First2Care Responds to the Annual and Q1 Report

4 minutes

29 November 2021

Annual Report:

Choice and Control

It’s fantastic to see that there has been an increase of 1.2% in participants who have chosen their own supports, and that participants are expressing their need for greater choice and control with each new report.

There are now less than 1 in 5 participants who are agency (NDIA) managed, with this quarter showing a 2% decrease in agency management and a 2% increase in plan management. This means that more participants are choosing to be plan managed or self-managed, allowing greater choice and control for supports and services, during their planning meeting or plan review meeting.

Some legal and advocacy groups have proposed a tick-box approach in place of the current system where participants are being assigned agency management by default. This would mean that rather than a participant having to specifically request that they would like to be plan or self-managed during their planning meeting or plan review meeting, they would be able to tick a box to specify which management option is their preference.

If you know someone who is agency managed and considering plan management or self-management, let them know that they can ask for this to be changed during their planning meeting or plan review meeting.

Diversity in the Workplace

The NDIA have developed or are currently developing inclusion and reconciliation plans to increase diversity in the workplace. Currently, 17% of NDIS employees are people with disability, and 3% identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The NDIA are working on a LGBTQIA+ inclusion plan which they aim to roll out in the coming months, with 7% of NDIA employees identifying as LGBTQIA+. Plans to increase the proportion of their workforce who are inter-generational or from CALD backgrounds are also in motion.

Supporting diversity in the workplace is an integral part of ensuring that businesses can grow with and reflect the needs and wants of the people they work with. First2Care strongly supports diversity in the workplace, and we hope that all participants can have access to culturally safe interactions with the NDIA as well as in their day-to-day interactions within their own workforce and life.

Data Issues

The Annual Report indicates that participants’ level of functionality has decreased since the inception of the NDIS and that fewer participants are leaving the NDIS that originally expected. The NDIS is still a new system having only been in place for a brief period of five years and drawing the conclusion that there is a lowered functionality despite higher budget is pre-emptive. Considering that a primary criterion for entering the NDIS is that a person’s disability be permanent, it is also unclear how the NDIA determined there would be larger number of participants exiting the NDIS.

The NDIS community view the NDIA’s self-reporting methodologies as increasingly unreliable due to the Q2 2019-2020 changeover of research conduction from the National Contact Centre to Australian Healthcare Associates. Since switching to an independent consultant to conduct research, satisfaction rates from participants and providers are lower than they were before the switch. The lowered rates aren’t necessarily a result of poor service but are more likely a result of data collection that shows participants aren’t as happy as the NDIA has portrayed them to be. This should be kept in mind when considering any collected self-reporting data by the NDIA.

Q1 Report:

Process, Planning and Review

Much like last quarter, some data is not comparable to previous quarters due to the change in research methodologies and the shift from internal research sources to Australian Healthcare Associates. As this change occurred in December 2020, it is likely we will have a clearer overall picture in the next quarterly report.

Pre-planning stage satisfaction rates have decreased slightly:

• Whether the person from the NDIS understood how participants’ disability affects their life (decreased from 85% to 83%)
• Whether participants are clear on what happens next with their plan (decreased from 67% to 64%)

This quarter have seen a slight decrease in participant satisfaction of the plan review stage:

• Whether the person from the NDIS understood how participants’ disability affects their life (decrease from 80% to 76%)
• Whether participants felt prepared for plan reviews (decrease from 85% to 84%)
• Whether participants’ NDIS plans are helping to make progress towards their goals (88% to 86%)

Average Plan Budget Trends

Average plan budgets were $2,400 lower this year than they were last year, with the average plan budget for September 2020 to September 2021 approximately $68,600.

Co-Design

With independent assessments gone, this quarter saw engagement with peak body stakeholders to understand and begin implementing co-designed facets of the Scheme. Peak bodies attended workshops which discussed a range of improvements needed for smooth operation of the NDIS. Following from these workshops will be the formation of a co-design advisory group, confirmation of priority work (for consideration by the broader disability sector), and information updates for the disability community on a range of topics and their progress.

If you have any further questions or concerns around the NDIA Annual Report 2020-2021 and Q1 Report 2021-2022, please contact our friendly First2Care team on 1300 322 273 or via email at support@first2care.com.au.