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2.3 How we intend to move forward

Having reached the significant milestone of transition to Full Scheme, our core focus over the coming year is to both improve the participant experience and to provide participants with even greater opportunities for improved outcomes. This includes helping participants build their independence by facilitating access to greater employment opportunities and social inclusion and engagement.

First and foremost, the safety of participants is paramount. The NDIA will continue to work across government to ensure continuity of essential supports for NDIS participants during the COVID–19 pandemic, including a focus on supporting those in ‘hot-spots’.

The Agency will continue to enhance the way we work with participants, their families and carers. The NDIA will simplify its processes to support people to gain access to the Scheme; provide more clarity and transparency around decisions; ensure plans include the supports required to achieve participant goals; and improve the timeframes in which we make decisions. The Participant Service Charter and the Participant Service Improvement Plan work together to outline how the Agency will deliver these enhancements. We aim not just to deliver on the benchmarks set but to strive to outperform them.

We will endeavour to deliver a Scheme that is fairer and more equitable. In part, that will be done by implementing independent functional assessments that will provide greater consistency not just in access decisions, but also in the level of supports provided to participants. To ensure greater access, those assessments will be paid for by the Scheme.

We will strengthen engagement with participants, their families and carers by providing them with more opportunities to provide feedback through a variety of channels, and by improving the way we communicate with participants and the way they get information from us.

 The NDIS will simplify its processes to support people to gain access to the Scheme; provide more clarity and transparency around decisions; ensure plans include the supports required to achieve participant goals; and improve the timeframes in which we make decisions. The Participant Service Charter and the Participant Service Improvement Plan work together to outline how the Agency will deliver these enhancements.

Additionally, we will work with providers to continue to grow a market that reliably supplies quality and innovative supports to meet participant needs and goals. In partnership with our stakeholders, we are working to develop and shape the market as it matures. We will continue to refine our approach in response to emerging market issues such as inefficient service delivery, limited variety, inaccessible services, and lack of consumer choice.

We will continue to improve the digital experience for participants and providers. Work is progressing on a digital partnership strategy to transform the participant and provider experience through increased use of technology. This will encourage the Agency as well as participants and providers to become more open to innovation and change.

We will continue to build the Agency’s reputation as an employer of choice by developing a capable and engaged workforce. Achieving the commitments outlined in the Participant Service Charter and the Participant Service Improvement Plan will require a continued capability uplift. This includes supporting front line staff to implement these changes, along with reinvigorating current systems and processes. This work has already commenced with the national rollout of joint planning, customer service skills, rapport building and disability awareness delivered to planners and LACs.

The realisation of our capability uplift requires continued enhancement of systems and technology. The Agency has commenced a range of ICT initiatives to enhance our core systems, provide greater accessibility and visibility for people with disability and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the way staff and partner staff perform their roles.

At the same time, we know that the Scheme must continue to be financially sustainable. This is critical to ensuring ongoing public confidence in the Scheme and that it remains in place for the benefit of future generations of participants. The insurance–based nature of the Scheme ensures any adverse trends are identified early and are acted upon. We are proactively addressing pressures.

Our priorities over the coming year will help ensure we deliver the Scheme that was originally envisaged, and a Scheme of which all Australians can be proud.

 Maria O'Hara. NDIS participant and Cairns local Maria O'Hara, who is blind, with Stickler syndrome, used her NDIS funding to purchase a device that helps her to identify items. This has increased her independence and confidence. "With the right assistive technology, you can do things you never imagined you could do before" Maria said.