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What you need to know about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

In May 2013, the State and Federal governments agreed to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from July 2016. Following implementation of a pilot of the NDIS in the Barwon Region, planning is now underway to implement a three year program to implement the NDIS across the state of Victoria. The rollout in outer-eastern Melbourne, including Knox, will commence November 2017.

Council’s decision to not become an NDIS service provider

Knox City Council has undertaken a review of some Early Years and Home and Community Care services it provides to the Knox community. At the 10 May 2016 Strategic Planning Committee meeting, Council determined to further consider the option of not becoming a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) service provider into the future, subject to a consultation period with relevant stakeholders before making its final decision. This consideration followed a process of research and investigation to assist Council to determine if it should become an NDIS service provider.

Council has now concluded this consultation process, and has made a final decision on its future role in NDIS.
Council made the decision to not become an NDIS service provider, and to focus on strengthening its municipal leadership role to enhance access and inclusion for people with disabilities within Knox.

How was the decision made?

This has been a difficult decision, and follows careful consultation with staff and their representatives, in accordance with our enterprise agreement obligations. Council considered a range of factors in the lead up to this decision, including research and analysis undertaken as well as feedback from families, community stakeholders, and staff. The research informed Council that there was a need to focus on a broader strategic leadership role in supporting people with a disability in the Knox community and that this role would be significantly diminished if Council was to pursue becoming an NDIS direct service provider in a competitive market environment.

Over the last 6 months, Council has considered a range of options and sought specialist business and disability services advice. We also opened up a consultative period to receive feedback from staff and stakeholders before any decision was made. As outlined, the result of this process was that Council has made the decision not to proceed as an NDIS service provider.

We believe that this decision will allow Council to continue to provide the important role of planning and advocating for access and inclusion outcomes for people with disabilities in our community.

Why was this decision made?

  • There will be significant changes in the disability, early years and aged care sectors as the NDIS service system is implemented in the Knox community. In particular, some of these changes will begin as early as November 2016, when referral pathways and processes for Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) children will change from the current Central Intake system. Council would need to make significant changes and investment to shift to the new NDIS business model.
  • Council’s municipal role in promoting, coordinating and advocating for access and inclusion for all people with disabilities and additional needs would be limited if it became an NDIS service provider.
  • It is clear that services will be pushed towards competing with one another in a market driven service system.
  • Children and families already have access to a wide choice of providers to meet their individual needs and choices in the Eastern Region which include the Knox community.
  • The amount of providers in the Eastern Metropolitan Region is expected to increase as the market expands. Knox currently has 14 State funded ECIS providers and four Early Education programs operating and available to the community.
  • Council would find it very difficult to meet its NCP and Local Government Act obligations and at the same time, provide affordable services to the community if it were to become an NDIS service provider.
  • Council has a responsibility and expertise in a municipal planning, advocacy, and capacity building role to support and advance the whole of community’s access and inclusion for people with disabilities, including children and families.

What does this mean for our clients and families?

Home and Community Care (HACC) Service clients

Services for younger people (people under 65 years, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under 50 years) will be funded by the State Government, until the national NDIS implementation is complete. Once the NDIS is implemented, services will be provided by authorised NDIS providers.

As the NDIS is rolled out in Knox, some of our HACC clients under 65 years will be able to explore opportunities for support through the NDIS. Those clients whose services are not NDIS-eligible will continue to be serviced by Knox City Council via State funding arrangements.
The Knox Active Ageing and Disability Services team is committed to working closely with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and its associated agencies to ensure existing service users are supported through the service transition process.
All HACC clients and staff have been notified of Council’s decision.

Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) families

This decision will mean Council will be closing our ECIS operations at the Illoura site. The Illoura Early Childhood Intervention service (ECIS) will cease as of the end of February 2017. All ECIS families and staff have been notified of Council’s decision. Children and families will be supported to transition to an alternate ECIS provider in time for this closure.

Illoura staff will be working closely with children and families to transition across to an alternative service provider and Council will also be working closely with the Department of Education and Training (DET) to ensure the process is as smooth and supportive as possible.

As part of the consultation process, Council has heard that Illoura has a special place in the hearts and minds of many families who have children with a disability in the Knox community.

Council wants to explore the opportunities for the future use of the Illoura facility as a place that focuses on supporting children, families, carers and people with a disability in Knox.

For more information about the NDIS, please visit the NDIS website.

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