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NDIA gives insight into Complex Support Needs pathway

Someone cupping someone else's hand

13/03/2019

In recognition that one pathway into the NDIS will not meet the needs of all participants, the NDIA has recently developed a 'Complex Support Needs' pathway. The pathway began in November 2018 and is currently operating in the Western Melbourne and Brimbank Melton regions for a limited number of participants.

At a recent NDS Complexity Community of Practice, the NDIA provided some background on the pathway, and information about how it is expected to operate.

The NDIA recognised that different pathways were required for people with different needs. As a result, they developed three pathways:

  1. The NDIS pathway (or 'standard pathway')
  2. The Early Childhood pathway
  3. The Complex Support Needs pathway (or 'complex pathway')

Some considerations that informed the development of the complex pathway included: alignment with existing and mainstream services; higher standards for planners; and continuing participant-planner relationships.

An obvious consideration was the definition of complexity. The Agency received feedback from a number of stakeholders that a checklist approach would not be appropriate; that any definition had to have flexibility. Given this, they have developed a list of factors to be taken into consideration, including (but that are not limited to):

  • Interaction with multiple service systems – in particular justice, health, mental health or child protection
  • Interaction with multiple community supports, such as homelessness or community mental health supports
  • Multiple diagnoses or psychosocial disability; a diagnosis of a degenerative condition with fluctuating needs
  • Factors for complexity within a family unit (such as multiple children or family members with disability)
  • A history of trauma or abuse (which will require a planner who is sensitive to their situation)
  • Identified behaviours of concern
  • Significant challenges regarding markets and services: where a person is experiencing significant difficulty in finding a provider to take them on as a client
  • Significant and immediate unmet need – such as people in remand, prison or hospital who cannot exit due to inability to find accommodation
  • A person who has insufficient support for decision-making

The NDIA recognised that the above apply to many NDIS participants and stressed that this will not necessarily result in them being included in the complex pathway. They also highlighted that being part of the complex pathway will not necessarily mean a larger package size. It also doesn't mean that participants in the standard pathway will receive any lesser quality of service from the Agency.

At this point in time, the pathway is available to a select number of participants in Western Melbourne and Brimbank Melton who have been determined in consultation with state government.

A media release about the pathway is accessible on the Department of Social Services website here.

Find out more about NDS Community of Practice meetings, and register to attend, here.

Contact information
Henry Newton, Project and Policy Officer, 03 8341 4323,