e-Blast Member Update:  Joint Standing Committee (JSC) on the NDIS: NDIS Planning Interim Report

On 3 December 2019 the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS released its Interim Report on NDIS Planning (the Report) in which they made it clear that many of the issues they were hearing were not new. The Committee stated that urgent action is required to improve the planning process to ensure that NDIS participants are fully supported to achieve their goals.

There were 156 submissions to the Committee’s inquiry into NDIS Planning, including QDN’s submission which recommended appropriate training, and ongoing professional development for planners so they understood the ‘lived’ experience of people with disability, in particular, the supports required for participants with complex needs. QDN’s submission also recommended the involvement of participants in reviewing a draft plan prior to final approval.

Overview of the Committee Report

The Committee has stated that this is an interim report as more time is needed to fully consider the issues related with the planning process and the impact of recent government initiatives to improve the NDIS – this includes the Tune review.

With the recommendations from the Tune review into the NDIS laws and rules expected to be finalised by the end of 2019 it is hoped that the Committee’s recommendations will be taken into consideration in the final report.

It is good news that the Committee has taken on board all of the feedback that has been given.  It has concluded what you have been telling QDN – that the planning process does not involve NDIS participants in a meaningful way that has given them the opportunity to communicate their goals and support needs or allow for them to challenge plans that do not meet their needs.

The Committee also noted unacceptable delays in the review process even where changes were minor or routine, and that the current NDIS funding model may not be giving participants adequate access to funding for transport services or to allow participants to use funding more flexibly.

Overview of the Committee’s Recommendations

The Interim Report outlines 14 clear recommendations to address the issues being experienced with the planning process.  These include that:

  • participants see a fully costed draft plan, at least one week prior to approval
  • participants are involved in a face-to-face meeting with the NDIA before plans are approved and for this to be standard practice
  • plan reviews are completed within 45 days
  • additional training is provided for any person involved with planning, including and Local Area Coordinators
  • children with complex support needs and/or an acquired disability are prioritised for access decisions, planning meetings and plan approvals
  • all participants with complex support needs be immediately streamed to the NDIA to have their plan developed and funding package approved
  • the NDIA use simpler and consistent communication and terminology
  • the NDIA to immediately implement a mechanism to allow participants to pay for transport out of core funding.

Other recommendations such as, participants being able to request a review to one part of their plan without this resulting in a review of their whole plan were also made.

Click here to read the interim report.

What’s Next and Potential Future Engagement

Overall, the Committee has made some clear and common-sense recommendations but there is still some way to go to ensure NDIS participants have more choice and control in the planning process.

The Committee is proposing to present a final report to the Parliament in 2020.  But before this happens, they have said that they will give further consideration into the issues that people are raising around the NDIS planning process in the coming months and will hold additional public hearings.

It is important that we continue to ensure our voices are heard around the issues that people are experiencing in the planning process and to ensure that the changes recommended by the Committee are put into practice.

No word has been announced to date on these hearings but QDN will be keeping a watch on what is happening in this space and keep you informed.

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