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Submission SUB-C3N9-002554 (Brenda Brown)

Submission reference
Individual's name
Brenda Brown
Submission type
10 areas for improvement
How you would define reasonable and necessary?

What is reasonable and necessary is subjective. Perhaps if disabilities were further categorised ie neurodiversity (eg ASD/ADHD), Intellectual disabilities (eg acquired brain injuries, fragile x), physical disabilities (eg spinal cord injuries), vision/hearing impairment, cerebral palsy ect, reasonable and necessary supports could be suggested for each disability.
At the moment it seems what is 'reasonable and necessary' depends on who you ask.
Take for an example a personal situation I recently had with a weighted blanket for my daughter who, amongst other things, suffers chronic anxiety. She is 18 and researched herself what she thought could provide her with relief. She wanted to try a weighted blanket. I have a flexible core budget and have used it for ear plugs and orthotics. I found that the blanket she chose was on sale for $124 (compared to an NDIS registered provider one, correct weight for her weight and exactly the same, which was $519!). Her Plan Manager said this needs to be approved by the NDIS (still waiting). To me this is reasonable (as its inexpensive and value for money) and necessary as my daughter absolutely loves it and is sleeping much better as a direct result of this blanket! The NDIS believe that because it's not from an NDIS registered provider and because we don't have a specific consumables budget this may not be approved. So to me, if I spent $519 on the same item from a registered provider it would be approved ?? - It's a blanket ! Makes no sense at all.

How can the market be better designed, structured and supported?

Before the NDIS, 'support workers' had qualifications in disability, community service, mental health etc now they are uni students, immigrants and return to work mums. I had amazing SW until the NDIS took hold and people became desperate. Anyone off the street can be a SW. As a result, there is no longer professionalism and self-interest is riff. I really don't know how you can claw this back. Maybe make reporting shoddy workers and providers easier and actually acting on complaints. The Q&SC is known as a 'toothless tiger'.
Providers should be paid their worth based on proven outcomes and adherence to the National Disability Standards.
Why is eg a SW on Hireup with no experience or qualifications paid the same as a person who has studied and has a proven track record in individual care ?

How should outcomes and performance be measured and shared?

It is very hard when LACs never return calls or emails and when there is a high turnover of staff.
Perhaps every 3 months the participant and/or plan nominee fill in a 'report card' on their providers.

What does good service from someone helping you navigate the NDIS look like?

Asking constantly for a support-co-ordinator and not being approved means I have had to leave a casual job (with a service provider btw) to navigate the NDIS for my son and daughter. Huge time commitment and stress ! However, as an ISW myself, I have heard many clients with support co-ordnators frustrated with their lack of knowledge, providing false information and again serving their own interest by signing their clients up with friends/relatives who are providers. I have seen facebook posts on NDIS sites from 'support co-ordnators' who have little more than an ABN asking basic questions that they should know. People who are employed to help ie LACS and support co-ordnators need to have extensive knowledge of the scheme and perhaps a mandatory training would help.
Why can't 'Capacity Building" just be called "Allied Health Therapies'. What can't Plan Mangement fees just be called that and not hidden under CB - Improved Life Choices - PM ? Plans are written so much more complicated than what they need to be. Just call it what it is !

How should the safeguarding system be improved for a better NDIS?

I have a serious complaint against a registered provider which was reported to the Q&SC in February...still ongoing.
was told as it is just one complaint there will be no significant consequence for provider. This is a serious complaint, and the actions of the provider has had a dire effect on my daughter's mental and physical health as well as directly affecting her future pathway and ability to become an independent adult.
If there are no serious consequences for negligent service providers what is the point of having a Q&SC ?

Is there anything else that you would like to tell the NDIS Review?

De-register registered service providers for breaching National Disability and NDIS Standards.
I try to avoid registered providers where possible as, in my 10 years of experience, they provide the worst service and the maximum price. This is mostly due to the high demand for services and the ability for anyone who applies, to get a job working for or as a service provider.
LACs need to listen to participants and stop 'playing god' with plans. Hopefully if they did, a lot of S100s can be avoided.
Good luck !