NDIS pathway review ...

Subject: Re: NDIA, autism stakeholders and early intervention [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:11:40 +1000
Organization: Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
To: CHAIRMAN <CHAIRMAN@ndis.gov.au>

Dear Ms Walker

Thank you for the link to the pathway review web-page.

The full report says "the Review focused on engaging with participants, providers and significant disability organisations". I'd be interested to know which ASD-related organisations the NDIA rates as "significant disability organisations". Figure 2 shows engagement with "27 peak body & advocacy groups" - who were those 27 groups? How were the 28% of autistic NDIS participants represented? Was the early intervention component of the NDIS properly represented? Note that 28% of 27 groups would be 7-8 ASD groups.

I could not find a proper description of the survey methodology in the full report, nor a documented check that survey participants statistically represented NDIS participant population.

The report says "stakeholders then generated 400 ideas to improve the pathways" but does not list the 400 ideas. It says the Agency will "ensure that they address 200 specific issues", but it does not say which ideas. I cannot see how we'd check that the 200 specific issues were addressed successfully.

I'm interested that the NDIA has these "200 specific issues" that it's addressing, yet the NDIA's representative could not recognise or acknowledge any issues in her correspondence with A4 on 22/2/2018. Does this mean that none of the 200 issues that came out of the NDIS Pathway Review coincides with the issues and concerns that A4 raised?

Thank you for providing the link.

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.
 

On 6/4/18 9:03 am, CHAIRMAN wrote:

Dear Mr Buckley,

Thank you for your email.

Apologies, Helen Nugent is currently on leave. I will bring this email to her attention when she returns from leave.

I note you mentioned in your email that you have little information about the NDIA’s work on the participant pathway.

You may be interested in reading the NDIA’s detailed report on its work to improve the NDIS participant and provider experience, which was released in February 2018. 

You can find the report and a supporting statement on the NDIS website https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/pathway-review-released.html

Kind regards

Jess

Jessica Walker
Adviser to the Chairman

National Disability Insurance Agency

M 0467808238  | E  jessica.walker@ndis.gov.au

Visit www.ndis.gov.au to find out how to get NDIS Ready

From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) [mailto:convenor@a4.org.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 4 April 2018 1:15 PM
To: Nugent, Helen <Helen.Nugent@ndis.gov.au>
Subject: Re: NDIA, autism stakeholders and early intervention [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Dear Ms Nugent

Thank you for your reply and for your apparent intervention.

Please note that I met with Mss Faulkner, McClelland and O'Neill in January 2018 (and previously in December 2016) with the alleged purpose "to discuss [A4's] concerns"; but the meetings were not discussions. I explained what happened in the latest meeting in my previous letter; the NDIA officials were unprepared for the meetings so they did not discuss A4's concerns related to early intervention for autistic children.

While I explained again A4's concerns early intervention for autistic children in the "meeting", the subsequent letter from Ms Faulkner, ostensibly to summarise "the discussion", omitted all the concerns that I raised (in both the meeting and preceding letters). Ms Faulkner's follow-up letter shows clearly that the NDIA officials did not recognise (or summarise) any of A4's concerns.

A4 can prepare for another meeting with Ms Faulkner and other NDIA officials sooner than July. I am unsure whether you want this earlier meeting to be about about meeting, whether it is intended to again not discuss early intervention for autistic children. I am interested to know why you think another meeting between Ms Faulkner and A4 might have an improved outcome.

I note that Mr De Luca (CEO) declined A4's request to meet (see http://a4.org.au/node/1690). He also declined to meet representatives from the Australian Autism Alliance.

A4 has very little information about the NDIA's "end to end review of the participant pathway". Please understand our skepticism about an NDIA review that did not engage stakeholders from the ASD community. A4 is confused about whether the NDIA's "end to end review of the participant pathway" that you refer to involved reviewing the NDIA's ECEI Approach in relation to autistic children ... or even whether a review of the ECEI Approach is still underway with ECIA's Best Practice Project for early intervention. ECIA's project seems to have predetermined what best practice for autistic children is without consulting ASD experts of ASD stakeholders.

Currently, A4 is being inundated with families asking for help with reviews in the AAT of NDIS decisions about early intervention for autistic children. A4 is not funded and has limited capacity to assist with individual advocacy. Nor is any other advocacy service properly equipped to assist autistic children in the AAT. So A4 does what it can. Suffice it to say, we are not yet seeing any NDIA revised Pathway improving access and communication ... our observation is that recent policy changes and practices result in worse decisions about early intervention for autistic children.

To be honest, A4 has no idea what "meeting the high standards to which the NDIA aspires" might mean in relation to autistic children. The current operation of the NDIS is often contrary to what experts describe as good/best practice for autistic children.

I would be interested to see responses from the NDIA and from the Government to the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the NDIS in their report on early intervention.

I thank you for your interest. I appreciate your effort trying to organise another meeting quickly. I'm sorry that I cannot be more positive about the prospect of meeting again with people who repeatedly ignored all the issues we raised. Please feel free to send a copy of this response to Mr Rob De Luca.

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.

On 27/3/18 11:36 am, Nugent, Helen wrote:

Dear Mr Buckley:

Thank you for your email regarding your concerns about engagement with the NDIA and the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach. I appreciate you taking the time to bring this to my attention and have also copied Mr Rob De Luca, CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on my response.

I understand that you met with Chris Faulkner, General Manager Operations, Christine McClelland, Director ECEI and Lou O’Neill, Branch Manager Scheme Policy in January 2018 to discuss your concerns and that another meeting will be shortly scheduled for mid-year. I have asked Ms Faulkner to schedule this meeting earlier to discuss the issues raised in your email.

As you are aware, the NDIA has undertaken an end to end review of the participant pathway following feedback that experiences were not meeting the high standards to which the NDIA aspires. This includes the ECEI pathway. As a result the NDIA is trialling a new NDIS Pathway. We feel confident that the Pathway will significantly improve the experience participants and organisations will have with the NDIS. The Pathway includes measures to improve access and communication, as well as a broad approach to ensuring the right supports and outcomes are available to participants.

Once again, thank you for raising your concerns with me. I very much appreciate it.

Your sincerely

Helen

Dr Helen Nugent AO

Chairman
National Disability Insurance Agency

 

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