NDIS Mental Health Network Update – October 2017

In this edition of Mental Health Australia’s NDIS Mental Health Network Update you’ll find information about:

  • a NDIS provider benchmarking function, including details about an upcoming webinar
  • a National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) Mental Health Sector Reference Group Communique
  • a reminder about the National NDIS Mental Health Conference
  • two reports from the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS
  • the independent review into NDIS pricing
  • an invitation to try out an idea with the NDIA for the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) component of the NDIS
  • resources to assist people with psychosocial disability with the NDIS access process
  • the Department of Health’s NDIS Transition Workshops.

NDIS provider benchmarking – webinar this Friday!
The NDIA is collaborating with disability support providers to build a NDIS provider benchmarking function. Ableinsight (an independent survey manager) is conducting a large pilot survey collection to inform development of the benchmarking function.
Mental Health Australia encourages psychosocial disability providers to participate in the pilot survey. In return for their participation providers will receive customised reports gauging their performance against peers. More broadly, the data collected through the benchmarking process will also help the sector as a whole by giving governments a clear picture of what is happening.

Some NDIS registered psychosocial disability providers may have already received an invitation to participate. If your organisation would like to participate but has not yet been invited, please register at the ableinsight website (please click here). Please take advantage of this opportunity soon, as limited participant places are filling quickly and it is important that psychosocial disability organisations form a significant component of the pilot survey group.

To find out more about the benchmarking activity in the meantime you can read more on the Mental Health Australia website (please click here). You can also tune in to watch a webinar describing the pilot survey collection, showcasing the support available and presenting the survey tool itself this Friday 13th October 2017 at 2pm AEDT (please click here to register).

NDIA Mental Health Sector Reference Group Communique
The NDIA Mental Health Sector Reference Group has released its August 2017 meeting communique. The communique includes an update on the NDIA’s mental health workplan alongside a report from the scheme actuary, some information about NDIS psychosocial disability resources and a project focused on providing supported access to the NDIS for people living in psychiatric hostels in Western Australia.

The communique is available on the NDIS website (please click here).

Reminder about the National NDIS Mental Health Conference
Held over two days 16 & 17 November 2017 in Sydney, the NDIS Mental Health Conference is an opportunity for the mental health sector to work together to make the most of the NDIS. With the conference theme ‘towards a good life’, there will be a focus on the transformational potential of the NDIS for people living with a psychosocial disability.

The conference is aimed at the broad range of NDIS mental health stakeholders, including community mental health workers, people with lived experience, public and private sector mental health workers and government representatives. Up to 500 delegates are expected over two days, helping you to expand your professional network and fostering collaboration within the sector.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit the National NDIS Mental Health Conference website (please click here).

Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS – progress report on the implementation and performance of the NDIS
In early September the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS published its progress report on its inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS. In relation to people with psychosocial disability, the report reiterates concerns raised through other reports around the transition of Commonwealth Government mental health programs into the NDIS as well as participants with psychosocial disability being most at risk of experiencing poor outcomes. The report also reiterates concerns frequently raised by people with psychosocial and their services providers that planners have limited disability specific knowledge.

The report recommends that:

  • participants should be able to review NDIS plans before they are finalised
  • the NDIA should publish the results of the NDIS Participant and Provider Pathway Review and report on the issues raised therein in quarterly reports
  • improve consistency of NDIS Quarterly Reporting terminology across reports
  • the assessment of appropriate supports should be conducted only against criteria underpinned by terminology set out in the NDIS Act.

The progress report is available on the Parliament of Australia website (please click here).

Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS - inquiry the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities
In August 2017 the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS reported on its inquiry the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition. Mental Health Australia was very pleased to see recommendations which directly address our ongoing advocacy, submissions from the mental health sector and the evidence the Committee received at public hearings. The 24 recommendations relate to:

  • the eligibility criteria for access to the NDIS, including
    • reviewing the Act and rules to assess the appropriateness of the ‘permanency’ and ‘psychiatric condition’ requirements and including the principle of recovery-oriented practice
    • developing and adopting (with the mental health sector) a validated fit-for-purpose assessment tool to assess the eligibility of people with psychosocial disability that focuses on their functional capacity for social and economic participation
  • the planning process and barriers to access NDIS services, including:
    • resources and training for primary health care practitioners
    • development of a plan for advocacy and assertive outreach services
    • a specialised team of NDIS planners for psychosocial disability
  • the transition of services to the NDIS
  • continuity of services
    • governments clarifying how they will provide services for people who are not NDIS participants
    • development of an approach for supports for carers within and outside the NDIS
  • the scope and level of funding for mental health services under the ILC framework
  • the provision and continuation of services for NDIS participants in receipt of forensic disability services.

The report can be found on the Parliament of Australia website (please click here).

Independent review of NDIS pricing
The NDIA has engaged McKinsey & Company to undertake an independent review of NDIS pricing. McKinsey & Company will provide recommendations to the NDIA Board in relation to improved pricing effectiveness by the end of 2017. The Terms of Reference for the review are available on the NDIS website (please click here).

In September Mental Health Australia attended two events to inform the review. Josh Fear, Director of Policy and Projects, attended a workshop in Melbourne with the team from McKinsey & Company hosted by the NDIA. The workshop was also attended by representatives of Community Mental Health Australia and a range of community mental health providers. McKinsey and Company have also conducted a series of workshops nationally. Mental Health Australia attended the ACT workshop to express the long established concerns of mental health providers. Mental Health Australia is also preparing a submission to the Review.

ILC opportunity
The NDIA has announced that it will provide grant funding for ILC activities in New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from 1 July 2018. In preparation for ILC commissioning in these jurisdictions, the NDIA is providing an informal opportunity for interested organisations to:

  • Try out their idea for an ILC activity with the NDIA, and
  • Get written feedback from the NDIA on whether the idea fits within the ILC Policy.

This opportunity is open until 5pm AEDT, Friday 13 October 2017. The NDIA is encouraging organisations to submit their idea in advance of the closing date. More information is available in the ILC Toolkit website (please click here).

NDIS access process workshops
In early September the NDIA held a workshop with Mental Health Australia, Community Mental Health Australia, mental health consumer and carer representatives and government agencies to explain the NDIS access process.

Mental Health Australia understands that the recent NDIS Participant and Provider Pathway Review has resulted in some recommendations which may improve the access process for people with psychosocial disability. In an effort to improve consistency in the outcomes of access requests for people with psychosocial disability, a team of 8 mental health assessors who either have expertise in mental health service delivery or lived experience has been established to assess access requests from people experiencing psychosocial disability.

In addition, there are several resources available to assist people with psychosocial disability to access the NDIS. For example:

  • see the NDIS ‘Psychosocial Disability Key Products and Resources’ webpage, for fact sheets on ‘psychosocial disability, recovery and the NDIS’ and ‘completing the access process – tips for communicating about psychosocial disability’ (please click here).
  • the Mental Health Coordinating Council of NSW has also developed an online resource in consultation with people with lived experience, called ‘reimagine’ which provides information to assist people with psychosocial disability to engage with the NDIS. Please click here to visit the reimagine website.

The NDIA is planning to meet with stakeholders again this month to discuss resources developed by the NDIA on the Access Process for potential participants with psychosocial disability. 

Department of Health NDIS Transition Workshops
The Department of Health has funded Flinders University to run a series of workshops on NDIS transition for organisations funded through the Commonwealth Government’s Partners in Recovery, Day to Day Living, Personal Helpers and Mentors and Mental Health Carers Respite organisations. Representatives from the NDIA, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services will also be attending alongside peak bodies (including Mental Health Australia).

The focus of the workshops are to provide information that will assist organisations to develop / improve strategies that support the transition of program clients to the NDIS, including further information regarding the access and planning processes.

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