Disability Intermediaries Australia responds to the NDIA Support Coordination Discussion Paper


Disability Intermediaries Australia (DIA) is pleased to provided a submission and response to the NDIA Support Coordination Discussion Paper. Support Coordination is a critical component of the Scheme and there is significant opportunity to promote quality improvements for the direct benefit of participants.

DIA acknowledges the considerable work to date undertaken by the Department of Social Services (DSS), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) and the NDIA to support the development of the market.

DIA provides this submission having been contributed to and reviewed by the DIA membership, and is made on behalf of providers who deliver Support Coordination and Plan Management services to over 105,000 NDIS participants across Australia, or 1 in 4 NDIS Participants.

This research, evidence and data based submission totals 96 pages, and includes a range of supporting materials and case studies to answer each of the 21 questions. DIA’s views contained within the submission include that:

  1. Effective market facilitation requires investment in independent intermediary services that support people to navigate and gain the most from the market. This holds true for the majority of participants, not just the most disadvantaged;
  2. Funded practitioner collaborations, conferencing and supervision are critical to the development of a quality focused service delivery market;
  3. Information and provider connection alone cannot drive nor ensure the quality participant outcomes; it must be coupled with support for participants to build and/or maintain capacity over the long term to develop and improve effective social, community and economic participation;
  4. Addressing workforce issues requires investment not only in the content, quality and accessibility of training to increase the supply of skilled workers, but also in improving the conditions of those employed in the sector;
  5. Price regulation can be important to protect people from predatory pricing; however, price limits must not be a barrier to quality, flexible, innovative and responsive services. I.e. pilots or small examples of innovation does not indicate broad ability for a market driven quality and innovative service;
  6. The NDIA should fund more Support Coordination hours and justification why;
  7. A high level overview on the functions of Support Coordination;
  8. A focus on Support Coordination alone will not solve all challenges in the market. These require a broader response, which includes comprehensive and effective market stewardship;
  9. Choice and control for participants to choose how they coordinate their plan (i.e. themselves or with a Support Coordinator or through an LAC);
  10. With only 40% of participant funded with Support Coordination it leaves many with a lack of supports, whether vulnerable or not;
  11. Quality and standards of Support Coordination, the NDIA should consider industry certification and work with DIA to develop sector standards that provide mandated quality standards; and
  12. Intermediary service provision (Support Coordination and Plan Management) should be separate from organisations that are also provide direct service provision such as Core, Other Capacity Building and Capital Support.

DIA is making is response and submission public and can be downloaded using the below link.

On the release of the DIA’s submission and response, DIA CEO, Jess Harper, said:

“DIA is at the forefront of Intermediary service thinking and is driving quality and service approaches within the sector to achieve outcomes for people with disability and the NDIS.

DIA believes the market for Support Coordination and Plan Management has moved beyond how the NDIA views these supports. The NDIS has all of the necessary elements to be successful, but at present there is a risk of continuing the status quo: price controled efficiency over quality and innovation.

DIA recognises that developing a robust, innovative and quality focused Support Coordination market is a formidable task. However this responsibility for action is not held by the public sector alone. The aim of Support Coordination will not be fully realised until it is embedded within a broader market quality and innovation improvement strategy that draws on the perspectives and expertise of all sectors — public, private, not-for- profit, community and participants to co-design the most effective response.

DIA invites the NDIA and NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to work collaboratively together on the next stages of the Support Coordination Review along with DIA’s development and implementation of Sector Service Standards for Support Coordination and Plan Management.