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L.I.S.A Inc
LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Choice & Control?

by JacksonRyan Partners

Individual funding packages are the cornerstone of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Packages will allow people with disabilities to become purchasers of services.  Or, in other words legitimate consumers. Significantly, individual funding creates the dichotomy between purchaser and provider.  It also creates the opportunity for the purchaser to choose his or her service provider and change the provider if they want.

A real-live example of how the purchaser-provider model might be undermined in the future is a recent situation involving two families seeking a service for their individual family member with a disability from a large service provider in Victoria.  Despite the families wanting to discuss details related to the services to be provided to their family member with the disability, the organisation’s management deemed it necessary to engage a lawyer with mediation qualifications to conduct what was called a facilitated meeting.

When one of the families challenged the organisation about the need for such a forum, the organisation replied, ‘We believe a skilled facilitator will assist us to agree on a way forward on crucial aspects of the support arrangement at a very reasonable one-off cost to each person’s support funding’.  One family reluctantly agreed to pay while another refused. 

What should have been a discussion between the service provider and the families was turned into a legalistic process.  The families were expected to sign a six-page facilitation agreement prior to the meeting as well as paying the fee upfront.  A redacted copy of the proposed Agreement to Facilitate - Link.

This real-life example brings to the fore three questions as to how service providers might operate once the NDIS is fully rolled out.

When seeking to purchase a service, will clients and families be required:

  1. To participate in formal facilitation?
  2. To pay the facilitator’s fee?
  3. To be subjected to a legalistic process?

The ultimate question from this case study  must be – Is this the future?  We can only hope not.


LISA Inc. Comment:   

As service providers move away from block-funding, the staff exclusion list will be complemented by a stakeholder exclusion list of those who dare to question service level and quality, especially with service providers expected to work within the constraints of NDIA unit price.

The NDIA is envisaging service providers competing for NDIS marketplace consumers per se.  Whereas their ears will be fine-tuned to the good and not so good consumers, 

LISA Inc   ~   Phone: 03 9434 3810   ~   Email:   ~   Address: 73 Nepean Street Watsonia VIC 3087

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