With the release of the much anticipated Review of the NDIS Act and Participant Service Guarantee by David Tune, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) fully supports the 29 recommendations.
“We believe they will go some way to improving outcomes for participants and potential participants of the scheme”, says Mr Tony Jones, Policy & Advocacy Manager at SCIA.
“To date, the NDIS has not served the interests of all people engaging with the scheme, with far too many inconsistencies in the quality and functionality of plans, and unnecessarily lengthy delays in getting outcomes from unscheduled plan reviews. There has also been a lack of transparency from the NDIA in how planning decisions are made, much to the frustration of participants.”
The recommendations of the Tune review will go some way to correcting current problems experienced by participants. Particularly of note is extending times for prospective participants to gather evidence, allowing evidence to be used for multiple purposes; greater engagement for participants when deciding supported independent living funds; greater flexibility across the different funding streams of plans; participants receiving a full draft plan before it is approved and an onus on the NDIA to explain its decisions on how it is awarding funds and access decisions.
The Tune review also seeks to improve and reduce the time frames for internal reviews managed by the NDIA and external reviews through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The review mechanisms have been a constant frustration for participants seeking adjustments to poorly conceived plans that are not fit for purpose.
“SCIA has been calling out for draft plans to be reintroduced, including in our submission to the federal parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS’s Planning inquiry. Being able to look over a draft plan before it is finally approved will no doubt improve outcomes for participants and reduce the need for unscheduled reviews.”
“Lastly, the Tune review is silent on the current NDIA staff caps and SCIA would also like to see this cap lifted across the agency, which is currently limiting its capacity to function effectively.”
“We call on the federal government to act quickly to implement all of the recommendations of this review,” added Mr Jones.