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Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Page: 11103

National Disability Insurance Agency

(Question No. 1014)


Ms Sharkie asked the Minister for Social Services, in writing, on 14 August 2018:

(1) Is there a time limit for processing complaints made about the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), if not, why not, and if so, how are timeframes for processing complaints enforced.

(2) How does a person escalate an unanswered complaint form they have submitted to the NDIA, and what conditions must be fulfilled in order to escalate an unanswered complaint.

(3) After the NDIA receives a complaint form, what is the average waiting time for (a) a response, and (b) the complaint to be resolved.

(4) Does the NDIA have a triage process for prioritising applications for reviews of reviewable decisions, if so, what is that process, and if not, why not.

(5) How does the NDIA currently inform National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants about the National Disability Advocacy Program, and has the Government considered providing information about the Program, (a) in writing to accompany the first written correspondence an NDIS applicant receives, and (b) over the telephone (i) as standard practice, or (ii) in its pre-recorded messages.

(6) In addition to any contractual obligations with NDIS providers, how does the Government currently ensure that planners with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to handle complex NDIS cases are available to participants.

(7) Is the NDIA customer service charter enforceable.

(8) What is the average waiting time for NDIS applications to be assessed.

(9) What is the average waiting time between a participant's acceptance to the NDIS and their initial planning meeting.


Mr Fletcher: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) aims to resolve complaints within 21 calendar days of receipt. The time taken to resolve a complaint may be longer than 21 days depending on the complexity of the issues raised. This is outlined in the NDIA Service Charter, which is publicly available. Timeframes are followed-up internally through monitoring of how long a complaint is active for and direct engagement with officers assigned to resolve the complaint.

(2) A person can escalate an unanswered complaint form by emailing feedback@ndis.gov.au or by phoning the 1800 number. The feedback@ndis.gov.au mailbox is managed by the NDIA National Complaints Resolution Branch. Where a participant or complainant has previously complained to the NDIA and a response has not been provided after 21 days, the Complaints Branch would seek to escalate this matter for resolution. Where there are urgent circumstances similar to those outlined in the operational guideline to planning then this will be escalated for action.

(3)

a. On average, for complaints acknowledged between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, it took 1.6 days for the complaint to be acknowledged.

b. On average, for complaints closed between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, it took 68 days for the complaint to be closed.

(4) The NDIA has a risk prioritisation matrix which is completed to triage applications for reviews of reviewable decisions. This prioritises requests based on potential risks to the participant, including risks to health and wellbeing, risks to ability to live an ordinary life (including risk of loss of employment), risk of care and accommodation arrangement.

(5) Information about the National Disability Advocacy Program is currently made available on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) website at: www.ndis.gov.au/participants/making-decisions-about-support/ndap. This is the primary source for all information for participants.

Information about the support provided by the National Disability Advocacy Program is also made available to participants in written correspondence when they are being informed about their right for an external review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

(6) Position descriptions contain a generic skillset the NDIA seeks when recruiting, and it is expected that successful applicants meet the required skillset. Most of the planners have worked in the disability sector in jurisdictions.

Recognising the critical nature of induction training, the Service Delivery Learning and Development Framework prioritised the need to redevelop the Agency induction approach, moving from the 8-day face-to-face induction program to a 6-week blended New Starter Program.

In addition to this training, the NDIA is finalising on-the-job support tools and more in-depth learning that will focus on an expanded Disability Awareness Training Program. This will support our workforce to help tailor our interactions with participants to support optimal outcomes for all. This work is being developed in partnership with the Disability Advocacy Network of Australia and will include input and feedback from a number of national peak bodies and service providers.

(7) The NDIS Customer Service Charter is not a legal requirement under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013. It is government policy that departments and agencies providing services directly to the public are to have service charters in place. A service charter is not intended to confer legally enforceable rights on clients of Commonwealth agencies - it is a public statement about what the department or agency does, how to contact and communicate with the department/agency, the standard of service that customers can expect, and how to provide feedback or make a complaint.

(8) For the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, access decisions took 8.8 days on average.

(9) The NDIA does not have data on the waiting time between the participant having an access decision and their first plan meeting. Average waiting times also include people who lodge an access request six months prior to the NDIS being made available in the location where they reside.