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The Challenge of Change


On July 1, 2016, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) commenced the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If things go according to the NDIA’s and State Government’s plans we will over the next three years see some 450,000 participant’s transition from state-funded arrangements to full funding under the NDIS. The speed of change for clients and service providers will be rapid and profound. Business Readiness is imperative for NDIS service providers.to survive the changes.

The Nature of Change

The NDIS is a market-driven scheme, where providers compete for the delivery of services that meet the participants support needs, including how, when and where those supports are delivered.  Funding will no longer be controlled by providers and this in itself will challenge the very fabric of organisations sustainability.

We now find ourselves in a growing market where it is stated there are growth opportunities for all. Growth is good but if service providers are not business ready & cannot deliver the services for the prices identified in the NDIA’s Price guide and for a profit they will not survive.

Whilst opportunities do exist for service providers, a challenge for them will be the speed at which the scheme is being rolled out. Given that service providers are not used to dealing with rapid change the speed is beginning to severely test not only their capability to respond but also the NDIA’s resolve as well.

This is especially true if the systems or payment arrangements established by the NDIA do not respond to and fails to manage the significant number of participants and providers entering the scheme and being dependent the NDIA portal and payments system in a timely manner.

This concern was recently borne out with the system problems experienced by the NDIA and its portal at the commencement of the rollout of the entire NDIS.


Business Readiness & the challenge today

The majority of service providers across the full-service spectrum are Not for Profit.  Organisations are struggling with Business Readiness and their ability to address the significant structural and organisational reforms necessary to survive under the NDIS  whilst remaining viable and competitive.

For many years the disability services sector has operated under what appears now to be more generous state-funded arrangements where payments were in advance. Today providers are needing to restructure their businesses to be viable and efficient in a situation where profit ‘Margin’ is now paramount in order to survive in a market, driven by competition and consumer choice and payments in arrears.

The concept of ‘Individualised Funding’ and ‘Person-Centred Care’ appears to be more challenging and costly for providers than first thought, primarily due to the significant capital investment required in implementing systems that help organisations to gain the efficiencies required to remain competitive.

Providers involved in service delivery today are having to find the funds and resources necessary to develop and implement systems capable of managing not only the individual service booking and billing processes, but rostering, payroll and finance. To achieve this they are struggling to find the money to implement the IT systems in a timely manner that will improve and streamline the management of participant’s information, supports, organisational staff, and billing.

Putting this aside organisations are struggling to meet the changes necessary to survive in the short term let alone the longer term. Not all organisations have adequate cash reserves to survive let alone implement expensive IT solutions. The implementation of these systems is not only costly but time and resource heavy.

Most disability services providers (like many human services providers) simply do not have the capital to meet these challenges and the government does not appear to be providing sufficient funding in the same way it would assist other industries when they are being reconstructed on such a scale.

This is the challenge of change.