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A report handed down by the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has found ‘gaps’ in service identified during the Scheme’s first nine months of operation.

The report contains information gathered from participants, carers, family members, service providers and disability advocates derived from public hearings undertaken in the Barwon, Hunter, Tasmanian and South Australia trial sites in April and May this year.

The Committee, which was established in December 2013, is tasked with reviewing the implantation, administration and expenditure of the Scheme, which is expected to provide support to 460,000 people at a cost of $22 billion by its first year of operation in 2019-20.

The Committee has identified a range of issues requiring action and attention by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) as well as the State and Federal Governments.

One issue identified by the Committee was the number of support plans that had been approved but not activated.

Committee Chairman, Mal Brough described this as a “big issue” and said there were indications from each of the four trial sites that up to 20 per cent of participants had not activated their plans. 
 
“In some cases this appeared to be because the participant or their carers did not know how to activate the plan, while in other cases the participant did not believe the service they needed was available in their location,” Mr Brough said.

The Committee has listed 17 recommendations in their report to address the issues and concerns identified. These include:

  • Independent work be undertaken to establish the veracity of the evidence that plans have not been activated and what causes and consequences this may have on the Scheme.
  • Further work be undertaken to establish where the gaps in service are and possible options for addressing these shortfalls.
  • That the NDIA implement a system whereby its website is renewed on a systematic basis, alerting the public to changes in its online documentation.
  • That the NDIA develop a systematic way of gathering qualitative feedback from NDIS participants and carers of NDIS participants.
  • That the NDIA develop and implement an information campaign to inform young people living in residential nursing homes in the trial sites of the process for applying to become a participant with the NDIS.
  • That the NDIA assist prospective and actual participants in building the necessary skills and knowledge to manage their own support package.

Click here to read the report and the Committee’s full list of recommendations.

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