NDIS Capacity Building Project Update 3 - November 2013

NDIS Capacity Building ProjectWelcome to another MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Update for November 2013.
MHCA NDIS Project Advisory Group

The MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Advisory Group (PAG) teleconferenced for the first time on Thursday 7 November to canvas a range of issues including priorities for a face to face meeting of the PAG to be held in mid-December.    It is clear that members are keen to focus on a plan to ensure the NDIS improves outcomes for people with psychosocial disability while at the same ensuring that consumers and carers who do not meet the access requirements for the NDIS are still able to access appropriate psychosocial disability supports if they need them. 

PAG members keenly anticipate the deliberations of the five Working Groups (see below) to inform their work and also agreed to make the PAG minutes available to MHCA members.  Minutes will appear on the MHCA website when available. 

MHCA NDIS Project Working Groups

In the meantime the proposed membership of the MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Working Groups has also been agreed. 

Thank you to those who put themselves forward for Working Group membership.  We have been able to accommodate most nominees onto at least one group, but some nominees were not included as several groups were significantly oversubscribed.  

Travis Gilbert or Liz Ruck will be contacting proposed members over the next week or so to discuss your involvement and your thoughts on what the working group could prioritise, given the project’s limited resources and the need to focus on the most critical issues. 

The Working Groups will address the following priority areas identified at the MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Workshop held on 27 August 2013:

  1. Scheme design and administrative arrangements
  2. Assessment and eligibility
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation and service quality
  4. Diverse Groups and supported decision making
  5. Organisational readiness and workforce

It is hoped that the Working Groups will teleconference before mid-December with the outcomes of their discussions, including nominated priorities, to inform the agenda of the next Project Advisory Group meeting in mid-December.

Launch site visits

MHCA has recently completed visits to launch site participants in Victoria (Barwon launch), NSW (Hunter launch) and WA (Perth East Hills NDIS launch and MyWay launch sites).  It is clear that, even taking into account the differing target groups for each launch site, there is a wide variation between how the launches are operating.  This is partly due to the individual state and territory negotiated arrangements about which services are in scope for the NDIA, and  partly due to the relationships that are developing between local service providers and the local NDIA offices.   The comparison highlights some good lessons about how best to manage the transition to the NDIS for people with psychosocial disability, including most importantly the need to consult with consumers, carers and service providers on all decisions that affect them.  This is the message that the MHCA will continue to deliver to the NDIA.

The MHCA and Psychiatric Disability Services of Victoria VICSERV recently wrote to the NDIA to express concerns about the NDIA compelling service providers in Victoria to hand over personal client information without clients’ consent as part of the launch process. While the NDIA is able to do this lawfully under the new NDIS legislation, service providers are alarmed at the potential breach of trust that could result from providing personal details about consumers to a government body, regardless of how well-intentioned the request might be.  Aware now that this has also happened in NSW, the MHCA hopes to be able to discuss these issues with the NDIA soon to ensure that such practices are not replicated more widely.

The sector is also increasingly concerned about the extent to which NDIA engagement demonstrates the capacity to support effective decision making for people who are not used to advocating for themselves and how this seems to be disadvantaging some consumers.  The potential of this issue has long been highlighted by carers and service providers and was raised at the PAG teleconference.  An interesting article appeared in the Australian last weekend highlighting similar concerns for people with intellectual disability: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/fifield-demands-action-on-disability/story-fn59niix-1226756923270#.  The issue will of interest to the Working Groups considering Monitoring and Evaluation and Supported Decision Making.

Mental Health Sector meeting with the Chair of the NDIA Board

On a much more positive note, Frank Quinlan, along with a number of mental health sector experts, was invited to meet with Bruce Bonyhady, Chair of the NDIA Board at a small round table on 16 October 2013.   The purpose of the meeting was to talk through many of the challenges that are being faced by the NDIA and the mental health sector around incorporating psychosocial disability into the NDIS.  Stakeholders at the round table were positive about being able to work through these issues systematically as the launch sites gather momentum.

Housing and the NDIS

In a recent development, Bruce Bonyhady addressed the National Housing Conference in Adelaide on 31 October to announce that money allocated to the NDIS included an ongoing capital development fund ($550 million per year, rising to just under $700 million in 2018/19) that could be used to facilitate improved housing outcomes for people with disability.

The scale of housing need amongst NDIS participants is estimated at between 83,000 and 122,000 new dwellings.  He told participants that he hoped that in time the National Disability Insurance Scheme could prove to be a catalyst for a transformation of the housing options available for people with disabilities. Given that the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, prevents the agency from borrowing  and it does not have ‘assets’ to contribute directly to housing, the NDIA will need to partner with community housing providers, local and State/Territory Governments and the corporate and social finance sector in order to achieve this transformational objective.

The NDIA will be releasing a discussion paper on housing and the NDIS within the next few weeks and will be seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders about the role it can play in facilitating improved housing outcomes for people with disability in the coming years. Community consultations will also be held over the coming months. The MHCA encourages people involved in our NDIS Mental Health Network to be involved in these consultation contribute to these consultation opportunities and we will provide more detail on how to do so as information comes to hand.

Website update

The new MHCA website is now live and information on the MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project can be found at this link http://mhca.org.au/general/mhca-national-disability-insurance-scheme-capacity-building-project.

The MHCA NDIS and Psychosocial Disability Advocacy Brief is a new addition to this information, although some of you will have already seen it.  The purpose of the Advocacy Brief is to summarise key psychosocial disability and NDIS issues. An updated version of this advocacy brief is currently under development.

Stay in touch!

If you have any information that you would like to disseminate to others members of the network or contribute to these updates please contact Travis Gilbert on travis.gilbert@mhca.org.au.
As always we remain eager to hear about your experiences on the NDIS as it evolves.

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