The NDIS is set to be fully rolled out in Victoria by the 1/10/17. Most people understand that this radical change in the disability sector is based on moving funding from agencies, to eligible consumers, for them to choose the service and provider that best meets their needs. The premise of the NDIS is widely accepted as the right thing to do. There are however significant impacts of this new direction.
First, agencies need to decide if they can operate under the new model. In the trial sites which have been going for several years, the evidence is that 2 out of 5 agencies have a negative cash position. The NDIS as an insurance scheme funds the provider retrospectively, meaning you need a strong cash flow to operate until the money paid out is recouped.
Second, the trial sites have shown around 30% of consumers have changed providers. This turnover means that providers are relying heavily on casual staff in light of the variable income. This has major ramifications for the workforce and service quality. Clearly experience has shown that the relationship between the worker and consumer is critical. How this will operate with a casual workforce is something to monitor.
Third, the NDIS is very clearly a business model. This means a business-like approach in all aspects (hence the term consumer, not client). So, a cultural change for all involved.
UMFC is examining our position now for post October, seeing what current funding is ongoing and what options under the NDIS may be possible. It is a difficult time for not only our staff, given the uncertainty, but also our current clients as they wait to see what support, if any, they may be entitled to. It can only be hoped that this major change delivers what it promises, better outcomes for consumers.