All government funded services for people with a disability used to be, through ‘bulk funding’ – government general revenue paid directly to the service provider – money directly in the service provider’s pocket. This method equals little or no consumer choice of service provider compounding the natural captive market service provision.
With many families having major concerns over the quality of day service programs, they sought to have access to the funding, to access more diverse services – ISP funding to be, in principle, paid into the pocket of the consumer.
With the main intentions of the NDIS being to, (a) reduce the waiting list for services and, (b) get consumers out of the ‘take it, or leave it’ captive market, the Productivity Commission saw the ISP as having the potential to achieve market place driven service level and quality.
The Productivity Commission also recommended against State involvement in the NDIS. Yet we are moving towards this, and where Victoria, at least, is attempting to negate the basic principle of the ISP – that of the consumer having primary control of their support service funding.
We are advised that many families who have obtained an ISP from DHS Victoria are finding it to be a pseudo ISP, with the DHS insisting, in many cases, that they (DHS) pay the funding directly to the service provider.
In respect to day service client assessment levels (1 to 5.5), and the associated service level and quality, we are advised that most consumers are not provided with a service plan which shows the service, in-detail, that they can expect at their assessment level, and that the service provider’s percentage for overheads is the same at all assessment levels.
A consumer on level 3, at around $18,000pa, with the service provider overheads at 20%,cost would be $3,600. Whereas, a consumer on level 5, at around $31,000pa,with the service provider overheads at 20%, cost would be $6,200.
In summary: We call on DHS Victoria to either show they are consistently, across the state, providing ISPs within the core principle of ISPs – funding in the pocket of the consumer. Or, at least, under their control. Or show where their defined policies allow otherwise. And, we call on service providers to justify their overhead charges.
In conclusion: We are interested to hear from people with a disability and their families in respect to the concerns outlined above. If you wish to provide comment anonymously, please send us a letter.