NDIS Scorecard highlights that NSW Government must rethink service withdrawal and ensure independent advocacy

The results from a Citizens’ Jury evaluation of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) progress are a welcome endorsement of the potential of the scheme to improve opportunity and services for people with disability but highlight key risks that the NSW Government must address, warns Jan Barham MLC, the Greens NSW Disability spokesperson.

“The NDIS Scorecard gives us an early indication of how the implementation of the NDIS implementation is progressing, based on a citizens’ jury process that was inclusive of people with disability as jurors and participant witnesses,” Ms Barham said.

“I congratulate People with Disability Australia (PWDA) who led the process and welcome the finding that the NDIS is providing a path for improved quality of life. The jury’s unanimous findings reinforce the intent and potential of the NDIS. The scorecard is a reminder to all governments and all parties that full support for the successful implementation and rollout of the NDIS is essential.”

Ms Barham noted two specific concerns highlighted by the citizen jury’s report relating to withdrawal of state and territory government services and the importance of access to independent advocacy.

“The scorecard notes that the withdrawal of state and territory government services for people with disability has left a gap in service availability. The NSW Government must take note of this warning and reconsider their unwillingness to guarantee that state government services will remain available to people who want or need to access them.

“The COAG Disability Reform Council is still developing a strategy to ensure a sustainable market that provides choice in service provision and an adequate disability service workforce. The NSW Government’s plan to transfer all disability services to the non-government sector should not proceed without a solid strategy in place to ensure nobody will be left without access and choice of quality support services.

“The recommendations also point to the need for NDIS participants to have access to independent support, advice and advocacy as they go through the process of planning and service choice. Advocacy is another area where a great deal of uncertainty remains, as it is not funded within the NDIS itself and the Disability Reform Council doesn’t expect to finalise a review of the National Disability Advocacy Framework until the end of this year.

“I’m especially concerned by reports that residents of the Stockton Centre, one of the remaining residential institutions in NSW that is in the process of planning for closure, could not be accessed as part of this process by an advocate witness. I’ve asked questions to the Minister about the process for ensuring Stockton residents’ views and rights are addressed previously, including access to advocates, and I will continue to raise concerns about these issues. The NDIS must deliver on its promise of inclusiveness and improved outcomes for all participants, especially those who are already in the most vulnerable circumstances,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

NDIS Scorecard – PWDA media release and link to full report

Question re: disability advocacy for Stockton residents, 20 November 2014