring to finalise the bilateral agreements for transition by end August The Council of Australian Governments Communiqué of 17 April 2015 states: Jurisdictions are endeavouring to finalise transition agreements by end August 2015 to support national rollout of the scheme, noting Western Australia s agreement will be made later to take account of its comparative trials of different approaches to implementing the NDIS. The Operational Plans will be finalised after these agreements are signed by governments. 3. DSS has advised that the format and clauses of the bilateral agreements for transition will be largely standard. The transition arrangements for each jurisdiction will depend upon the Commonwealth funding envelope that is available for each state or territory and the state government s preferred transition path. The Head of Agreement for each jurisdiction sets the high level framework and funding for transition. The NDIA is preparing for transition to full Scheme through the development of Operational Plans. As these support local implementation, some variation in activities will arise to ensure state specific conditions are effectively considered. 4. A decision on the release of the implementation plans is made by the individual ministers and government. However, the NDIA will develop a range of communication materials and these will be available on the NDIS website once publically announced.
10 SELF-MANAGEMENT Reference No: SQ The Independent Advisory Council has agreed to provide the following information: In many of our visits to launch sites the incidence of self-management was very low. 1. What are the overall figures of self-management, and out of how many participants? 2. Is this figure increasing? 3. What are the main reasons that are given to not choose self-management? 4. How can we support more people to self-manage if they desire? 1. The Independent Advisory Council (IAC) does not have access to the overall figures of self- managing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will be able to provide a response to this issue. 2. The IAC does not have access to this information. The NDIA will be able to provide a response to this issue. 3. The IAC believes that historically the main reasons why people choose not to self-manage include: A lack of familiarity with the concept: Many people may not have investigated what exists beyond their current situation, as they do not have the means to do so. In this context, they cannot conceptualise the benefits of self-management. NDIA staff involved in the participant pathway are also building their knowledge and experience of self-management. The administrative burden of self-management: Self-management requires an organised approach to recording and acquitting all expenditures. A common reason given for not taking up self-management is administrative burden. It also requires a familiarity with award obligations and interpretations which can be off-putting to some people. A lack of confidence exploring the marketplace: Many people do not know how to identify suitable providers, either mainstream or disability services, and are not supported to do so. Participants can find the process daunting. A lack of incentives: Under the current system, there is no benefit to the individual (other than control over their supports) for taking on the additional responsibilities related to self-management. A lack information: There is little practical and easy to understand information about self-management available to participants at this stage. More broadly, the term self-management is not used consistently across Australia and this is causing confusion for people with disability, families, service providers and government.
11 4. In better supporting people to self-manage, the IAC assesses that it will take time for people to become more confident adopting and implementing the concept. Building participant s capacity to adopt self-management is an important first step. In part, this can be achieved by providing clear accessible communication around self-management. NDIA initiatives, including self-management workshops and information resources, are essential to building awareness and confidence. The IAC considers that the rates of self-management will increase over the next five years as participants come to understand the advantages of self-management. Internationally, rates of participation in self-management have taken time to build and rates of participation reflect the investment in information sharing and education programmes on package self-management. This trend is likely to repeat itself in the NDIS. Peer-to-peer supports have been found to be particularly effective in addressing the barriers to self-management mentioned above. The IAC considers that Disability Support Organisations (DSO), as described by the Productivity Commission Report into the NDIS, can play highly effective roles in increasing the rates of self-management in Australia. Through the Sector Development Fund, the NDIS funded 18 peer support organisations to act as DSOs. Each DSO is providing information, education and mutual support to people with disability and their families and carers to strengthen their confidence and competence to identify package management options that best support their particular requirements. The IAC has assessed that this initiative should be expanded into an Australia-wide network of DSOs so that all participants can have access to a peer-based organisation that can provide them with well-informed, lived-experienced based and disability-specific information and education on options for using their packages more effectively and efficiently. A more consumer informed NDIS participant population will drive market demand for more independent, mainstream and innovative supply. With this in mind, the IAC has strongly recommended the national rollout of DSOs. The IAC is confident that such an initiative would lead to higher rates of participant self-management in the NDIS.
12 FUNDING FOR PERSONAL ADVOCACY Reference No: SQ The Independent Advisory Council has agreed to provide the following information: The Independent Advisory Council refers to support for people with intellectual disability. There are concerns that some people with intellectual disability are very disconnected and have little family support. Would it be preferable to fund personal advocates to build and strengthen trusting relationships? The Independent Advisory Council (IAC) thinks that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can better respond to the needs of people with intellectual disability. In response it has established an Intellectual Disability Reference Group, including people with intellectual disability, academics, parents and advocates. The group will produce guidelines for the National Disability Insurance Agency on how to interact and communicate with people with an intellectual disability, how to support participants with cognitive impairment to make decisions and how to plan and implement support for participants with an intellectual disability who lack informal support. Advocacy may be considered as part of this work. More broadly, the IAC is considering the role of advocacy in the NDIS for all participants and whether the NDIS should fund personal advocacy. Central to the NDIS is choice and control and the IAC has analysed that advocacy is critical to amplifying the voice of the participant and helping them articulate their needs and wants so as to realise this fundamental principal. Vulnerable people will always need advocacy; there will be an ongoing need for systemic and individual advocacy and to bring about systemic change. There are individuals that find it hard to access advocacy services and paid advocates are needed to support these people. The IAC will consider the complexity of these issues.
13 PARLIAMENTARY JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME HOUSING INITIATIVES AS PART OF THE NDIS (JSC) Reference No: SQ Please update the Committee on housing initiatives as part of the NDIS: 1. Quantum of funding over the forwards, how this will be administered and allocated across the trial sites, and what type of housing will be supported under this funding? 2. What is the estimated housing need of participants in the NDIS? 3. How much of the need will the current approach to housing support the need? The Department of Social Services is responding to these questions through the Budget Estimates process. The Department s responses will be available from the Senate Community Affairs Committee s webpage once tabled (DSS SQ refers).
14 SUPPORT FOR PERSONAL ADVOCACY UNDER THE NDIS Reference No: SQ Please provide advice to the Committee about how personal advocacy will be supported within the NDIS. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is responding to this question through the Budget Estimates process. The NDIA s response will be available from the Senate Community Affairs Committee s webpage once tabled (NDIA SQ refers).
15 SECTOR DEVELOPMENT FUND TRANSFER Reference No: SQ What was the rationale behind the transfer? 2. Was there an issue with how the agency was managing this funding? 3. What is expected to change in the way this funding is administered? Officials from the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) have answered questions relating to the transfer of the Sector Development Fund from the NDIA to DSS during the Additional Estimates hearing in February 2015 and at Budget Estimates in June The Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, also responded to questions on the Sector Development Fund transfer during the recent Budget Estimates hearing. Transcript references Additional Estimates (Thursday, 26 February 2015) Hansard pages 97, 98 and 99 (Senator McLucas, Minister Fifield, Ms Hand and Mr Bowen) Questions on notice relating to the Sector Development Fund: - NDIA SQ NDIA SQ SQ (including operational guidelines) Budget Estimates (Thursday, 4 June 2015) Hansard pages (Senator McLucas, Minister Fifield, Dr Hartland, Mr Palmer and Mr Bowen)
16 NDIS TRIAL EVALUATIONS Reference No: SQ What stage are the evaluations up to, by jurisdiction, including Western Australia? (DSS) 2. Will the evaluations be made public, when? (DSS) 3. How will the timing for the finalisation of the Western Australian evaluation align with the decisions needed on the next phase? (DSS) 4. How has lessons from the New South Wales trial been taken into account for the rollout in the Western Sydney area please provide examples? (NDIA) The Department of Social Services is responding to questions 1-3 through the Budget Estimates process. The Department s responses will be available from the Senate Community Affairs Committee s webpage once tabled (DSS SQ refers). The National Disability Insurance Agency response to question 4 on lessons learnt from the New South Wales trial for the Western Sydney site also relates to a question received through the Budget Estimates process. The NDIA response will be available from the Senate Community Affairs Committee s webpage once tabled (NDIA SQ refers).
17 NORTHERN TERRITORY IMPLEMENTATION DELAYS Reference No: SQ What is the Agency doing to respond to the slow progress in the Northern Territory on reaching its targets? The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is responding to this question through the Budget Estimates process. The NDIA s response will be available from the Senate Community Affairs Committee s webpage once tabled (NDIA SQ refers).
18 SA IMPLEMENTATION DELAYS (JSC) Reference No: SQ Are there any delays in South Australia and what is the Agency doing to respond? The Department of Social Services is responding to this question through the Budget Estimates process. The Department s response will be available from the Senate Community Affairs Committee s webpage once tabled (DSS SQ refers).
19 ANSWER TO COMMITTEE REQUEST FOR INFORMATION Reference No: SQ LOCAL AREA COORDINATION MARKET TESTING EXERCISE Details of the results of the marketing testing exercise undertaken in relation to local area coordination. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has undertaken initial market sounding to gauge interest in the provision of local area coordination (LAC) functions. This was a series of conversations to explain the role of LAC, expected outcomes and to discuss views on the values and skills that would be required from the market place. The market sounding was targeted to representative bodies and a number of organisations were selected to provide insight from the insurance, human services and disability support sectors. The responses obtained through this market sounding indicated strong interest in market testing of the LAC function, and in particular, the value proposition that effective LACs can provide for the growth and development of individuals and for the enhancement of National Disability Insurance Scheme goals, including increased independence and economic and social participation. Rather than a prescriptive approach, market players were keen to see a collaborative model of contracting, allowing flexibility and creativity in the delivery of the service, and were willing to share development of outcomes around social impact measurement and individual capacity building. During the sounding activities, market players expressed a preference to be provided with sufficient lead time to allow for recruitment and the development of organisational and individual capability, given that they will be required to build at considerable scale. The NDIA is currently organising a two stage approach to provide further, specific information to the market with a formal Request For Tender following finalisation of bilateral agreements, which set scales and timeframes for delivery.
IMPROVING COMMUNICATION WITH PARTICIPANTS Reference No: SQ15-000041 What steps is the Agency taking to improve communication with participants to ensure they are aware of things like home visits and who
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