Correspondence with NDIS

Subject: Letter from Chris Faulkner [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED] NDIS logo
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 03:29:29 +0000
From: FAULKNER, Chris
To: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor)

Good afternoon,

Please find attached letter following on from our meeting on 30/01/2018.

Kind regards,
Chris Faulkner

General Manager
Participants and Planning
National Disability Insurance Agency

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EC18-000445

Mr Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)

Dear Mr Buckley

Thank you for meeting with Christine McClelland, Lou O’Neil and myself on 30 January 2018. At this meeting, I committed to writing to you and I apologise for the delayed response.

The NDIA is dedicated to enhancing the experience for children, families and service providers in their interaction with the NDIA and I value the opportunity to consult with you about how the Agency can better support children with Autism.

As you may be aware, the NDIA is currently undertaking a review to consider and identify enhancements to the ECEI tailored pathway. The outcome of the review will also consider and address issues raised by the Joint Standing Committee on the ECEI approach.

The NDIA expects that ongoing improvements to enhance the delivery of the ECEI approach will continue to be implemented as the Agency develops its understanding of work with children and families who are accessing the ECEI pathway and the outcomes which they are achieving.

In respect to the concerns you raised in the meeting about the Autism Advisor service, I am informed that whilst HCWA and Better Start individualised early intervention support will progressively transition to the NDIS, other aspects of these programs will continue to operate until June 2019 in some states and jurisdictions.

Autism Advisor Services and Better Start Registration and Information Service (RIS) continue to operate in some states and jurisdictions until transition to the NDIS is complete. However, as you rightfully identified, these services are no longer available in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

I have asked my executive assistant to contact you to organise our next meeting.

I look forward to meeting with you again in July 2018.

Yours sincerely
Chris Faulkner
General Manager
GM Operations ACT/NSW

22 February 2018


Subject: RE: thank you for meeting on 30/1/2018 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:23:32 +0000
From: FAULKNER, Chris
To: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor)

Dear Mr Buckley

Thank you for your email following our meeting on 30 January. I am sorry for the delay in writing to you – I am preparing a letter and am taking some time to make sure that I capture the concerns you raised on behalf of A4.

We seem to have set off on the wrong foot – I was hoping to use the meeting to talk through the issues together to see if we could find a common ground to resolve the concerns you have. I am sorry that you felt this was not a helpful process.

In regards to your comment about the national Autism Adviser scheme, DSS have confirmed that this service has ceased in South Australia and ACT as these areas are fully phased, however Autism Advisers are still operational across other states and jurisdictions until June 2019. I acknowledge your feedback regarding the accuracy of this information.

I have asked my assistant, Emilie to set up a meeting in July with you, and she will be in touch shortly to find a time that is convenient to you. That will ensure that we have a committed time to meet.

Thanks again for taking the time to meet with me

Chris

From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor)
Sent: Thursday, 15 February 2018 1:32 PM
To: FAULKNER, Chris
Subject: thank you for meeting on 30/1/2018

Ms C. Faulkner
General Manager
Participants and Planning
National Disability Insurance Agency

Dear Ms Faulkner

Thank you for meeting with me on 30/1/2018. I am sorry to say that I was very disappointed by our meeting. I understood that the intended purpose of the meeting was (as indicate in your invitation, MC18-000018, 25-Jan-2018) "to discuss [A4's] concerns" about the NDIA's ECEI Approach in relation to autistic NDIS participants. I understood that you meant the concerns described in A4's recent letters to Government (see http://a4.org.au/node/1580, http://a4.org.au/node/1582 and http://a4.org.au/node/1588). I am sorry I got this wrong.

I was disappointed when I got to the meeting that you said that you weren't prepared for a discussion. I am very sorry that the content of our letters had not been sufficiently clear. I understand that as a result you asked could I instead use the time to describe again A4's concerns. Please understand that I would have done a better job of describing A4's concerns and a few suggestions to improve the NDIS had I know beforehand what was to happen in the meeting. I'm sorry that my presentation was unprepared and not as well organised as it could have been had I known beforehand.

I am also sorry that I cannot discern any progress in your understanding or recognition of A4's concerns since our previous meeting (21/12/2016) also with yourself, Ms V. Rundle and Ms C. McClelland.

In our latest meeting, Ms McClelland said that the NDIA is retaining the national Autism Advisor scheme, part of HCWA, until the full roll-out of the NDIS is completed. I am sorry to say, and as I said at the time, that her claim is simply not true; that is not what the NDIA did. A4 is disappointed that the NDIS has simply abolished the Autism Advisor service that the ASD community says was extremely valuable. 

Ms C. McClelland also indicated that she expected that the NDIS early intervention Access Partners would employ people who were previously autism advisors. I apologise that I regard this as very unlikely because:

  1. there was a substantial delay between the shutdown of the Autism Advisors and the start up of the NDIA Access Partners in places like South Australia and the ACT. People who were Autism Advisors moved on well before Access Partners got started. The NDIS squandered their expertise.
  2. there is no discernible requirement or even expectation that NDIS Access Partners would provide a service that resembles the service Autism Advisors provided previously. The NDIA's strong emphasis for NDIS Access Partners and more generally is on providing generic disability services rather than addressing the distinct needs of an individual child's specific disability, such as for their ASD-specific needs resulting from their autism spectrum disorder.

I am sorry that I cannot discernible any viable replacement under the NDIS or elsewhere for the very valuable soon to be annihilated national Autism Advisor service.

Annihilation of the national Autism Advisor service is but one of our concerns.

At the end of our meeting, you said you would write to me "in a couple of days" about our meeting. Over two weeks have passed now and I am sorry that I haven't yet received anything from you. I understand this means that there was nothing of significance arising from the meeting; that you don't have any questions. I am sorry I wasted your time. And I am disappointed that you do not share or even have an interest in any of our concerns or suggestions.

I thank you for indicating that you would like to meet again in 6 months, just as was planned after our previous meeting (21/12/2016, see http://a4.org.au/node/1438). I understand that an approach made in http://a4.org.au/node/1576 is not an appropriate approach to a follow-on meeting as your organisation did not respond to that email. I am sorry I got that wrong too. I now understand that I must write to relevant ministers, shadow ministers and the parliamentary Joint Committee on the NDIS (similar to http://a4.org.au/node/1588), to precipitate our next meeting. Please feel free to indicate if you believe strongly that I should also include the NDIA CEO, NDIS Board and interested journalists in any such communication.

--
yours sincerely

Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: http://a4.org.au/

A4 is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.” Jeff Daniels as Will McEvoy in The Newsroom.

********************************************************************** IMPORTANT: This e-mail is for the use of the intended recipient only and may contain information that is confidential, commercially valuable and/or subject to legal or parliamentary privilege. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that any review, re-transmission, disclosure, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information is prohibited and may result in severe penalties. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately and delete all electronic and hard copies of this transmission together with any attachments. Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail **********************************************************************

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