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NDIS: a “once in a generation” change for the Care Provider industry

If you need more information about the NDIS or becoming a care provider call 1800 800 110 or go to the NDIS website

The first of July conjures up sensationally snug images of warm winter coats, hot chocolate by the fireplace and TV series marathons. However, if you are in the Care Providing industry, this is certainly not a day to shut the door on the winds of change.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) begins today, and it is set to shake up the industry as a whole and turn all business and operating models on their heads.

What does the NDIS mean for Care Providers?

In a nutshell, the NDIS will see people with a disability in Australia empowered with the ability to choose the support they wish to receive.

The National Disability Insurance Agency will no longer provide block funding to organisations as it has shifted to an individual funding model.

Care Providers will now focus not only on delivering the service but on making their service stand out against competitors. That will place an even greater focus on the way they operate their business – the way they think, realign their people, processes and systems to a more client-centric approach.

New change, new opportunities

Let it be said again that this is a ‘once-in-a-generation’ change affecting the industry as a whole, so the change cannot be underestimated or over-simplified. Chairman of the National Disability Insurance Agency, which runs the NDIS, has said in the Australian Financial Review, “it will open up a whole new marketplace for disability services. There will be huge opportunities, not just for the not-for-profit sector but also for for-profit providers.”

Facing the challenges and realising the huge opportunity needs more than a knee-jerk reaction from business leaders and operational managers alike. Collaborative thinking, as well as working with and learning from other providers will be a key ingredient for success. It will ensure all of the different parts of the organisation come together as one, staged at the right time and in the right way.

Focusing only on one element alone, such as implementing a good technology solution or having a great marketing campaign, won’t be enough for a change of this magnitude.

Here are some considerations:

  • Clients – how are you helping your clients and/or their carers through this change and being their advocate so that they get the best support to achieve their outcomes? How are you branding and marketing yourselves to a whole new market?
  • Operating Model – without calling out the elephant in the room about how the entire cash flow of the business has changed, how are you re-looking at your operating model which may have previously been structured around receiving large block funds of money and delivering services according to programmes? Are you geared to deliver as the market opens up to you?
  • People – how have you empowered, trained and readied your workforce for this change? What additional skills would they need to support clients through the change and provide clients with a bouquet of service offerings as well?
  • Process & Policies – are your processes and policies still stuck in the old way of working?
  • Systems – how are your technology systems supporting a more agile, dynamic and fluid way of working for leaders, managers and support workers alike? The market offers a plethora of excellent tools specifically engineered for the Care Provider industry, so have you found the right fit?
  • Environment – are you thinking about the competition, not just the obvious but new competition arising from potential labor brokers? How are you engaging with other players in the market? How are you leveraging expertise within and without your organisation?

This is not the end…

While the NDIS focus is on the disability realm, it is safe to suggest that individual funding may become a more common trend for other government agencies for care in the next few years. It is time to leverage expertise, both within and without your organisation.


If you need more information about the NDIS:


  • There are a number of systemic and cultural issues particularly prevalent within the Commonwealth Public Sector that have given rise to this outcome and others (e.g. Census 2016 and MyGov).

    First and for most is the lack of customer-centricity that exists within the Commonwealth public sector. The sector repeatedly fails to engage with its customers to co-design the customer experience (inclusive of technology) required to effectively implement new government policy.

    Without this co-design process the sector is unable to properly and effectively scope technology requirements leading to technology providers developing enabling capability that is unable to deliver.

    Frequently, they seek to develop new technologies which bring with them substantial implementation risk. What they fail to do, time and time again, is look for enabling technologies that already exist and are delivering similar |(if not the same) service capability somewhere else in Australia or overseas.

    This lack of willingness to engage in customer-centric design and leverage existing technology capability is not only frustrating to see over and over again, but is extremely costly in both financial terms but also the trust and confidence the community has in government

    • Chantal says:

      Hi Steve Griffin,
      Great points and you’ve certainly hit right on the acupuncture point here …”The sector repeatedly fails to engage with its customers to co-design the customer experience (inclusive of technology)”.
      From our viewpoint and experience, there is enormous power (and success) with human-centric and customer-centric design and delivery approaches … is there any other way!? It’s hard to believe organisations are still not collaborating and assessing needs and designing solutions from the inside out! There is much work still to be done….

    • Steve these are excellent comments which definitely resonate with me and also validate a lot of what we are seeing.

      I remember when Bank needed to rethink and reinvent themselves from a product focus to customer-centric. Many found great success in using design thinking and principles such as HCD (Human Centred Design) starting with the customer and then designing the operating model from bottom up as opposed to top down. I loved how creative people with strong design backgrounds (and very limited business experience) were brought into the conversation to turn all the models on their heads and bring a flair of energy and customer passion to a previously VERY product driven.

      The public centre has always at a B2B focus and it is an extremely exciting time as the government sector is under pressure to build a B2C mindset. Question is, how do we bring heads, hearts and hands on the journey, breaking VERY traditional mindsets that have never been challenged to think in a new way before. I think it is about planting seeds of realisation until they get up to speed. However, this does cause creative tension as consumers of service (public or private) demand more complex delivery in a faster and simpler way.

      Very exciting times and makes me feel privileged to be a change manager in these times 🙂