QAMH welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the NDIS Independent Review Panel as part of its consultation on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Framework (the Framework). This is an area of particular interest to QAMH: as of 01 June 2023, there were a total of 60,864 Australians with psychosocial disability with NDIS funded individual support packages and there is no doubt that the introduction of the NDIS has radically changed the landscape for individuals living with psychosocial disability, providers of psychosocial supports and the Community Mental Health and Wellbeing sector at large. In many cases, these changes have been positive, fostering individual choice and recovery-oriented approaches, as well as opportunities for innovation and collaboration among service providers, and there is little doubt that the Scheme has had a powerful transformative impact on the lives of many who are now able to access services and supports to effectively participate in society.
Nonetheless, there have also been a wide range of unanticipated outcomes which, as the Scheme matures into nearly a decade of operation, must now be considered as we review the NDIS and its operation. Not least of these are the rise of self or plan managed plans (around 88% of participants as at 31 December 2022 and the proliferation of third party providers via web platforms such as Mable and Hire Up. These services connect participants with workers and represent a vast unregulated market that significantly increases participant choice, but also introduces important quality and safety issues, increases workforce challenges and creates confusion regarding what standards unregistered providers are accountable to, and who is enforcing these. QAMH believes that now, more than ever, a robust and properly functioning Quality and Safeguards Framework is essential to ensure the protection, safety, and wellbeing of individuals accessing disability supports. A strong Framework should also serve to elevate the NDIS by promoting accountability, transparency, and quality assurance, while empowering participants and building trust in the system.
In this submission, we make the following recommendations:
- Clearly identify ‘higher risk’ supports;
- Provide more guidance on ‘quality’ in relation to psychosocial supports (and all supports);
- Build capacity of providers to support best practice;
- Clarify roles and build capacity of intermediaries to support best practice;
- Introduce stronger mechanisms to incentivise Agency-Managed plans and NDIS provider registration; and
- Highlight standards for non-registered providers and clarify enforcement.
 Australia. NDIS Review. (2023). NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework: Issues paper on the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework Independent review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. https://www.ndisreview.gov.au/sites/default/files/resource/download/quality-framework-issues.pdf