2019 review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee

The Australian Government has committed to developing an NDIS Participant Service Guarantee to support positive participant experiences with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Guarantee will set new standards for the time it takes for key steps in the NDIS process. This means there will be shorter, agreed timeframes for people to receive a decision on whether they will be covered by the NDIS, to receive an NDIS plan and to have a plan reviewed.

To develop the Guarantee, the Government commissioned a review of the NDIS Act to identify opportunities to make NDIS processes simpler and more straight-forward, and remove legislative barriers to positive participant and provider experiences with the NDIS.

The review was undertaken by an independent expert, Mr David Tune AO PSM. People with disability, family members, carers, advocates and providers from around Australia shared their experiences and ideas through community workshops, an online survey and by making submissions. The review report was handed to Government in December 2019.

What the review found

The NDIS is improving social and economic outcomes for many of its participants while increasing their ability to achieve their goals and aspirations. However, the review found that the rollout of the NDIS has not been smooth for all participants.

Feedback to the review showed that some participants:

  • found the transition to the NDIS confusing and frustrating, with some people saying they ‘missed’ the supports offered under state and territory systems, particularly active case management;
  • are frustrated about delays and lack of transparency around how the NDIA makes decisions;
  • want to have more support to become informed and effective consumers;
  • feel the NDIS is too complex and difficult to navigate;
  • feel they are not recognised as the experts in their disability; and
  • feel NDIA staff do not understand disability or appreciate the challenges people with disability face as part of everyday life.

The review acknowledged the work that the Australian Government and the National Disability Insurance Agency are already doing to improve the NDIS participant experience. This work will help enhance existing systems, services, decision-making and the overall experience for NDIS participants, families and carers.

The review also found that:

  • while this work progresses, some modest improvements to the legislation and operations of the NDIS could be made to strengthen its participant focus and ensure the NDIS is fit for purpose as it moves from a transition phase to a more mature system;
  • governments need to work together to resolve outstanding policy issues;
  • the Government and the NDIA should publish a greater range of policy information, including in a wider range of accessible formats, to help participants better understand why certain decisions have been made.

Review of the NDIS Act report

The 2019 Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 report is available.

It makes 29 recommendations to improve the participant experience, including new standards and processes to support the delivery of the Participant Service Guarantee.

A plain English summary of the Review is available.

A Easy Read version of the summary will be available soon.

What happens next

A formal Government response to the review report will be released shortly and published on this page, along with an Easy Read overview of the findings, recommendations and response.

The Australian Government will work with all governments and the NDIA to develop the legislative and operational changes needed to put in place the Participant Service Guarantee and ensure the NDIS delivers a consistent, effective and high-quality experience for participants, prospective participants and providers.

Find out more

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