An expanding and diverse workforce

To fulfil its purpose, the NDIA must have a capable and committed workforce, including skilful and passionate leaders, who are empowered to deliver the Scheme.

During 2016–17 the NDIA grew rapidly to meet its bilateral obligations and operational requirements.

At 30 June 2017, the Agency had 1,950 employees across 79 sites and the national office, employed under the Public Service Act 1999 (). Strategic workforce planning is critical in ensuring the NDIA attracts and retains the required workforce.

The NDIA is also focussed on ensuring it is an employer of choice for people with disability, and on becoming a leading organisation for access and inclusion.

Agency Governance Structure

Figure 7: Agency Governance Structure

Executive Management Group

The Executive Management Group () leads NDIA staff and Partners to deliver a high-quality experience for participants and produce better outcomes.

The  is made up of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Operating Officer () and three Deputy CEOs. It is the primary forum for operational decision-making, and providing strategic advice to the Board.

The  is chaired by the CEO and reports to the Board.

The purpose of the  is to:

  • advise the CEO on overall strategic direction, priorities, management and performance;
  • oversee the Agency’s financial position by allocating resources and monitoring performance and risk;
  • oversee  governance committees; and
  • ensure the Agency meets its regulatory requirements.

In addition, the Agency has internal committees that provide coordinated decision-making on matters relating to people and culture, operational policy and transition to full Scheme.

Executive team

Headshot of Rob De Luca

Chief Executive Officer (from 28 August 2017)
Robert De Luca

Robert De Luca joined the NDIA as CEO on 28 August 2017. Mr De Luca was previously Managing Director of BankWest. During Mr De Luca’s time as Managing Director, BankWest invested significantly in improving the experience of its one million customers.

Under his leadership, BankWest won the AIM WA WestBusiness Pinnacle Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence in 2016 and WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality.
Mr De Luca has an extensive background in financial services, change management, and a strong and ongoing focus on the customer experience and equality in all his roles. He is married with three children, and is defined by his family, values and passion to make a difference.

Headshot of David Bowen

Chief Executive Officer (until 28 August 2017)
David Bowen

David Bowen was NDIA CEO until August 2017. He was appointed when the Agency was established in May 2013. Prior to this, he worked as a consultant to the Commonwealth Treasury and  on the NDIS. He was a member of the Independent Panel advising the Productivity Commission on its review of the formation of the NDIS and was Chair of the National Injury Insurance Advisory Committee until his appointment as CEO of the NDIA.

Mr Bowen has had close to 30 years’ experience in personal injury insurance issues. He was General Manager of the NSW Motor Accident Authority from 1998 to 2010 and during that time established the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Authority.

Headshot of Grant Tidswell

Chief Operating Officer (until 29 September 2017)
Grant Tidswell PSM

Grant Tidswell was the Chief Operating Officer () until September 2017. Mr Tidswell commenced with the Agency in August 2016 and was responsible for ensuring the successful transition to full Scheme. Mr Tidswell’s permanent position is with the Department of Human Services () as the Deputy Secretary responsible for the Department’s operational capability that delivers face-to-face, telephony and claim processing services across Australia for the Medicare, Child Support and Centrelink programs.

Mr Tidswell led Centrelink’s operational response to a number of emergencies, notably the flood and cyclone emergencies across Australia in early 2011, the Victorian bushfires in 2009 and the Northern Territory Emergency Response. For his work in response to the Victorian Bushfire crisis, he was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2010.

Headshot of Stephanie Gunn

Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Participants and Planning
Stephanie Gunn

Stephanie Gunn joined the Agency in 2012 and has held a number of different roles across operational design and service delivery. Through her lived experience with disability, she has developed a passion for inclusive communities. She has led the Agency’s work on building the capacity of communities to be more inclusive of people with disability and how to create opportunities for people with disability in their community.

Ms Gunn was appointed Acting Deputy CEO, Participants and Planning in February 2017. She oversees regional sites, continual refinement of the participant experience, ensuring work practices preserve the financial sustainability of the Scheme and embedding the approach to Partners in the delivery of the government-agreed implementation schedules. Ms Gunn has worked at a senior executive level in a number of federal Australian agencies including a core role in the establishment of the National Blood Authority.

Headshot of Vicki Rundle

Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Markets and Supports
Vicki Rundle PSM

Vicki Rundle joined the NDIA in October 2015 from the Commonwealth Department of Employment. Ms Rundle led the early rollout of the NDIS for NSW, , SA and Tasmania, then moved into a national operations and coordination role until early February 2017 when she assumed the role as Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Markets and Supports Division.

Ms Rundle has worked in senior executive roles across the Commonwealth and state government in a range of health and human services across policy, service delivery reform and corporate roles. She was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List for her work on the  national early childhood quality reforms.

Ms Rundle is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a qualified coach recognised by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership.

Headshot of Margaret McKinnon

Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Governance and Stakeholder Relations
Margaret McKinnon

Margaret McKinnon joined the NDIA in May 2017 from the Department of Social Services (). In her former role with , she worked on policy responsibility for NDIS markets and workforce and the establishment of the national quality and safeguards arrangements for the NDIS at full Scheme. Prior to this, she ran a range of corporate functions in the Department.

Ms McKinnon has worked in a number of senior executive roles in the Commonwealth Education and Employment portfolios including as Group Manager of Job Services Australia – the privatised employment network. She was previously responsible for policy and programs dealing with the Vocational Education and Training and Schools sector as well market development for Australia’s education engagement internationally.

Previous  members

  • Louise Glanville
    Former Deputy CEO, Governance and Stakeholder Relations, Louise Glanville departed the NDIA in May 2017.
  • Ian Maynard
    Former Deputy CEO, Operations, Ian Maynard departed the NDIA in February 2017.
  • Carolyn Smith
    Former Deputy CEO, Organisational Capability, Carolyn Smith departed the NDIA in September 2016.

The Scheme Actuary, Chief Risk Officer and Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer also attend  meetings
as observers:

  • Scheme Actuary, Sarah Johnson.
  • Chief Risk Officer, Paul O’Connor.
  • Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer,
    Carolyn Hogg.

Sarah Johnson,
Actuary of the Year

Sarah Johnson has been recognised for her vital role in the formation of the NDIS and was named 2016 Actuary of the Year by the Actuaries Institute. The award, presented in September 2016, acknowledges her important work in ensuring the sustainability of the Scheme.

Ms Johnson was appointed as the Scheme Actuary of the NDIS in November 2013. In this role, she is responsible for assessing and reporting on the financial sustainability of the Scheme so that management and the Board can make informed decisions about the Scheme’s continuing sustainability and direction.

“The award is a fitting recognition of the important role Ms Johnson has played in creating the world-class insurance Scheme,” David Bowen said.

“We have a huge responsibility in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the NDIS to ensure the Scheme is in place to support generations to come. Sarah’s contribution as Scheme Actuary to this goal is critical.”

Workforce expansion

The NDIA workforce is enhanced by the unique mix of experience and knowledge, with employees coming from across policy, program, operational service delivery agencies in Commonwealth and state governments, as well as the private and the not-for-profit sectors.

Under the Bilateral Agreements, the NDIA has an obligation to offer state and territory based employees first opportunity to apply for any new ongoing roles within their respective state or territory. This process is to be completed prior to any external recruitment. This process is commonly known as “first offer” and has shaped the profile of the NDIA workforce and allows the Agency to benefit from a wealth of existing knowledge and experience.

As a geographically-diverse workforce, Agency staff and Partners in the Community work across state and territory boundaries and throughout rural and remote regions. The Agency’s national office staff are predominantly based in Geelong, however the national office also has a presence in Sydney and Canberra.


infographic alt

Attracting and retaining talent

In the past year, the Agency was recognised as the seventh most appealing Australian employer of choice out of a pool of 150 employers at the Randstad Awards.

The Agency is committed to attracting and retaining the best people to deliver the NDIS. The Agency is also investing in talent development, performance and succession planning processes to ensure it not only attracts the right talent but also grows and develops staff from within.

In 2016–17 the Agency confirmed its commitment to leadership capability in its Leadership Framework. The Leadership Framework defines the capabilities, behaviours and attributes required of the Agency’s leaders to deliver a quality, high-performing, sustainable Scheme. The Agency also encourages formal and informal learning and development to develop staff capability and capacity.

Diversity and inclusion

The Agency is committed to becoming a leading public sector Agency for access and inclusion, and achieving a diverse workforce that is reflective of the communities it serves. The Agency is determined to be an employer of choice and to create a safe and inclusive environment that keeps its people engaged and committed.

People with disability

  • In 2016–17, 14.4 per cent (280) of the Agency workforce identified as having a disability. This compares with an average across the APS of 3.7 per cent.15 The Agency’s target is 15 per cent of its workforce identifying as having a disability.
  • At 30 June 2017 the Agency had 75 staff accessing 83 different licenses from nine different assistive technology software products. These products assist staff with blindness or low vision, mobility, dexterity, cognitive and learning impairments.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment

At 30 June 2017, 2.7 per cent (53) of the Agency’s employees identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The Australian Government has set the Agency a target of 2.5 per cent of Indigenous representation by 2018. In the People Strategy 2017–19, the Agency has set this target at three per cent.

Maintaining a gender balance

  • At June 2017, 73.6 per cent of the Agency’s workforce was female, compared to an  average of 59 per cent.

The Agency currently has good female representation across the Agency and at 30 June 2017:

  • 62 per cent of 321 executive level employees were women.
  • 51 per cent of Senior Executive Service () staff employees were female.
  • Of 280 employees with disability, 67 per cent were women:
    • 165 work under the  classification.
    • 21 were executive level employees.
    • Two were in the .

The Agency is committed to ensuring the views and experience of employees with lived experience of disability are respected. In 2016-17 the Agency continued the Staff Participant Network () for NDIS staff members who are also NDIS participants, or family or carers of NDIS participants to share ideas and experiences to inform the NDIS rollout. The Agency received accreditation as a ‘disability confident recruiter’ through the Australian Network on Disability and is the first Commonwealth Agency to obtain this.

Lived experience of disability is also considered in the Agency’s approach to recruitment. The Australian Public Service Commission () RecruitAbility Scheme is applied to all advertised vacancies and affirmative measures and identified positions are used to attract and employ people with disability and also Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons. Where possible, a person with disability is included on recruitment interview panels, to reaffirm the Agency’s commitment to employing people with disability and to ensure people with disability are represented.

The Agency has trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees for selection panels when specific affirmative measures provisions apply.

The Agency launched the first Reconciliation Action Plan () on 13 July 2016. The  was developed by a working group comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff. This was in addition to launching the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network, which will provide peer support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and offer a forum to discuss workforce matters for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. Online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness Training was introduced in July 2016 to increase cultural awareness, knowledge and understanding of the First Peoples of Australia.

See Appendix 1 for Agency staffing statistics:

  • Table 10: Agency staff by employment type and level 2016–17.
  • Table 11: Agency staff by substantive classification (headcount), 2015-16 and 2016-17.
  • Table 12: Agency staff attributes, 2015-16 and 2016-17.
  • Table 13: Agency employees who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (headcount), 2015-16 and 2016-17.

15. Source: 2015-16 State of the Service report

Richard Colman, at the NDIA National Office in Geelong.

Richard Colman, at the NDIA National Office in Geelong.