National

NDIS Canberra rollout improves but numbers underestimated: quarterly report

After shaky beginnings, the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the ACT is on track with complaints slowing down.

But the number of Canberrans deemed eligible remains higher than expected when the scheme began in the ACT in July 2014, the National Disability Insurance Agency's latest quarterly report shows.

Complaints about the NDIS are slowing down as more Canberrans have their plans approved.
Complaints about the NDIS are slowing down as more Canberrans have their plans approved. 

As of December 2015, 2947 participants have had plans approved, 97 per cent of the 3037 people expected to have transitioned to the scheme as per the "ages and stages" timetable determined by date of birth or by academic year for school-aged individuals.

But 4147 people have attempted to access the NDIS in the ACT and 3296 (79.5 per cent) met the criteria – 259 more than expected.

So far the scheme has cost close to $160 million in the ACT, with each package costing on average $45,421 – the second highest average of all jurisdictions.

Early in the scheme's rollout the ACT had the highest proportion of complaints in comparison with the number of approved plans with 21 received in the scheme's first six months in the territory and only 52 per cent of participants saying the planning progress was "very good" – the lowest of all jurisdictions.

But as more Canberrans have their plans approved, complaints are slowing down despite only 59 per cent of plans being approved within 90 days of accessing the scheme.

As of December 2015, Canberrans had made 53 complaints, the lowest proportion in comparison with the number of approved plans, behind the Northern Territory.

Most (43) were related to the NDIA and only two complaints were about providers.

Two appeals about plans were made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, one participant won and the other was withdrawn, while 40 participants or providers asked for plans to be reviewed.

Of all jurisdictions participants, carers and families in the ACT were the second least satisfied with the agency and the NDIS experience, with only 53 per cent saying the scheme was "very good" and 1 per cent saying it was "very poor" – behind only Western Australia.

Nationwide 70 per cent said the experience was "very good".

The ACT continued to have the highest proportion of participants who chose to "self-manage" their funds at 15 per cent, while 43 per cent handed control to the agency and a similar proportion (42 per cent) had a combination of management options.

Children aged five to 14 made up the largest proportion of NDIS participants in the ACT (40 per cent), followed by 15 to 24-year-olds (18 per cent).

Support for autism and related disorders accounted for the highest proportion of plans in the ACT (25 per cent) and nationwide followed by development delay at 15 per cent.