The way the NDIA approaches its work and interacts with the community it serves is important.
The Participant and Provider Pathway Review provides an important opportunity for the Agency to reassess its interactions with participants and providers. It also provides an opportunity to build community confidence in the Agency’s ability to deliver quality outcomes for NDIS participants.
Beyond the review, the Agency is focussed on building and maintaining strong relationships, and responsive, transparent communications with key stakeholders. During the 2016-17 financial year, the Agency and Partners connected with the community through strategic engagement, events and communications.
The NDIA’s engagement strategy outlines how the Agency aspires to build and drive deep relationships with key stakeholders, particularly with the disability sector. As part of this, the Agency runs a CEO Forum every six to eight weeks, which brings together CEOs from 24 key disability peak bodies. This forum is an opportunity to provide updates on the progress and challenges of implementing the NDIS, as well as to listen to feedback from the sector regarding their experiences of the NDIS.
In 2016-17, an average of 75 events were either run or attended by NDIA regional teams each week. Three interactive webinars were held for participants and the most popular, ‘Developing and starting your first plan’ had 3,271 registrants. More than 550 comments and questions were submitted during the webinar.
The Agency recognises that incorporating the perspectives, opinions and experiences of people with disability and other stakeholders will lead to the best Scheme possible. The Agency is progressing work to provide more opportunities to include the experience and expertise of stakeholders, including participants and providers, in projects and processes that matter to them.
Some of the key areas of work in 2016-17 were:
- Participant and stakeholder workshops – testing the usability of processes such as service bookings in partnership with participants.
- Employment – establishing the Agency’s Employment Steering Committee and addressing the interface between NDIS funded supports and Disability Employment Services to improve employment outcomes for people with disability.
- Carers – acknowledging the essential role of carers by developing specific carer-related training for staff.
The Agency continued to strengthen its links with elected representatives. Senators and Members of Parliament (MPs) were offered the opportunity to host or attend an NDIS information session, in partnership with the NDIA, for their constituents.
Eight of these events were held in the 2016–17 financial year with more than 700 people attending.
Post-event evaluations have shown people value the opportunity to speak face-to-face with NDIA staff, Partners and their local representative about the Scheme and their personal circumstances.
Zoe Neville, parent of NDIS participant Ruthie, attended the Albury MP event. “I think people should go in feeling relaxed and feeling confident that this is going to make their lives better, because it really has changed our lives,” she said.
These events complement a number of initiatives undertaken by the Agency, working in conjunction with the state, territory and Commonwealth governments, to build community awareness and understanding of the NDIS. This includes working with the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS and holding NDIS information sessions in partnership with state and territory governments to assist local communities to prepare for the NDIS.
In March 2017, the NDIA partnered with People with Disability Australia () to participate in the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras parade.
The NDIS and Mardi Gras event are perfectly aligned. Both are about building a more inclusive Australia. The partnership withdemonstrates the Agency’s commitment to empowering people with disability to live the life they choose. Agency staff walked side-by-side with members wearing purple NDIS shirts and wigs. The event reached thousands of people online through live social media and videos made from the parade.
The Agency recognises the power of partnering with established disability and community groups to reach new audiences, and in the past year has worked with organisations such as the Raising Children Network, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Australian Paralympic Committee.
Improvingsystems and processes to deliver quality outcomes
The NDIA is committed to building effective systems and processes, including Information and Communication Technology (), to execute its goals. This will enable the NDIA to inspire community confidence in its ability, and the ability of its systems, to deliver the Scheme.
The Agency has been working with the Department of Human Services () to optimise its systems to support full Scheme operations and payment accuracy. A particular focus has been improving the functionality and user experience of the participant and provider myplace portals.
The Participant and Provider Pathway Review is providing invaluable insight into how the Agency’s systems can be improved, from an end-user’s perspective.
Keyprojects and process improvements during the year included:
- system changes to the online participant and provider portals with a focus on improved functionality and a positive user experience;
- enhancements to address identified business process gaps to improve the experience for participants, providers and staff;
- expanding the operating hours of the NDIS Contact Centre to 8am – 11pm local times, Monday to Friday; and
- embedding more rigour to test functionality for system updates. These quality control processes will be phased in progressively during the first quarter of 2017–18.