News 16 November 2016

Rocky start to NDIS transition period

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NDIS quarterly report cover photo

The first quarterly report covering the NDIS transition phase has been released. Here’s what you need to know.

The good news

The three-year transition phase to full roll out of the NDIS began in July this year. So far, more than $3 billion has now been committed to the scheme in total.

From July to September the number of NDIS plans grew by almost 25 per cent, taking the total number of individuals benefiting from approved plans to 37,721.

More than 3,500 children were referred through the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) program.

Importantly, the scheme is so far mostly on budget and remains financially sustainable. The total cost of packages was higher this quarter than the revenue received but this is likely to be reflective of the current group of participants.

The not so good news

The report also shows that the NDIS fell well short of its original targets this quarter when it comes to participant numbers.

Originally the goal was to enrol 20,264 new participants between July and September. With IT problems causing setbacks from June those estimates were halved to 10,529 – but the final number of new participants was only 7,440. While this is 76 per cent of the revised enrolment target, it’s nowhere near the original estimate.

Satisfaction with the NDIA has also declined in the last quarter, though it remains high. During the trial phase 95 per cent of participants rated their experience as good or very good, whereas in the last quarter this dropped to 85 per cent of participants.

NDIA Chief Executive David Bowen said the number of people in the scheme was expected to double to 60,000 by the end of 2016.

“We are carefully transitioning the biggest social reform in this country since Medicare with new areas and age groups joining the scheme all the time,” he said.

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Jenny Macklin MP told the media the NDIA needs more resources and criticised the Government for causing delays by ‘mismanaging’ the IT system and missing the August 2015 deadline for signing bilateral agreements with the states.

This is only the beginning

While it hasn’t been a smooth start to the transition period it’s important to remember that this is only the beginning.

Over the next three years of the transition phase the goal is to move over 430,000 Australians to the NDIS. This is a huge undertaking and it will need careful, responsive management along the way.

The next quarterly report is due at the end of the year and should give us a better indication about how the scheme is tracking.

Further Reading 

Join the conversation

  • Nicholas Collyer

    It’s salutary to read that there are (only) 37 000 out of a projected 430 000 people on the scheme so far, and that 7.5 k people entered the scheme in the third quarter. If enrolments continue at the same rate as in this last quarter, full-scheme participation will take another 52 quarters, in 2029. That would be about 10 years behind schedule. There are probably a lot of factors I’m not aware of, but common sense suggests to me that the easy signups should come first, involving the relatively straightforward transitioning of people who already receive state and territory funded support packages, and getting runs on the board as quickly as possible.

    The actual transition could be expected to take longer. Like the energy needed to approach the speed of light, the closer the NDIA gets to full scheme the more work and resources will be needed to sign marginal participants such as those on remote communities, in boarding houses and hostels, in rural and remote Australia and in CALD communities. Full scheme by the 2030’s?

  • Nicholas Collyer

    This is not spam!

    So far, the scheme has 37 000 participants out of a projected 430 000. In the third quarter of this year 7500 people entered the scheme .
    It’s dangerous to extrapolate from one quarter, but at this rate it will take another 52.4 quarters to get to full scheme participation. That’ll be in 2029, about 10 years behind schedule.
    Common sense and good governance say the NDIA should go for easy sign-ups first: straightforward transitioning of people who already receive state and territory funded support packages.
    If that assumption is right, transition to full scheme may take even longer. As time passes, the NDIA disproportionately will need to commit resources to link up with marginal participants who live in remote or CALD communities, boarding houses, hostels, and rural and remote Australia.