The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) encourages capacity building which focuses on empowering and supporting an individual’s personal development.
Capacity building is also largely responsible for funding the NDIS. Developing individual capabilities will help prevent many long term “support” requirements that would otherwise be required without the development of individuals self-management capacity and prevent more costly reactive treatments, supports (ie residential care, hospitalisation, etc), and real individual contributions to society in paid work. Subsequently, these are savings, effectively to the taxpayer, help fund a large component of the NDIS.
Capacity building allows the NDIS to save money, become sustainable and allow more Australians to access funding while increasing an individual’s independence, self-worth and overall quality of life.
Experience is, however, showing it is not working entirely to plan.
Support Coordination has been developed and defined by the NDIS for the NDIS, with capacity building in mind. Many support coordination organisations and staff have former and existing experience with case management, which is typically a more permanent “coordination” support, that isn’t necessarily focused on the development of the individual or aspiring to make its role redundant.
It is perceived that NDIS Planners are reluctant to add “Support Coordination” to many NDIS plan as it is not empowering, as designed, and encourages dependency on the Support Coordinator’s services. Perceived that support coordinators are acting like case managers.
As a result, many NDIS plans without support coordination have no spending. Unspent NDIS money is a loss to the individual and society as the NDIS is designed around expenditure that is proactive, allowing more independence and less reliance on re-active expenditures.
Other plans are predicably, on their plan review, having support coordination significantly reduced. If capacity building has not been happening, or cannot happen, there will be issues.
Getting this right, and changing an approach of a whole case management industry will not happen overnight, however, both NDIS Planners and Support Coordinators need the trust and understand each other better.
Opportunity for Local Area Coordinators and NDIS Planners
- To ensure the highest level of success and positive self-development, support and, particularly, support coordination is required in the initial stages of capacity building.
- Permanent funding for “dial a friend” style support needs to be ongoing, particularly during times of change.