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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Spring 2022

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CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT TEAM NDIS FIVE YEAR LOOK AHEAD It’s always great to have a The NDIA’s corporate plan 2022 – “We understand that for the Having more people with lived If I was to provide a small critique plan. As kite flying enthusiast Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. It is pleasing the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) not only has a plan for the next five years, but also went a step further to release it to the community, allowing us to look at where the NDIS (and its participants) will be heading. 2026 celebrates the achievements of the NDIA over its first 10 years, while also highlighting its key focuses for the next period. Don’t worry if you have better things to do in this spring weather than read through the 55-page document, because we’ve already had a look for you. The first thing that jumps out is a commitment to co-design and consult with participants to ensure the NDIS meets the needs of the people it supports. This requirement has been discussed at length by participants and providers over the last couple of years and it seems that the NDIA has been listening. NDIS to succeed, it is critical that we listen and work with our participants, their families and carers and the disability community to make sure that each improvement is a step in the right direction and the NDIS is available for generations to come.” – NDIS Corporate Plan 2022-26, pg. 5 This reads as a strong commitment toward co-design; a goal supported by the recent naming of Australian Paralympian and disability advocate, Kurt Fearnley AO, as the new NDIA chair. With this focus, it appears the Agency has taken on feedback about the lack of consultation around the introduction of ‘Independent Assessors’ last year. experience in decision-making positions will only help improve the Scheme’s effectiveness, so for the NDIA to place this so prominently is a good step. But what is a Corporate Plan without some goals or ‘aspirations’ as the NDIA calls them. Within this plan, the NDIA has delivered five aspirations they will be working towards in this 5-year period. They are: 1. A quality experience and improved outcomes for participants 2. A competitive market with innovative supports 3. A genuinely connected and engaged stakeholder sector 4. A high-performing NDIA 5. A financially sustainable NDIS All sounds pretty good, right? Providing a good experience for participants is the goal of everyone involved with the NDIA, and having a competitive marketplace that pushes providers to work harder and smarter is vital in achieving quality outcomes for Clients. And, while some may question the way the NDIA has tried to balance the budget, we can all agree that however, it would be that a strategic vision should provide a panoramic view of ‘where we are going’ and a convincing rationale for why this makes good sense. While the list of aspirations is all positive, there are a lot of factors – including some of significance – that could impact the NDIA and the sector’s ability to achieve these aspirations (for example a robust workforce). I worry that the NDIA hasn’t convinced me as to how these concerns will be addressed. Understandably, some questions won’t or can’t be answered in a high-level corporate plan. So, while I agree with the vision, there’s a lot of work to be done to turn it into reality. Overall, I think this is a positive document for the NDIA and those participants and providers who rely on its success. Furthermore, the news and information coming out of the NDIA in recent months hint at an agency which recognises that the more they understand the individual needs of its participants and the more they engage with its provider network, the more effective the NDIS will be for everyone. This is important, as a final truth about ‘planning’ is that the more you know, the more effective your plans will be. The NDIA has been with us for over a decade and has learnt from supporting approximately 535,000 individuals to access personalised funding. The fact that we are all here 10 years later with an optimistic/realistic vision for the future shows just how far we’ve all come. As John ‘Hannibal’ Smith from the 80’s classic The A-Team used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.” without a financially sustainable and high-performing NDIS, we’re all in trouble. GEOFF HUTCHINSON MANAGER CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT 10 11