The NDIS have released some stuff about important things, to get your feedback.
These are about some big changes to plan spending flexibility, and about how independent assessments are used to get into the scheme.
There are 4 papers, 2 about Early Childhood changes |(some good stuff in there) but I want to talk about the other two:
Planning policy for personalised budgets and plan flexibility
Access and eligibility policy with independent assessments
It’s really important that our community read these and give feedback.
Here are some of my initial thoughts (plenty more to come, I’m sure)…
Things I like:
The NDIS have just launched their “Participant First Engagement Initiative”. The name is, honestly, quite terrible, but the idea is AWESOME, and you should get involved if you’re willing and have the available spoons.
The NDIS is looking for a bunch of people with disability and family carers to join various working groups, answer survey etc etc.
They’ve put out a form to get people to sign up, and I’ve made an Easy English version to encourage people to sign up easily, which you can find right here!
Please join up and/or encourage people you know who use the scheme to join and help make it better. Only our voices can change this – we need lots of them.
The official info is here: https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/4993-participant-first-help-shape-ndis
Contact EVERY client and help them assess their critical needs, supports and ability to manage if/when it all goes pear shaped.
Here are the questions (reworded from our internal slightly to take out my swearing and add a few things I missed) our team are talking to our clients about.
Please don’t assume you know the answers to above without that direct conversation (where possible). I have been surprised by the gaps, and our support and ideas have been appreciated.
At The Growing Space, we have worked to assign each participant a risk level (A-D) to help us know when things get really bad, who is most at risk, based on the answers to these questions – it also means that if one of our team can’t work, someone else should be able to quickly and easily pick up and follow up with those who need it the most.
And don’t forget – what is *your* plan for maintaining your mental health, and what is *your* back-up plan if you can’t look after your clients yourself?
Support Coordinators are not medical or legal professionals, so don’t cross those boundaries – be aware of your limitations and refer out as needed.
All the best during these tough times!
Copyright of The Growing Space 2020 – please share, but with credit and no edits. And remember – this is not medical or legal advice, and is very time sensitive – things are changing very quickly – seek professional advice if you need it! March 20, 2020
pic desc: an illustrated green virus icon with an open mouth and scared looking eyes.
Feel free to download and use one of these on your front door – at home and your workplace to remind people to stay away if they’re sick, and to wash their hands as they come in.
You’re welcome to share these freely
Here is a .pdf version: https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Do-Not-Enter-TGS.pdf
And here is a .jpg image version: https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/BIG-PURPLE-DO-NOT-ENTER-SIGN-MARCH-2020.jpg
This is useful for those with low literacy, intellectual or cognitive disability, learning disability, and for some from CALD or ATSI backgrounds. In the pdf each sentence below is accompanied by a relevant image. The language is simple and clear and accessible. The resource is five pages long and covers information about self isolation and business closures and distancing rules.
This handout is copyright of The Growing Space 2020. You are welcome to share, copy and distribute this handout whole, with credit and no edits. If you would like to publish this handout, please contact us at info@TheGrowingSpace.com.au for approval.
Please download and print a pdf of this list to keep somewhere prominent in your home and workplace. You just never know when you need to call, for yourself, someone you love, someone you work with, or a stranger on the street.
The downloadable document linked above includes clickable links to phone numbers and websites for more than 40 Australian helplines under the following topics.
Alcohol and drugs
The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline
So, today the guy responsible for NDIS – Minister Stuart Robert – gave a speech in Canberra to a pack of journalists, and he outlined a bunch of stuff, and here’s a few of the key points, as I see them.
1. ECEI: Wait times for little kid access to the scheme have been reduced and are now sitting at under 48 days. VERDICT: This is good.
2. WAITING: Access decision timing (finding out whether you get into the scheme or not) has dropped to an average of 12 days, and there’s an average of 88 days to get a plan once you’ve been accepted into the scheme. VERDICT: This is good.
3. “Joint planning” sessions: where participants have an input on draft plans etc before approval should be fully rolling out by April 2020. VERDICT: This will hopefully be good, but I see potential problems with availability of staff to make this happen.
4. JOBS: We need 90,000 new jobs in the sector – that’s going to take money, time and effort, and the Gov will work on this. VERDICT: This is good for the economy, but we have to be careful to bring in and train the right people for these jobs, and not use this just as a way to get people off newstart, some of whom will have no interest or skill in serving people with disability. Hopefully it will mean that more people with disability will consider training and working in the industry!
5. DRC/COAG: State and Federal governments are meeting on disability stuff every 90 days. They’ve made agreements on health stuff, disabled children in out-of-home-care and hospital discharge. Also, each state should now have a Justice Liaison Officer to work with disabled youth and adults in the justice system. VERDICT: Slowly slowly, but hopefully with more frequent gatherings, more will be done, sooner!
6. Transport: No big changes in transport other than to continue the taxi subsidy schemes until they sort out a better policy, and to increase transport funding for those who are already heavy users of the taxi schemes. VERDICT: Yeah Nah – they bloody well need to make a proper fix to the transport debacle, not this tinkering with the fringes rubbish.
7. Independent Assessments: by July 2020 independent assessments, funded by NDIS will be available for people seeking NDIS access and for reviews. These functional assessments won’t come out of participants’ plans and are designed to make access and funding more equitable.VERDICT: Jury is still out – this has potential to create more equity but I have concerns that assessors might be grumpy judgy bastards, or that what they see on any particular day of assessment is simply not indicative of overall functional assessment – we all have good and bad days – I don’t want us to go back to the bad ol’ days where you kept your kid up all night and didn’t give meds on the day of assessment!
8. Flexibility in plans: CORE and CAPACITY building “buckets” will be flexible, so if you run out of therapy money, you can shift funds from CORE (assuming you have it) and iuse that for therapy, or vice versa. VERDICT: The devil will be in the detail, but this is a GREAT step forward in choice and control and better utilisation of plans
9. SDA: the original SDA funding model meant that if you lived with people without SDA funding, the payment to the provider was severely reduced. Now, you can live with WHOEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE, and it won’t reduce your funding. VERDICT: YAY!!! (but appalling that it was ever designed in that way to start with)
Now, I also have to mention, that at the same time as Minister Robert was giving this speech, his government quietly pushed some legislation changes through parliament with passage of the NDIS Amendment (Streamlined Governance) Bill 2019 which mean that Government no longer need the States and Territories to agree on NDIA board member appointments – so now the Minister can override the States and can sack or hire whoever they want on the NDIA board. That doesn’t sit particularly well with me.
Overall, I reckon there’s some really good stuff today, but we’ve all got to continue our advocacy and vigilance to turn and keep the scheme on track!
PS: these are my personal views, so your mileage will vary – I encourage your feedback and perspectives below! And if you want to read the Minister’s speech, it’s right here: https://ministers.dss.gov.au/speeches/5266 or you can watch it here: https://iview.abc.net.au/show/national-press-club-address/series/0/video/NC1912C008S00
This post is copyright of The Growing Space 2019. You’re welcome to share this on Facebook with credit and no edits. If you want to share it anywhere else, please check in with us first for permission. Thanks!
Image description: banner of the word VERDICT with lines above & below, dark blue on white background. (with thanks to Susan Hoffmann even though she doesn’t want it ;))