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ICT services needed for Australia-wide NDIS rollout

by Pallavi Singhal •
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The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is looking for whole-of-government ICT services to support the rollout of the nation-wide scheme across Australian states and territories, which is due to begin in July 2016.

NDIA has completed a request for Expressions of Interest for the provision of “additional systems capability needed to support NDIS full scheme roll out”, a spokesperson for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) told Intermedium.

The outcomes of this initial Approach to Market (ATM), conducted in September 2013, will inform appropriations in the upcoming Commonwealth budget, with any further ATMs likely to come in the 2014-15 financial year.

From July 2016, a full NDIS rollout will begin in NSW and Queensland.

According to the current timeline, NSW, South Australia and the ACT will be the first to receive full NDIS coverage by July 2018, with full implementation in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to follow in July 2019.

The scope of the full implementation is estimated to cover around 460,000 Australians “with significant and permanent disability receiving the support they need through a network of local offices throughout Australia”, according to the 2013-14 Federal Budget.

Initial launch sites covering limited areas and demographics have already begun to be implemented across Australian states and territories.

An insourced ICT system has been adapted to meet the requirements of this initial stage of the NDIS rollout.

“In 2012 the NDIA sourced appropriate ICT system(s) capability to meet the needs of the NDIS launch period from 1 July 2013 to July 2016,” said the spokesperson.

“An existing Commonwealth ICT system was adapted and released in June 2013.”

The current system is hosted by the Australian Department of Social Services and supports the NDIS national office and all initial launch site offices. System capabilities include:

  • a business and information system for intake, eligibility, assessment and planning processes,
  • a payments processing system for claims,
  • online portals for individuals and providers,
  • the NDIS website, and
  • a data warehouse.

The system has been developed with the capacity to expand to meet NDIA requirements over the 2013-2016 launch period.

The agency anticipates future enhancements in the area of interfaces between the central NDIA system and various federal, state and territory systems.

The 2012-13 Federal Budget included a specific ICT allocation of $240.3 million “to build and operate the information technology system required to collect and analyse data to monitor client outcomes and measure the performance of the new arrangements”. The money for the system was allocated over four years to 2016-17.

A review of the then FaHCSIA’s contracts for 2012-13 indicates that:

  • $35.1 million was spent on Labour Hire contracts, an increase of 91.8 per cent on the previous year. In 2013-14 year to date, $8.2 million has been spent;
  • A total of $4.5 million was spent on IT Services contracts over the financial year;
  • $18.8 million was spent on Software contracts; and
  • Nearly $19 million was spent on Hardware agreements.

Although individual ICT components did not receive separate allocations in the 2013-14 Budget, $14.3 billion was allocated for the full implementation of the NDIS. This covers all Federal expenditure, including funding for states and territories. It is broken down into:

  • $2.4 billion for the initial launch sites;
  • $1.9 billion for costs for the transition to the full scheme (due to begin in 2016) through to July 2017;
  • $3.8 billion for the establishment of the full scheme in the 2017-18 financial year; and
  • $6.2 billion for the 2018-19 financial year (when full implementation is expected to be completed).

The 2013-14 budget also included $14.4 million over four years to “support implementation of a nationally consistent data collection model for school students with disability”.

In addition to this, the Federal Government has established an NDIS Fund that will provide a total of approximately $9.7 billion to states and territories once they have met “key conditions” and at least 50 per cent of their eligible populations are covered.

“This is the stage at which it is likely that States and Territories will begin to incur significant new costs related to their participation,” according to Budget documents.

“This will help the States and Territories with the cost of establishing DisabilityCare Australia.”

However, the certainty of these funding and rollout commitments has come under question following the change of government in September 2013. The new Coalition Government has “committed to taking the hard decisions to live within its means” in the 2013-14 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

“Much of the projected growth in spending is from social programs — including welfare, education and health,” Treasurer Joe Hockey said in a December address.

“Spending reform will inevitably require difficult choices about the policies that Australians need now and in the years to come.”

He specifically hinted at changes to the NDIS funding model in an interview on the ABC’s AM.

“We are determined to deliver the NDIS but it has to be affordable,” said Hockey.

"I know it might surprise some, but you can actually deliver a program in full but also make it affordable.”

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  • Federal
  • IT Services
  • Human Services
  • 2013-14 Federal Budget
  • Department of Families
  • Housing
  • Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)
  • DisabilityCare Australia
  • joe hockey
  • Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)