Building the readiness of the non-government sector for the NDIS

The Department of Family and Community Services has managed the risks of the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in New South Wales effectively by increasing the overall capacity of the non-government sector and investing in provider capability, according to a report released today by NSW Deputy Auditor-General, Ian Goodwin.

The Department successfully worked with the non-government sector to increase the services they provide to help meet the expected increase in demand under the NDIS. Over the past decade, the Department directed funding toward disability support that was consistent with NDIS objectives, such as increasing support for people with disability to be more involved in the community and giving people with disability more choice about the support they receive. However, more work is needed to build the sector's capacity to provide services to people with more complex support needs and to help existing non-government providers complete the transition to the NDIS successfully.

The Department invested more than $30 million in programs that aimed to help non-government providers get ready for the NDIS. The programs focused on areas including business strategy, corporate governance, financial management and marketing. The overall impact of this investment is not clear because the Department did not collect baseline information on the skills of non-government providers or set targets for improvement before starting the programs.

The report also identified several broad principles that may be relevant to other departments and agencies that are seeking to develop the non-government sector to deliver human services. For example, defining the desired outcomes for people using services and including these in service delivery contracts.

This audit assessed the Department's management of the risks of the transition to the NDIS by helping the non-government sector prepare to move to the NDIS. It did not examine the design of the NDIS, or the effectiveness of the work of the National Disability Insurance Agency or Australian Government departments. Several other reviews have considered the Australian Government's implementation of the NDIS.

The NDIS is a major reform that aims to change the way disability support is provided and received. Funding for disability support in New South Wales will rise from $3.3 billion in 2015–16 to $6.8 billion when the NDIS is fully operational in 2018–19 and the number of staff required is expected to double in the same period. The NSW Government is responsible for helping existing non-government providers to prepare for the NDIS by developing the business skills and systems needed to operate in a competitive disability services environment. The NSW Government is also responsible for supporting the Australian Government’s work to develop a national market for disability services.

Further information

Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664 and email