NDIA early intervention funding models: just make it up

A4 received the following response to a Freedom of Information request. This response is alarming because it shows the NDIA just made up the criteria and amounts for its 4 levels of early intervention support for autistic children in its consultation paper (see links below).

It says "the research and evidence used to calculate funding amounts listed in the consultation paper were informed by the Autism CRC early intervention report", but the Autism CRC's early intervention report contains none of that information. There are no severity levels or funding amounts mentioned ... unless the NDIA also inserted sections in to a copy of the report (as they apparently did with the Tune Review).

The response below says " the consultation paper itself also provides information on the sources considered when drafting ". Similarly, the sources cited, especially the IAC's review, neither describe the four categories or suggest the funding required at each level.

It appears that this information just "appeared" as the consultation document was being drafted. Presumably, when you request early intervention funding for an autistic child from the NDIS, the approach is just make up a number ... and cite the two papers mentioned in their consultation document as evidence.

Good luck!


Subject:

FOI 20/21-0679 – Your request for information – Closing of request [SEC=OFFICIAL]
Date: Mon, 17 May 2021 04:49:40 +0000
From: foi <foi@ndis.gov.au>
To: 'convenor@a4.org.au' <convenor@a4.org.au>
CC: foi <foi@ndis.gov.au>

Dear Bob Buckley

Thank you for your request for information.

You requested access to:

“…In its Mar 2021 Consultation paper: Interventions for children on the autism spectrum, the NDIA describes four levels of support and an associated level of funding for each support level. A4 requests all information held or used by the NDIA:

  1. to determine the four categories that would be described in the Consultation Paper, including:
    1. what other options were considered,
    2. why four levels are appropriate, and
    3. what discretion will be needed to vary the funding formula;
  2. about deciding the basis for the level of funding suggested for each of the four categories in the Consultation Paper; and
  3. in estimating the costs and benefits of using the particular four levels given in the Consultation Paper, including cost/benefit comparisons with other funding levels or category options”

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) provides a person a legally enforceable right to obtain access to documents; however, the FOI Act does not impose an obligation on a Commonwealth entity to provide documents already in the public domain, or otherwise publicly accessible.

We have undertaken reasonable searches and consulted with business areas and NDIA staff, who have advised that the research and evidence used to calculate funding amounts listed in the consultation paper were informed by the Autism CRC early intervention report, a summary of which can be found here on the NDIS website

Additionally, the complete research paper can be obtained on AutismCRC’s website. We note that an email registration is required to obtain the report, but it is otherwise free of charge.

In our consultations with relevant staff, they have advised that the consultation paper itself also provides information on the sources considered when drafting.

Given the documents and information you are seeking are publicly available, we are closing your request.

Please contact us at foi@ndis.gov.au if you have any questions.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information Officer
Parliamentary, Ministerial and FOI Branch
Government Division
National Disability Insurance Agency

E: foi@ndis.gov.au

NDIA

The NDIA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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