The NDS election platform
Ahead of the 2019 Federal election NDS and disability service provides are calling for 5 critical actions that will get the NDIS on track. so that it delivers the promise in every local community, in every corner of Australia.
We’re calling for:
1. Independent Pricing by July 2019
We need NDIA pricing to be set by an independent body to reflect the cost of providing high quality services that meet the needs of every Australian with disability.
The promise of the NDIS was a diverse and vibrant disability sector to dramatically improve access to and the range and type of services for people with disability.
However the prices set by the government’s National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) aren’t high enough to ensure staff are adequately trained or cover the cost of services for people with complex disability needs.
We’re urging governments to act on recommendations by the Productivity Commission and transfer responsibility for price setting to an independent prices regulator by July 2019.
“It is challenging to continue to conduct a profitable enterprise when [the NDIS] sets the fee for our company’s services – particularly without any prior knowledge of the services we provide and associated costs involved. Not all services are created ‘equal’.”
2. Less red tape
The focus on the NDIS needs to be on people, not internal government processes.
Service providers continue to be frustrated with NDIS systems and processes. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents to NDS’s 2018 State of the Disability Sector report either disagreed or strongly disagreed that NDIS systems and processes were working well.
“It costs money to be able to meet all the requirements of government, but we aren’t able to set the actual pricing to be able to recover the true cost of support. We are a price taker, and government set all the rules and processes that are administratively burdensome. Providers can’t actually charge what it really costs to deliver good services.”
3. Better NDIS planning
NDIS plans must be flexible, allow local decision – making and properly reflect the supports participants say they want, not what the government says they need.
Providers and participants need greater consistency in plans and reduced waiting times for plan reviews. The NDIA must ensure that all NDIS participants have the right to review a draft of their plan prior to its finalisation, to reduce errors, and to extend the length of plans.
Plans need to reflect local conditions and take account of transport, health, accommodation and employment challenges – amongst other local issues.
All participants who need support co-ordination should receive funding for it in their plans. Alternative funding mechanisms for remote participants need to be trialled urgently
The Commonwealth Government must work with the sector to remove uncertainty in the provision of supported employment options and ensure viable business models so that, as part of a range of employment options, these services can remain viable.
“NDIA keep changing the rules and there is no consistency between planners, areas and local offices. Incorrect information given to participants by planners and LACs is compromising service delivery and problems are then blamed on providers.”
4. Real sector safeguards
We need proper safeguards and mechanisms in place to support a dynamic, diverse disability sector that provides the choice and quality of supports the NDIS promises.
“Market failure is a current reality. We are having to restrict community access services delivered one-on-one, even though demand is growing. Some participants are only being offered supports in groups with a 1:5 support ratio, even though they could benefit from supports delivered in smaller groups or 1:1. This is undermining choice and control.”
5. A focus on employment and National Workforce Strategy
We need NDIS plans to support employment for participants, and a national workforce strategy to make sure the sector can deliver high quality services for people with disability in every corner of Australia.
Employment in plans
The NDIS was intended to support people with disability to be economically, as well as socially engaged in their community. NDIS planning should ensure the inclusion of employment supports for school leaver or adult’s plan where appropriate – including for supported employment.
“Many Australians with disability want to work, yet the employment rate of Australians with disability is low and static. This must change. The exclusion of people with disability from the workforce is bad for the Australian economy and a cause of poverty and social isolation.”
A National Workforce Strategy
The Government’s National Workforce Strategy released on March 23 is inadequate. We need a national workforce strategy which has been developed with the sector, one which acknowledges that assumptions underpinning current capped NDIS prices are preventing the sector from attracting and retaining new, qualified workers in the numbers needed to meet future demand for disability services.
Providers consistently emphasise that as the NDIS rollout vastly increases demand, recruitment and selection have become more challenging.
Right now 63% of providers are finding it difficult to recruit disability support workers.
“Finding the right skills and competencies of support workers to match client interests/needs is becoming more difficult, particularly in regional areas where the pool of good and available staff is smaller.”
“The rate of pay and security of employment (guaranteed hours) make it difficult to recruit and retain support workers.”