2016 State of the Disability Sector Report released
NDS has today released its State of the Disability Sector Report for 2016, launched in Melbourne as part of NDS’s CEO Meeting.
The report paints the compelling picture that while the disability services sector remains committed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), many providers feel uncertain about the future.
Much of the report is based on results from the 2016 Business Confidence Survey (BCS) completed by almost 550 disability service providers. The survey, which focuses on the 2015-16 financial year, highlights the amount of change and growth required by the supply side to fulfil demand under the NDIS.
- Demand is growing rapidly – 71% of BCS respondents reported increased demand
- Demand is proving challenging to meet – 38% of BCS respondents were unable to keep up with demand
- Clients are exercising choice – 58% of BCS respondents operating in the NDIS had clients leave them for another provider
- Providers are diversifying – 48% of BCS respondents are entering new markets
- Achieving a surplus is proving tough – 22% of BCS respondents made a loss
- Merger activity is increasing – 41% of BCS respondents discussed merger activity
The sector is dissatisfied with its relationship with government. Service providers feel ‘outside the tent’ regarding key NDIS decisions being made that affect them. They are not satisfied with how the NDIA is working with providers and do not feel their years of experience and knowledge are sufficiently respected.
NDIS prices remain top of mind when addressing future concerns. Providers are reporting they will be unable to provide services at the current NDIA-set prices and believe they will have to reduce the quality of their services if some prices do not improve.
The funding picture is no brighter for disability employment services. As the average funding per service user for Disability Employment Services (DES) users continues to decline in real terms, it is apparent that providers cannot continue to do more with less.
Providers’ report allied health workers as the most difficult to recruit to their workforce. Also recorded is an increase in administrative burden to appropriately roster staff. The rate of casual employment remains steady at 38% of the workforce but it is still an area of anxiety for some workers.
Amidst these concerning trends providers state their willingness to continue supporting the NDIS to full transition. While the underpinning aims of the NDIS are certainty, social and economic participation and choice and control for people with disability and their families, a sustainable and strong service sector is vital to achieving that aim.
NDS is committed to maintaining a leadership role in the current disability sector reforms. To achieve the right destination the following are essential:
- Co-design: Government must recognise that reforms won’t work well holistically unless they work well for individual stakeholders, including service providers. Co-design will almost always save time and stress in producing a smoother process or system when implemented.
- Practicality: Translating NDIS principles into practice requires a degree of pragmatism so that they are practical to implement.
- Pricing: Inadequate pricing threatens to erode quality of services.
- Planning: A clear map of the terrain ahead must be developed with the sector to ensure adequate planning and preparation.
- Research: A substantial knowledge base is needed to inform decision making throughout these reforms.
Download the full report:
Read today’s article on the State of the Disability Sector Report in Fairfax Media (read the article here)