NDIS - a success or lip service?

9th Jun 15

We are continually keeping an eye on how things are evolving within the disability area, and it was great to see the positive pass mark that has come to light in regards to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (or NDIS as it is more commonly referred to) and society’s feedback on this initiative.


So what is the NDIS?
It’s a change of approach to past operations. The NDIS is about focusing on the individual – through connecting and supporting people with a permanent and significant disability with people and services, within specific regions of Australia, in regards to helping them achieve their dreams of independence.[1]

The scheme itself is in its infancy, currently being trialled throughout the country.


Review of the trials
A citizen’s jury was convened earlier in the year to determine whether the NDIS was making a positive impact. The results have been extremely encouraging and the jury themselves had a number of improvements that they identified for the scheme to review and potentially be implemented.

You can view the full article at And the NDIS citizen’s jury verdict is…

Some of the more pertinent excerpts and findings include the following[2]:

  • The jury identified that the NDIS has improved participation in the community and increased independence for those affected. One example noted was the experience of a participant who, for the first time in her life, was planning to move out of home and into a share house thanks to the scheme.
  • The NDIS provides a high level of choice and control to the participants – where they set their own goals and choose their preferred service providers.
  • Participants feel more confident, and some indicated increased levels of self-esteem, about their own futures and relieved at not having to constantly worry about how they would be supported as they got older.


Top five recommendations for improvement
With the noted success of the scheme within these trials, the jury did provide a number of recommendations for improvement and implementation. The top five identified by are as follows:


1. Stronger planning

Like any good scheme, the success of it lies within the planning. It is critical from early on that the goals and aspirations of the person with disability are identified and an action plan or strategy put in place on how they will reach them.

The jury recommended more information about the planning process ahead of time, including advocacy for people with disability through the process, and better training for the planners themselves.

They also thought planners’ performance reviews should include feedback from participants, not just their colleagues. 


2. Don’t remove services before others are put in place
When the next best thing arrives on the door step, there is often a knee-jerk reaction to move resources as quickly from the previous offerings in order to fund new ones. While it seems obvious and logical, the jury noted that some government service delivery is being stopped without any thought of transitioning to other providers. Consequently this is impacting on people with disability and their families.


3. Communicate better with participants and ensure complaints mechanisms are in place
The key to the success of any relationship and process is communication, so it is no surprise that communication, its volume, quality and contact points would be identified. Some of notable aspects identified included:

  • having information available in different formats
  • the NDIS website being more user-friendly
  • extensive training of front-line staff in regards to upskilling into better communicators, and
  • ensuring participants are aware of their rights and highlighting the complaint mechanisms that are available to them


4. Include participants in the ongoing review process
Again a simple concept – customer satisfaction. The jury recommended independent research on participation satisfaction rates and the establishment of a ‘participant experience panel’ including real people in the trial sites who can give ongoing feedback and suggestions for improvement as the NDIS rolls out across the country.

It makes sense that those that review the NDIS include the feedback and satisfaction of those individuals using and within the system itself. Having an independent panel adds value to the process and the reliability around data towards future ongoing government funding of the scheme.


5. Education
Awareness and education of the NDIS is key to it becoming engrained in the health and disability sectors (and beyond). The jury identified that lots of people came to know about the NDIS via other services such as doctors, child care workers, hospitals etc.

The jury recommended a comprehensive plan be developed for reaching those workers as well as a national awareness campaign for the Australian community to learn more about the NDIS and who qualifies for it.

For a full report of the recommendations made by the jury, these can be read here.


Though Pandect are only a very small cog in the larger wheel, it is great to see that shift to a person-centred approach and look forward to being able to assist these participants and their fellow peers in future through independent living and support via Pandect’s products and the services offered by those Australian companies who import Pandect lifts.



Written by

As National Sales and Operations Manager, Mark’s role includes building and maintaining business relationships, and managing and overseeing larger projects, all while keeping a watchful eye out for business opportunities.  Having a background in the health and disability sector provides Mark with the necessary understanding to assist clients when considering access solutions for people with mobility requirements.

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