NDIS Capacity Building Project Update 5 - February 2014

NDIS Capacity Building Project

Welcome to the MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Update 13 February, the first update for 2014.

NDIS Organisational Readiness Workshops for the mental health sector in March and April 2014 

In collaboration with the state and territory mental health peaks and National Disability Services (NDS), the MHCA will be running organisational readiness workshops throughout the latter half of March and April 2014.  The workshops will provide attendees with the opportunity to catch up on National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) progress nationally and consider the implications arising from the roll out of NDIS in their state or territory context.  The workshops will also showcase the National Disability Services Organisational Readiness Tool, which has been designed by NDS to ensure that organisations have the governance and financial processes in place to transition to operations under the NDIS, which will be of particular interest to service providers.  

Interested attendees will have the opportunity to sign up to access up to a six hours of worth of individual follow up and coaching from an organisational readiness expert for free.  This coaching will assist organisations to work with the tool and get the best out of it – highly recommended for organisations daunted by the task ahead or those wanting to check the quality of their organisational governance.  Organsiations wishing to take up the offer of individual coaching will need to be prepared to sign up on the day of the workshop.

The first of these workshops took place in Hobart on the 6 February 2014, coordinated by the Mental Health Coordinating Council of Tasmania and included representatives from service providers, consumers, carers and mental health services.  Contributions included a keynote speaker from the Hunter launch site, experiences from service providers and consumers and carers and an update from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) office in Tasmania.

Details on events to be held in other states and territory in March and April will follow once available.

NDIA engage mental health expert

Paul O’Halloran is a Clinical Psychologist who works with the Western Sydney Mental Health Services and who has been engaged as a consultant by the NDIA to develop a mental health and NDIS Discussion Paper. It will explore benchmarks for NDIS Tier 3 eligibility for people with mental illness/psychosocial disability and approaches for achieving integrated and collaborative health and mental health and NDIS service delivery. A draft of the paper is anticipated for late February but will only be for limited circulation to the MH Working Group that met with Paul on 31 January.  The MHCA has encouraged the NDIA to ensure that the paper is made available to the broader mental health sector for comment.

WHODAS now part of NDIS assessment tool

At the recent forum in Tasmania, NDIA advised that a new national assessment tool being used as part of planning and assessment processes and includes the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS).   MHCA is very pleased to be able to share this news as we know that there has been much concern within the sector about the applicability of the assessment tool to the needs of people with psyhcosocial and other disability types.  The MHCA would like to congratulate the NDIA for their positive action in responding to the sector’s concerns with a tool that is informed by the International Classification of Functioning (ICF).  The incorporation of WHODAS in the NDIS assessment process will be a topic for consideration by the MHCA NDIS Working Group on eligibility and assessment.

NDIS Webinar NDIS Webinar, ‘A Strong Voice: Self Advocacy’

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) presents the third NDIS Webinar on the theme ‘A Strong Voice: Self Advocacy’. Thursday 27 February at 12:00 midday (EST). Weblink to seminar to be provided closer to date, check the NDIS website. From the NDIS website:

  • ‘A Strong Voice’ will focus on self-advocacy, and how people with disability take control of their own lives to speak for themselves with greater confidence. Our panel of guests will discuss ways that self-advocacy has helped them to make informed choices about their reasonable and necessary supports and achieve their personal goals as valued, contributing and included members of the community. Strong self-advocates will bring stories from their own lives and share with you their insights into self-advocacy as part of a panel discussion. Our guests will answer your questions about how to build self-advocacy into your own life.


The MHCA’s annual Council of Australian Non-Government Organisations (CONGO) will be held in Canberra on 10 April 2014 and this year will will focus exclusively on the NDIS from a mental health perspective.

The CONGO forum is one of the largest gatherings of the broader mental health sector in Australia. In attendance will be senior representatives from across the broader mental health and social services sectors in Australia, including both policy and advocacy bodies and service delivery organisations. 

Update from Hunter launch site

Attached to this bulletin is an extremely useful update from the Hunter launch site:  Further Unravelling Psychosocial Disability: Experiences from the NSW Hunter National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch. It has been put together by Tina Smith, NDIS Launch Site Mental Health Analyst.  Tina’s position has been funded by the NSW Mental Health Commission and the Mental Health Coordinating Council in NSW, highlighting the diversity of approaches to mental health sector engagement happening in each of the launch sites.

ARAFMI seeking Stories from the Hunter launch site

ARAFMI Australia is currently seeking personal stories from mental health carers about their experience of the NDIS in the Hunter launch site in NSW.  These will be published on the website ‘My National Voice’ to raise awareness of carer issues, being launched Mid 2014.  For more information contact Jane Henty on arafminational@mindaustralia.org.au  or call (03) 9457 7130.

MHCA submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission

MHCA recently made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into equal recognition of people with a disability before the law.  The central principles of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) of consumer choice and control go to the heart of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) inquiry into equality before the law of people with disability.  In the submission, the MHCA outlines concerns around equal recognition for people with psychosocial disability through the NDIS, including in relation to scheme design, service quality and safeguards, and supported decision-making.

Update on MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project 

In response to advice from MHCA members and the mental health sector, the MHCA has developed a communications plan for the project in 2014 addressing issues raised by the sector: 

  • ongoing information provision including from launch sites
  • support for service providers
  • consultation on consumer and carer focused resources
  • support with policy development around key issues such as permanency, assessment, workforce and implications for mental health consumers and carers both eligible and not eligible for NDIS services.

As well as the delivery of service provider NDIS Organisational Readiness workshops in each state and territory the MHCA will continue with the current project activities and introduce some new ones.


During April and May the MHCA proposes to convene a series of webinars bringing information from launch sites to others in the sector.  Webinars will give participants the opportunity to find out about what is happening in other states and territories, compare differences and commonalities and learn from others experience.  Details including dates will be published in this bulletin and on the MHCA website as soon as they are available.

Consumer and Carer Resources

The MHCA has been working with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) to produce information for mental health consumers and carers about the NDIS and it will be available on the website in the next couple of weeks.  The information is only in draft form at this stage because the MHCA and NMHCCF will be seeking comments from consumers and carers on how useful the information is and how it needs to be made available.  Once we receive input from consumers and carers the information will be finalised.  Watch the website for more details.

The MHCA will also be working with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum in the next month to discuss opportunities for a workshop for mental health consumer and carer advocates.

MHCA Website updates

MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project regular e-bulletins are now available on the the MHCA NDIS information portal.

MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Advisory Group (PAG) minutes will also be available on the website within the next few days. The PAG was keen to have as much information available to the sector as possible and this includes their discussions and ideas on where the project is heading.  Comments are welcome dca@mhca.org.au.

New fact sheets on NDIS website

The following new fact sheets, which may be of interest to mental health consumers, carers and service providers, have also recently been added to the NDIS website:

NDIS Ready newsletter for disability services

The National Disability Services Victoria newsletter NDIS Ready.  Funded by both NDS and the Victorian Government, the newsletter provides a good regular update on NDIS issues from a disability perspective.  While it includes some issues only relevant to Victoria, many of the articles have a national relevance and would be of interest to the mental health sector including new fact sheets and guidelines and an interesting article on the issues being faced by people with epilepsy (see the article Statewide Services – specialty services under the NDIS).  For those who are interested in receiving this information directly, you can subscribe for free.

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 myself (liz.ruck@mhca.org.au) or Travis Gilbert on travis.gilbert@mhca.org.au.

As always we are eager to hear about your experiences of the NDIS as it evolves.

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