If you've been following the news, you'd know that the NDIS review has finally been released!

This review wasn't just any run-of-the-mill examination—it had a triple whammy of objectives: putting people with disability back at the heart of the NDIS, rebuilding trust, confidence, and pride in the Scheme, and ensuring its sustainability for future generations.

The 329-page document covers a whopping 26 recommendations and 139 supporting actions. If you don't have time to check out the full final report, don't worry—we've summarised the main bits for you below!

Keep in mind that the following are just recommendations, not changes. The government will respond to the review in full next year.

Investment in foundational supports

The NDIS review didn't look at the NDIS in isolation— it also considered disability supports outside of the scheme. This is great news for the 85% of Australians with disability who are not on the NDIS.

The review's very first recommendation was to invest in foundational supports to ensure all Australians with disability can access the services they need, without having to join the NDIS. These supports could include:

  • home and community care, like domestic assistance
  • psychosocial supports
  • aids and equipment
  • early supports for children with emerging development concerns and disability
  • supports for young people to prepare for and manage key life transition points, like living independently

More equal access to the NDIS

At the moment, access to the NDIS is easier for some people than others. For example, if you are diagnosed with ASD Level 2, you get automatic access to the NDIS. But if your condition isn't listed on an access list, qualifying for the NDIS is a much longer and more complex process.

Instead, the NDIS review has suggested focusing on "significant functional impairment". This means looking at the impact your disability has on your daily life, rather than your medical diagnosis itself.

Introduction of Navigators

A woman and man sitting at a table in an office
Photo by Jason Goodman / Unsplash

There are lots of people who can help you navigate the ins and outs of the NDIS, like Support Coordinators, Local Area Coordinators (LACs) and Psychosocial Recovery Coaches. But having so many different functions can make accessing disability support services even more complex. It also disadvantages those who are not eligible for support coordination.

The NDIS review has proposed a new role, called "Navigators". The Navigator role would be similar to a Support Coordinator, but focus on helping all people with disability connect with all types of disability support services (not just the NDIS).

Navigators would be independent, and funded by the NDIA. They would also work out of local "hubs" and have strong links to the local community (like LACs).

There would also be Specialist Navigators who'd help people with more complex support needs. These Navigators would have higher levels of experience and training than General Navigators, and lower caseloads.

Stronger regulation of providers

Did you know there are over 150,000 NDIS providers, but only 16,000 (including Like Family!) are registered? Unregistered providers do not have to meet the same level of standards as their registered counterparts, which makes it harder for the NDIS Commission to intervene when something goes wrong.

The NDIS review has suggested a new approach whereby all providers would have to be enrolled or registered. Providers with high-risk supports would require advanced registration, while those with the lowest-risk supports would have the fewest requirements.

In addition, more NDIS workers would have to undergo mandatory screening (not just those who work for registered providers in risk-assessed roles).

Build a responsive and supportive workforce

Two people enjoying an iced coffee at a cafe. One is using a laptop.
Photo by Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

Speaking of NDIS workers—we're going to need 128,000 more workers by June 2025. But getting an NDIS Worker Screening Check can take a long time, many workers can't access the right training, and some are getting burned out.

To solve this workforce crisis, the NDIS review has recommended:

  • trialing a workforce attraction and retention initiatives, like a portable training and leave scheme. This would make it easier for workers to upskill and work with multiple organisations across the care and support sector.
  • develop targeted and flexible migration pathways for care and support workers to attract more overseas workers and fill workforce gaps.
  • more focus on peer workers (workers with lived experience with disability) to improve quality of support.

Investments in technology

Technology has come a long way since the NDIS started in 2013! The NDIS review's tenth recommendation talks about improving digital infrastructure so participants can access more relevant and timely information.

Two of the main improvements would be:

  • building a centralised, online platform to make it easier to find local supports (beyond the basic NDIS Provider Finder tool we have now). This platform would allow people to compare providers based on the price, safety and quality of their service.
  • introducing a multi-channel digital payments approach to allow participants to pay all providers directly, and more easily monitor spending. This could reduce the need for Plan Managers in the long term.

What happens next?

These recommendations could have a massive impact if they get implemented—many providers will need to get registered, Support Coordinators could turn into Navigators, and people with disability locked out of the NDIS could finally get access to the supports they need.

That's why the NDIS review has suggested a five-year transition period to implement them, once the government makes its decision next year.

Like Family is committed to playing our part in this process. We look forward to actively engaging with the review and contributing our expertise to help shape the future of the NDIS ❤️.