On 16 September 2015, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Daniel Andrews signed the bilateral agreement outlining the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Victoria from 1 July 2016. This historic agreement will more than double the funding currently allocated to disability services to benefit an estimated 105,000 Victorians and aims to give these Victorians greater choice and control of the services they require.
While individual plans form the major component of the NDIS, it is equally important to ensure that people with disability are able to participate in and contribute to social and economic life, access mainstream and universal services as well as community based activities. The Information, Linkages and Capacity Building framework is being developed as part of the NDIS to address these components of the service system.
The Information, Linkages and Capacity Building framework will have five streams of activities. These are:
- Information, linkages and referrals
- Capacity building for mainstream services
- Community awareness and community capacity building
- Individual capacity building; and
- Local Area Coordination
The implementation of the framework has commenced with the release of the Request for Tender for Local Area Coordination.
The following information about the five streams has been adapted from the Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building as agreed by the Disability Reform Council.
Information, linkages and referrals
In order to access a service people need information about the available services and supports. Information, linkages and referrals will connect people with disability, their families and carers with appropriate disability, community and mainstream supports.
The types of information that may be sought includes:
- information about specific disabilities and the impacts of diagnosis
- information about targeted supports for people with disability, their family and carers, as well as generic community-based supports
- information on specific disabilities that aims to help people with disability, their families and carers to best use available supports to promote independence and enhance capacity to navigate service systems
- support to use existing information sources or relevant organisations to get information
- information that addresses the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities through the context of location and background; and
- information that addresses the needs of Indigenous Australians and their respective language, social or nation groups.
Capacity building for mainstream services
People with disability, their families and carers, like all community members, access and interact with mainstream and universal systems and supports. An NDIS objective is to ensure people with disability connect with and access mainstream supports.
Mainstream services are considered to be government funded services (for example, education, health care, public housing, transport and employment services), and services/supports provided by the community or private sector (for example, a swimming pool, neighbourhood houses and men’s sheds, gym or theatre).
The NDIS will fund supports to enhance social and economic participation for people with disability. Therefore, it has a role in improving accessibility and inclusion of people with disability.
The NDIS will also be able to identify areas for improvement at the local level and work with partners to achieve these goals, some examples of which may include:
- building the capacity of mainstream and universal providers in meeting their responsibilities
- making them more inclusive of people with disability, for example in areas such as employment, education and health services
- providing organisations with information on how to improve accessibility, for example by improving wheelchair access to buildings and infrastructure, signage, website and communication accessibility; and
- enhancing ‘best practice’ in service delivery, for example through support to develop tools and resources that support practitioners across mainstream services to provide services to people with disability.
Community awareness and capacity building
Investing in community awareness and capacity building will create opportunities for the social and economic participation of people with disability, their families and carers, improving personal outcomes and strengthening the connection between people with disability and their communities.
Community capacity building initiatives can further support organisations (such as not for profit organisations, local councils, businesses) and people within communities to be inclusive of people with disability, and understand of the needs of families and carers.
The NDIS recognises that governments play a role in fostering the social inclusion of people with disability and their families and carers and that these activities should continue and complement the NDIS.
The NDIS has an important role in supporting and strengthening effective local initiatives by community groups and businesses to address disability issues in the community (for example social isolation). This may include the provision of funding.
Community awareness and capacity building initiatives may include:
- opportunities that enhance the capacity of local communities to identify local practical solutions
- public campaigns to improve the community’s general disability awareness and understanding
- creating personal networks that connect people with disability to opportunities (for example, employment opportunities) they may otherwise miss
- basic training to individuals (for example, paid employees, business operators or volunteers) to enable them to better relate to, or work with, people with disability
- community activities in which people with disability can participate
- consulting with, or incorporating the views of, people with disability, their families and carers in the provision of community activities and other goods and services; and
- investing in product design and technology to facilitate the inclusion of people with disability in the community.
Individual capacity building
Individual capacity building fosters choice and control thereby improving outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers. It seeks to drive market changes through innovation as participants’ needs and expectations evolve.
This funding stream can support courses, groups and organisations to help build capacity, self-advocacy and decision-making, facilitate mentoring and peer support and help provide people with information that will support choice.
Examples of individual capacity building supports may include:
- diagnosis-specific capacity building (for example, orientation training for people with vision impairment where this is low cost and short term);
- programs for carers and counselling for people who are caring for someone with disability (including psychosocial disability).
- parent breaks and programs to provide parents with skills and information about disability
- professional development for example for parents and education providers
- decision making supports and supports for self-advocacy, helping people with disability, their families, carers and communities to work together with and for people with disability; and
- diagnosis specific peer support groups.
Local Area Coordination
Local Area Coordination is the development of relationships between the NDIS, people with disability, their families and carers, and the local community (including informal networks, community groups, disability and mainstream services).
LAC will also promote community inclusion and provide strong visibility of the local disability support system. For the NDIS, this visibility will contribute to the streamlined and efficient delivery of supports and ensure connected support responses by complementing the existing services in the local community and mainstream services (see stream 4).
The role of the LAC can incorporate:
- building the capacity of other community and mainstream services to respond to the needs of people with disability, their families and carers and to develop natural networks of support around people with disability
- prevention of escalation of support needs, capacity building and locally based, practical solutions
- supporting the concept of a wide entry gateway
- services directed to ‘hard-to-reach’ individuals or communities
- building and supporting informal support systems
- formal services and funding as the last, not the first, response.
- the purchase of low cost one-off supports; and
- A small amount of seed-funding for community capacity building, community inclusion activities, individual capacity building or to incubate innovative start-ups or initiatives to deliver supports where and how people require at the local level.
More information about the Request for Tender for Local Area Coordination.
VCOSS is a member of the Ageing, Disability and Mental Health Collaborative Panel, and the panel are conducting a number of projects to build the capacity of the ageing, disability and mental health sectors to respond to the NDIS, aged care reforms and develop good practice in relation to consumer-led service delivery.
The Victorian Government is holding NDIS community forums across Victoria and registrations are still open for the forums in Wangaratta and Warnambool.