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Differential NDIS Market Settings for a Psychosocial Disability Workforce

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Victorian providers recently attended a workshop in Melbourne to investigate the impact of NDIS market settings on providers who support participants with psychosocial disability. This workshop was part of a national multi-government project to determine whether differential market settings are needed to ensure providers are able to respond effectively, safely and viably to the unique needs of NDIS participants with a psychosocial disability. 

Emergent risks were discussed, including:

1. Workforce
2. Quality and Safeguards
3. Managing risks
4. Financial Viability
5. Market interventions
6. Geographical impacts

Workshop attendees identified that many of the needs of participants living with a psychosocial disability are unique and may warrant a differential market response. Discussion also focused on emerging key risks and the unique cost drivers for delivering to this type of participant.

Key risks for the psychosocial workforce and market that were discussed in the workshop included:

  • Participants with complex psychosocial support needs are being exited from services. This is particularly pronounced in regional areas, and is placing increased pressure on tertiary services in Victoria. 
  • The lack of capacity to fund care team meetings to enable services to work together effectively, especially to support participants during fluctuating periods of need.
  • The ability of providers to factor in self-care for workers who may experience vicarious trauma.
  • The lack of capacity for additional training for the lived experience workforce, along with their supervisors and managers, to implement this effectively in organisations.
  • The loss of workforce expertise in the sector, with many skilled psychosocial/mental health workers choosing to work in other sectors (such as Family Violence,  clinical mental health or other funded mental health programs) that may be better paid, or provide more stable employment, and also have a defined career pathway. 
  • Providers report that they hold a duty of care to participants with complex psychosocial support needs and cannot cease services. This is in conflict at times with an individualised funding system where a participant may choose not to have service, or may have used up all their plan funding. 

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is leading this work in partnership with other states and territories, the Commonwealth Government, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Workshops are being held across Australia in February. The findings will be reported to a Market Oversight Working Group which reports to the Disability Reform Council’s Senior Officials Working Group.

NDS urges members to contribute to this project by completing a workforce or provider survey before 4:00 pm on 2 March 2020. Please note that only one representative from each provider is required to complete the provider survey, and that the respondent may also wish to consult internally to ensure their responses represent a consistent view across the organisation.

Contact information
Anthea Gellie, Senior Policy Officer, NDIS Sector Development Project, 03 8341 4330,