NDIS Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building – Submission to the Department of Social Services

Mental Health Australia welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (“the Framework‟). This submission highlighted the great deal of uncertainty for the mental health sector  - uncertainty which stems from a lack of clear information on key aspects of scheme design, and which is compounded by unresolved issues in the health, welfare and other systems. All of these systems must be well integrated if the needs of people with psychosocial disability associated with mental illness are to be met. Governments need to make clear the future of programs and services that are notionally in scope for the NDIS, as well as decisions about the level of funding available for ILC and other support services in adjacent systems at the State/Territory and Commonwealth level. The Submission included the following recommendations:

As a matter of urgency, each jurisdiction should release information from the mapping of its existing services against the ILC Framework and, wherever possible, against the target population and/or the NDIS access criteria.
2 All governments should agree on a timetable for releasing a detailed transition plan, with explicit reference to existing programs and services, to provide consumers, carers and service providers with more certainty about which services will be delivered through the NDIS or through other systems.
3 All governments should formally commit to maintaining or increasing levels of service for both current and future consumers of mental health services, regardless of whether those consumers are deemed eligible for an IFP or are currently accessing services or programs in scope for the NDIS.
4 The NDIA should use ILC funding to develop a publicly available actuarial model that NGOs could use, in order to demonstrate the long-term, whole of government savings generated from their services – consistent with both the insurance model at the heart of the NDIS and the recommendations of the recently released Review of Australia’s Welfare System (the McClure Review).
5 ILC funds should support targeted research and improved data collection to build policy capability and the translation of research into practice. Any research program should involve, at a minimum, an investigation of other work streams by government that could inform scheme design, such as the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (currently under development by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority) and the most recent version of the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework.
6 The Implementation principles and considerations should commit governments to a process of co-design with consumers, carers and other experts with stakeholders, brought into discussions about policy and implementation as early as possible.
7 NDIA planners should, wherever possible, have access to a plan developed between potential participants and their existing service provider(s), acknowledging and building on positive relationships which may already exist between the consumer and their provider(s).To encourage the development of such plans, the NDIA should provide sufficient resources to service providers so as to allow this and other participant readiness work to occur with clients likely to transition to the NDIS.

Mental Health Australia thanks its members, including consumer and carer representatives, for their contribution to this submission at short notice. 

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