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  • Writer's pictureAaron Norrish

Understanding the NDIS Review

The Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), conducted by an independent review panel and commissioned by the Commonwealth Government, published its “Working Together to Deliver the NDIS” Final Report on 7 December 2023. The Review provides 26 recommendations and 139 supporting actions aimed at renewing the promise of the NDIS. Here’s a breakdown of the key recommendations:

NDIS Review Report Our Final Report 2023

Foundational Supports

The Review recommends that Commonwealth, State, and Territory governments collaborate to provide foundational supports for people with disabilities, primarily benefiting those under 65. These supports would be outside individualised NDIS budgets and include:

  • General Foundational Supports: Information and advice, capacity building, peer support, self-advocacy, and disability employment supports.

  • Targeted Foundational Supports: Home and community supports, aids and equipment, early childhood supports, psychosocial supports, and transition supports for young people. Early childhood supports should address developmental concerns to ensure timely intervention and support for children and families.

Governments have agreed to work together to fund, design, and deliver these supports.

NDIS Access, Planning, and Budget Setting

The Review suggests transformative changes to improve NDIS access and planning processes:

  • Access Decisions: Should focus on functional impairment rather than medical diagnosis, enabling a whole-of-person approach. Access decisions should also consider disability and developmental concerns to ensure comprehensive support.

  • Planning Process: NDIS participants should receive funding at a ‘whole-of-person’ level rather than line-by-line. A ‘needs assessment’ should determine an overall budget, focusing on a person's support needs and shifting towards a strengths-based approach.

  • Reasonable and Necessary Supports: The concept should remain broad, assessing whether a participant’s total budget is reasonable and necessary rather than each support individually.

Housing and Living Supports

The Review addresses inconsistencies in NDIS funding decisions about housing and living supports:

  • Specialist Housing and Living Navigators: To help participants explore housing options and exercise choice and control.

  • Trial New Living Arrangements: Allowing participants needing 24/7 support to trial arrangements before committing.

  • Commission SDA Homes: In remote locations and for participants with complex needs.

Supports for Specific Cohorts with Psychosocial Disability

  • Children with Disability: More support through mainstream services and foundational supports. Support should be tailored to children with permanent and significant disability to ensure they receive the necessary interventions.

  • People with Psychosocial Disability: A new approach focusing on personal recovery and increasing independence. The new approach should also improve access to mental health services for individuals with severe mental illness.

  • First Nations People with Disability: Improve access to culturally safe services and involve First Nations communities in decision-making.

Transparency and Accountability of NDIA Decision-Making through Independent Review

The Review emphasizes the need for transparency in NDIA decision-making:

  • Codify Operational Guidelines: In legislation and the NDIS Rules, ensuring consistency with court and tribunal outcomes. Involving the disability community in the codification process will ensure that the guidelines reflect the needs and experiences of people with disabilities.

Collaboration Across Government

Successful delivery of the NDIS relies on collaboration across all government levels:

  • Replace APTOS: Develop new agreements for shared responsibilities and implement reforms collaboratively.

Summary of Major Recommendations in the Final Report

The Review proposes fundamental changes, including:

  • Unified Support System: For people with disability, including foundational supports for those not eligible for NDIS. The unified support system should prioritize individuals with significant disability to ensure they receive comprehensive and consistent support.

  • Improved Participant Experience: Consistent eligibility decisions, better assessment processes, and flexible planning.

  • Replace Support Roles: Introducing a ‘Navigator’ function to support participants and non-participants.

  • Better Mainstream Services: Improve support from other government departments.

  • Technology and Plan Management: Investment in technology and a digital payments system to reduce reliance on plan managers.

  • Pricing and Regulation: Hand over pricing responsibility and introduce risk-proportionate regulation.

  • Reduce Restrictive Practices: Urgent action to reduce and eliminate restrictive practices.

NDIS Review Report

The Review highlights the importance of co-designing these changes with people with disabilities and ensuring a smooth transition to the new system.

For more information and to read the full report, visit the NDIS Review Final Report.


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