From My First Plan to My Place: 3 things to remember

It would be fair to say the NDIA has had a bit of a false start in launching the NDIS. The first month of the NDIS roll out has been a train wreck. Payments have been inconsistent or nonexistent, in part because of the NDIA’s decision to launch the NDIS with a new portal they call ‘My Place’. ‘My Place’, to the dismay of NDIS participants, families and service providers, has failed. Epically.

‘My Place’ was clearly not fit for purpose. Much like the NDIA’s ‘My First Plan‘ fiasco, it shows the same lack of insight, planning or humility.

Unfortunately, when the NDIA fails it is the NDIS community, people who are participants, providers, family, friends and carers who suffer. The NDIA has had years of preparation in the trial sites and yet chose to make these major untested changes on the day of the roll out.

In the wake of all this disaster, we wanted to take a minute to step back and look at the bigger picture of issues and ideas worth remembering.

[image: cartoon of person with head in hands in front of laptop]

Accountability

Last week, Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer was retired following multiple network outages in recent months that left people stranded without phone and internet services. The organisation failed the people it was meant to serve and the person chiefly responsible is no longer in their post. Executive accountability.

When will the NDIA show this same level of accountability?

We have seen the very real and significant impact the NDIA’s failures are having on people in the NDIS community. The real pain being felt by people across the community because of the NDIA’s failures has been reported by the ABC, the Australian and Pro Bono Australia amongst others.

The NDIA’s failures with ‘My First Plan’ and ‘My Place’ need to be addressed and the people responsible held to account. We cannot afford for the NDIS to be mismanaged by the NDIA as it is currently.

The NDIA is not the NDIS

The failures of the NDIA are not failures of the NDIS. Although the NDIA often tries to present itself as the NDIS (see the NDIA’s facebook and twitter handles), the two are separate.

The NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) is a government agency created with the duty of administering the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). The NDIS is a scheme under Australian law which defines how we as a country fund supports for people with disability.

As we have seen with ‘My First Plan’, the NDIA (agency) has taken actions which breach the NDIS (law). The failures that we have seen in recent months are failures of the NDIA, not failures of the NDIS.

It is sad when we see media reports (including those linked above) that talk of these failures of the NDIA as failures of the NDIS. This misreporting confuses the issues and may lead the general public to not support the NDIS.

The failures of ‘My First Plan’ and the ‘My Place’ portal are failures of management. While it is fair to be critical of the NDIA, this is not criticism of the NDIS. We need responsible reporting from the media which acknowledges the difference.

Management by the NDIA has been bad and is right to be criticised by the news media. However the NDIS law is good and we need journalists to make that difference clear.

Together we can make a difference

It will come as no surprise that we believe in the power of community. If you are a part of CareNavigator.com.au you know that we built this place to be a community where people could share their experiences and make informed choices about their care. Sharing experience, giving reviews, these are powerful ways to support each other and support the success of the NDIS. Sharing your experience not only helps people make choices, it also helps providers improve their service. It means better care and better outcomes for people across the NDIS community.

When we first heard of the NDIA’s plans to deprive participants of goals for their first year, we knew this was wrong. So we started a petition and joined with over 500+ of you to make our voices heard and protect a full, fair NDIS rollout.

Thanks to your support, we have started to see the NDIA back away from its plans for a goalless NDIS. Unfortunately this backflip in July by the NDIA has sadly featured a lot of double speak like the following from this link:

There’s no limit on the number of goals you can have in your plan

Awesome, right? Goals are back, it says “no limit” right there in bold so goals must be back in plans. Not so fast…

That bolded heading is followed by this fine print:

“your first plan focuses on what you need right now and gives you some time to think about your longer term needs and goals. “

So while the NDIA is backing down from openly forcing its no goal plan, it is still trying to keep some ambiguity on the issue. This may be just to save face from the debacle that My First Plan has been, or it may be an attempt to continue to push people to accept goalless plans.

While on the one hand NDIA representatives no longer appear to be declaring ‘My First Plan’ goal-free, we continue to hear people having their choice and control limited in determining their goals.

As such, we will continue to maintain our petition until the NDIA states that all participants will be free to choose their goals in their first plan without limitation by the NDIA, LACs or others. By joining together in supporting a full, fair NDIS we have stopped the NDIA from pushing its goalless plans full force, but until there is no ambiguity on this issue we will continue to be concerned for people’s right to choose goals.

If you support a full, fair NDIS and oppose people having their goals limited we invite you to continue to support and share this petition to stop the NDIA pushing goalless plans. It is sad that the NDIA continues to force people to fight for the rights already won by the hard work and dedication of those who campaigned and secured the NDIS.

As we continue this petition, we also ask that you consider supporting other campaigns that are also fighting for the rights and inclusion of people with disability. Here are just a few:

If you are campaigning to support the rights and inclusion of people with disability, please let us know by sharing your petition in the comments section.

  1. The MyPlace debacle lies at the feet of DSS and has nothing to do with NDIS or NDIA.

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