The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) brought about major change for both people living with disability and for service providers. The scheme was launched in selected trial sites in 2013 before the full scheme roll-out commenced in July 2016.
Prior to the implementation of the NDIS, a block-funded model was in operation with each State Government providing disability support providers with up-front funding.
The NDIS funding model provides funding to an individual, giving the individual control over their funding allocation and the ability to choose what those funds are spent on and with whom.
For Australians living with a disability, the implementation of the NDIS provided them with unprecedented choice and control.
For service providers, the implementation of the NDIS brought about major operational changes. Cash flow, marketing, recruitment and IT were just some vital business elements that would need to be addressed in addition to continuing to provide services to clients.
The implementation of the NDIS brought about choice and control for participants, and a much more competitive and challenging business environment for providers.
On 1st July 2020, the staged national geographical roll-out of the NDIS was completed. Many service providers struggled initially with the new business landscape, some ceased operations, some merged and some new providers entered the market. All service providers have adjusted or built their business models to function under the NDIS regulations, including the fixed price-guide.
The NDIS Annual Market Survey published in February 2019 stated that 73% of respondents were not-for-profit organisations which is an indicator as to the mix of organisations in the sector.
The majority of service providers are not-for-profit organisations, but there is a growing number of for-profit organisations providing services to NDIS participants, including Auscare Support.
Inclusion for NDIS Participants, exclusion for ‘for-profit providers?
When I first started working for Auscare Support, I recall a conversation I had with Auscare Support CEO, Max King. Max attended an interagency meeting in South-West Sydney where representatives from a variety of community services organisations were in attendance.
An attendee approached Max, and, with a disparaging tone, sighed, “So you’re a ‘for profit.’” The accusation was that ‘for profit’ was bad. When Max mentioned that he had a background in employment and staffing… her eyes rolled again.
“Yes,” Max replied, “but is that such a bad thing? We have a goal and a mission… would you like to know what that is?”
Let’s just hit PAUSE here for a moment… we will get to the mission of Auscare Support shortly.
A couple of months ago, I was speaking with one of Auscare Support’s new Support Coordinators based in Sydney. She was very enthusiastic about meeting with other service providers in the area and I suggested that she join her local Interagency Group and attend regular meetings. When I followed-up with her a few days later, the Support Coordinator, who is also an NDIS participant, told me that her approach to join the group had been rejected because only not-for-profit organisations were permitted to attend. No other explanation was given.
So, back to Auscare Support’s mission. Each and every day, our team work to: “Empower great futures for our clients and their families.”
Like any quality service provider, Auscare Support exists to act in the best interests of our clients. Just because an organisation is a ‘for-profit’ does not mean that they are driven by revenue and should be excluded in what is meant to be an inclusive sector. Collaboration amongst service providers, regardless of their structural status, is key to achieving the best outcomes for NDIS participants.
Service Delivery – The Auscare Support Way
Maintaining our high level service standards and making our clients the sole focus of what we do each day will always be Auscare Support’s priority.
We are advocates for creating inclusive communities, including NDIS participants and providers. We are proud to say that Auscare Support has employed staff members who are NDIS participants themselves, including members of our administrative and Support Coordination teams.
A common myth regarding ‘for profit’ organisations is that they are driven by KPIs and focus on building the volume of clients they have instead of providing each client with the same high level of service. At Auscare Support, this could not be further from the truth. For example, the number of clients any of our Support Coordinators can manage is capped to ensure that each client receives the same high standard of service. We do not set any KPIs for our team to meet.
For those who choose Auscare Support as a service provider, our team promises to:
- Collaborate with other service providers to ensure you link with those best suited to meet your needs;
- Work alongside you to build your capacity;
- Be easy to contact via phone and email;
- Take a proactive approach to ensure you achieve your goals; and
- Ensure that you exercise choice and control over the decisions that affect you.
There are those two words again, choice and control. It underpins the philosophy of the NDIS and the way Auscare Support delivers services.
We encourage all NDIS participants to do their research into service providers before contacting them, regardless of whether they are a ‘not-for-profit’ or a ‘for-profit.’ We are all working towards a common goal.