NDIS Capacity Building Project Update 7 - 23 February 2015

As it has been a long time since our last NDIS news update, there are a number of issues to cover.

Funding for the first NDIS Mental Health Capacity Building Project concluded on 30 June 2014.  Due to an extended contract negotiation period, a new funding agreement for the project was finally signed in late November 2014, for activities up until 30 June 2016.

Since that time Mental Health Australia has been working full steam ahead on getting these activities up and running and this newsletter has been our first opportunity to update NDIS network members.  It is with great relief that we were finally able to re-start this work and there will be updates on progress in future newsletters.  In the meantime it is important to update you on some key developments around the implementation of the NDIS.

First it is worth noting that during the second half of last year it also became clear that many of the challenges that the mental health sector faces in the implementation of the NDIS – particularly those relating to unresolved policy issues – are not the responsibility of the National Disability Insurance Agency.  These issues need to be addressed by Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments and for this reason work that we would like to pursue needs to occur outside of the capacity building project, including in the advocacy space.  We will keep you informed on these issues through this newsletter where relevant and through the weekly Mental Health Australia CEO Weekly Updates.  If you are not already on the CEO Weekly Update mailing list and would like to be, please subscribe here.

Sector Communique – NDIS Mental Health Sector Reference Group

The National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) Mental Health Sector Reference Group, which was established to develop a strong working partnership between the Mental Health Sector and the NDIA, met for the first time on 9 December 2014. A Communique providing the key outcomes of this meeting is available on the NDIA website. It includes information about the Reference Group’s role, two NDIS design related projects, strategic priorities relating to the integration of mental health into the Scheme and Terms of Reference for the group.

Project Scope - Design of Individual Supports for People with Psychosocial Disability

The Design of Individual Supports for People with Psychosocial Disability project, outlined in the above mentioned communique, warrants further explanation. Over the past few months we have been discussing with the NDIA the need for an evidence-informed appraisal of support items that might be included in funded packages for NDIS participants with psychosocial disability. The project scope (available for download here) reflects an agreement by NDIA and Mental Health Australia on an initial program of work that would begin to shed light on these critical questions, with recommendations to be delivered to NDIA by the end of May 2015. 

For Urgent Action - Consultation Opportunity – NDIS Tier 2 Framework

We now have an opportunity to comment on the long-awaited description of the supports to be provided under NDIS Tier 2 – referred to as Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC). The Department of Social Services (DSS) has released the ILC Policy Framework on its website. The Framework will be used as a guide for the NDIA when ILC is implemented. We would like to draw on your expertise in providing comment to DSS on the Framework and are seeking your feedback by Friday 6 March 2015 to info@mhaustralia.org

For Action - Consultation Opportunity – NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework

DSS is currently carrying out consultation regarding the proposed NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. There are a number of different ways to provide feedback or get involved in the discussion, including providing comment on a consultation paper, and these are outlined on the DSS website. Mental Health Australia will be developing a submission on the consultation paper. If you would like to provide input to this submission, please provide your comments to info@mhaustralia.org by Thursday 16 April 2015. Mental Health Australia will also be drawing on the expertise of its NDIS Capacity Building Project Monitoring and Evaluation / Service Quality Working Group in developing its submission.

Disability Ministers National Forum

On Monday 16 February 2015, Josh Fear, Director of Policy and Projects, attended a forum in Melbourne between the nine disability ministers on COAG’s Disability Reform Council (DRC) and disability stakeholders to discuss the National Disability Strategy. It was generally recognised that much more needs to be done to ensure people with psychosocial disability and their carers get the right support – not only through the National Disability Insurance Scheme, but also through other systems and services that fall under the broader Strategy. 

Because mental health matters are usually (and too commonly) dealt with through the health portfolio, it is rare that we get such an opportunity – even though the DRC has responsibility for key policy decisions regarding the NDIS. Happily, disability ministers agreed to consider written feedback from Mental Health Australia on issues relating to mental health. If you have any comments about the Strategy – including cross-jurisdictional policy issues relating to the NDIS – please email Josh Fear at info@mhaustralia.org.

For further information about any of the above mentioned consultation opportunities and other developments, please contact Liz Ruck at info@mhaustralia.org

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