NDIA CEO Rob De Luca outlines his strategy moving forward with the NDIS. Speaking at the National Disability Services CEO meeting in Sydney recently, De Luca admitted that the biggest challenge for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) was prioritising important issues and delivering outcomes. “The NDIA recognises there are many parties involved in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and we need to work collaboratively to make a difference. We alone cannot make it successful.”

De Luca outlined several key initiatives he believed would deliver improvements for participants and providers.  These included a clearly defined information and operational policy, more straightforward approaches for connecting providers and participants, a consistent and easy to use NDIS portal to reduce the burden on providers and greater engagement between all parties.

He acknowledged that contact between  participants and providers has to be more efficient and information gathering shared more broadly, “so we can see what is working and how the NDIA is delivering on outcomes for participants”.

Two new pathways were announced at the meeting. A participant model is being piloted in Victoria, due to be completed by April 2018. It will address issues such as a more relationship based planning process involving face-to-face engagement with planning and a new provider pathway standard that will allow participants to share elements of their plans with service providers.

The NDIA is also working on strategies to support a competitive market with an independent pricing review due at the end of 2017. De Luca said once the report is released the NDIA will work through the recommendations with providers to implement any necessary changes.

He said because the scale of the scheme is significant it was critical to have enough providers with the appropriate capability to deal with it. Currently there are 120,000 participants enrolled and this is expected to increase four-fold over the next three years while spending is predicted to increase 10-fold. There has also been a five-fold increase in registered providers from the end of the last financial year.

Achievements within the NDIS are already evident from a recent survey. It found that 20 per cent of participants over 25 said the NDIS has helped with employment and 63 per cent over 25 said the NDIS has helped with social, community and civic participation; 84 per cent rated their planning process as good or very good and 93 per cent said their planner listened to them.

“From my perspective and from the agency’s perspective we must work within a much more open dialogue with greater transparency on information as there are many systems, process and cultural changes to work through that will take time,” De Luca said.