Productivity Commission Position Paper: Growing Confidence that the Issues are Finally Being Recognised

The Productivity Commission has today released its position paper on the NDIS Costs, writes Brent Woolgar.

206 Submissions were received by the Productivity Commission and from the summary of the findings it appears that there are some consistent themes amoungst many operating within the NDIS.
 
Only 2 days ago the NDIA CEO, David Bowen released a summary letter regarding the recent price reviews. The price review process received 82 submissions. As a result of the review it is understood that there are some price increases greater than CPI in some support clusters and an independent price review is also going to be undertaken. The paper released today acknowledges that the price review process has just concluded they have not made any recommendations on prices at this stage.
 
Back to the Productivity Commission Paper, some key findings include:
 
The speed of the NDIS rollout, as specified in Bilateral Agreements between governments, has put the scheme’s success and financial sustainability at risk. It has resulted in the NDIA focusing too much on meeting participant intake estimates and not enough on planning processes, supporting infrastructure and market development. 

This focus is manifest in poor outcomes such as confusion for many participants about planning processes; rushed phone planning conversations; inadequate pre‑planning support for participants; problems for providers with registering, pricing and receiving payment; and a lack of effective communication with both participants and providers (source: NDIS Costs Position Paper, Overview and Recommendations, June 2017, Commonwealth of Australia)
 
This statement is a direct reflection on feedback being heard by DSC on an everyday basis and it is encouraging that there is a growing admission, not only by the Productivity Commission, but also the NDIA, that there has been significant issues in the planning process that impact the overall scheme operation and outcomes. The findings go on to state that planners and LAC’s need greater disability knowledge and participants need greater awareness of the planning process. ILC’s do not escape attention as the paper correctly highlights that too few resources have been available during transition periods.
 
The key findings of the review also highlight the issues being faced by the scheme and interfaces with other services such as health and education and the need for greater clarity around these interfaces.

No good news for persons with psychosocial conditions as the Commission has stated it does not support a change to the eligibility criteria to relax the definition of permanency.

It also touches on the workforce development challenges and introduces the scope for more paid care to be provided by informal providers to address the predicted shortfall in disability work force. They estimate that over the next few years 20% of new jobs created in Australia will need to be in the disability care sector.

The Position paper makes for encouraging reading in most areas with the vast majority of issues with the NDIS to date finally being recognised and recommendations being formulated on how the process can be made better.

Will we see a push out of the rollout dates? Stay tuned.
 
A summary version of the paper can be sourced here:
http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/ndis-costs/position/ndis-costs-position-overview.pdf

The full paper can be sourced here:
http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/ndis-costs/position/ndis-costs-position.pdf