The Federal Government has signaled several NDIA workforce improvements designed to ensure better service delivery to people living with a disability.
The roll-out of the NDIS is a massive undertaking, delivering a ‘once in a generation’ reform.
With such an ambitious program to deliver, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has experienced significant issues in the implementation of the Scheme; not least with delays in the processing of plan applications, the level of knowledge and training of frontline staff, and general service quality delivered.
The NDIA has been constrained to date because of a staffing cap mandated for the Agency; a cap which the Productivity Commission earlier recommended be removed as an impediment to developing capacity within the Agency to deliver the Scheme. The necessary outsourcing of plan assessment processes to contractors and temporary staff (because of the cap) has not assisted in delivering better outcomes for NDIS participants.
The Federal Government has now responded, however, announcing in late August that the cap would be lifted, with additional resources to be employed directly by the NDIA. The staffing cap has been lifted to 3,400 by 2021-22, with an additional 750 staff to be employed over the next year, commencing in October. In addition, the Government announced that further targeted training will be provided for to 6,000 planning and frontline staff and that there will be an increase in the number of staff that can make scheme access decisions and approve plans.
These measures should go some way to improving the efficiency and responsiveness of the Agency, assisting the management of a backlog of plan assessments, and building the expertise, skills and capacity within the NDIA to deliver a better-quality service.
Something that is most welcomed by the sector.
It should be noted that Labour has promised earlier this month that they will lift the NDIA staffing cap altogether if elected.