Introduction and Welcome

The Parkinson’s NSW Purpose is to connect people living with Parkinson’s with life-enhancing support and services. 

In line with this Purpose, Parkinson’s NSW is pleased to have secured grant funding from the Australian Government under the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Support for NDIS Providers Program to create this Toolkit.

This Kit is intended to assist disability sector leadership bodies understand the implications and complexities of the NDIS business environment. It will also inform decision making about possible ways forward in seeking and maintaining NDIS Approved Provider registration.

In 2017 Parkinson’s NSW embarked on a journey to transform from being a not-for-profit enterprise to a ‘for-purpose’ business model in order to better respond to the needs and expectations of the 218,000 Australians who are living with Parkinson’s.

Becoming an approved NDIS provider became an important step in achieving this goal.

We began our NDIS provider registration journey in 2019 so that our organisation could continue to develop and deliver high quality, Parkinson’s-focused supports to people who are living with this disease – and their caregivers and families.

We found the NDIS journey challenging at the time as we came to understand the registration process, the increased quality and compliance requirements and how this fundamental change would forever change existing models for Disability Support in Australia to a new ‘customer’ driven paradigm.

We were particularly interested in understanding the impact on our governance and operational leadership and management processes as we transitioned to the NDIS environment.

The purpose of this Enhancing Service Provider Governance and Management in the NDIS Toolkit is to connect governance and executive management teams with resources and targeted information that will assist them succeed in NDIS business environment or in making their decision to become an approved NDIS provider.

Jo-Anne Reeves

Chief Executive Officer
Parkinson’s NSW

The primary purpose of the Enhancing Service Provider Governance and Management in the NDIS Toolkit is to support existing Disability Service providers and businesses that want to operate in the NDIS environment understand the implications of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) – and where necessary to
re-vision, innovate and transform how they do business in the NDIS market driven consumer focused environment.

It is about ensuring that boards and executives are well prepared to lead their organisations and businesses decisively through significant changes to the new NDIS paradigm.

This Toolkit is not an instructional guide about the essential fundamentals of governance or management. Instead, it is a resource for looking at governance and management through the lens of operating successfully in the different NDIS business environment.

The Kit contains resources (tools) that can assist boards and executive management teams navigate the huge internal and external challenges ahead arising from the introduction of the NDIS.

The external NDIS environment requires disability organisations to transform from being mission-driven charities to high functioning customer-centric businesses that are market (customer) driven.

Internal challenges that disability sector leaders may need to face may include up-skilling and re-tooling their practices and thinking about business processes, branding, marketing, IT, working collaboratively with other market players and creating long term financial sustainability in a market where NDIS service price caps are regulated.

The Toolkit can assist service provider leaders re-imagine and possibly shift their mission, core purpose and business systems to operate in the NDIS environment and thrive.

The introduction of the NDIS will create new and completely different service models and opportunities. The challenge for leaders is in recognising what has to be thought through, what has to be done and how is it done.

Such considered action will ensure that NDIS participants with an approved NDIS Plan will be able to access the quality individualised services of their choice from the providers they have chosen.

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The resourcing to develop this Toolkit was provided by grant funding from the Australian Government through the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Support for NDIS Providers Program.

The methodology used to research and create this Toolkit included:

  • Conducting an extensive literature review to identify and quality assure existing resources that could be referenced. Also, to identify academic literature relating to the implementation of the NDIS in Australia.
  • Researching current NDIS approved providers in NSW – both not-for-profit and for-profit organisations – and selectively approaching leadership representatives of those stakeholders to contribute to Focus Group work and interviews.
  • Analysing data collected about what challenges, concerns, interests, or technical enquiries the stakeholder group has in terms of supporting them to transition in an informed way into the NDIS (or not).
  • Convening a stakeholder working group to create the framework for the Toolkit.
  • Developing and trailing the Toolkit.
  • Continuously improving the Toolkit to ensure it is relevant and market ready.
  • Releasing the Toolkit to the sector upon grant completion.

The target audience for this Toolkit includes governing bodies, leaders, and executive managers.

Board members and executive level managers have an obligation to understand the implications of the NDIS reforms and ensure that their organisations are well prepared if they seek registration as an approved NDIS provider.

The NDIS introduces new responsibilities and additional demands on the skills, knowledge and capabilities of boards and senior managers and executives – the organisational leaders.

The introduction of the NDIS has triggered a total reinvention of the Australian Disability Sector, creating an increased need for NDIS knowledge and skill development for those who are responsible for governance and executive management.

This Kit has been designed as a resource to empower, inform, and guide those who are responsible for all aspects of governance and management irrespective of whether they are leading large non-profit organisations, for-profit organisations or operating large and small businesses enterprises. It aims to enhance governance and operational knowledge and practice.

The Toolkit can assist provider leadership bodies to lead and position their organisations in the new NDIS market-driven consumer demand business environment and to meet the rigorous standards of practice that are required by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (‘the Commission’) – the regulatory body that administers service provision by approved NDIS providers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act of 2013.

The Kit provides links to resources and information that can trigger new ideas and up-skill NDIS providers so they can robustly meet the conditions of NDIS registration and develop their unique NDIS business models.

Leaders at executive and strategic levels will benefit from this Kit in that it can develop their understanding of the new or different governance and operational strategies and systems that may need to be designed and implemented in their organisations in order to meet NDIS compliance standards.

Access the Toolkit and each of the separate tools contained within the Kit

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a major outcome of a paradigm shift in Australia’s response to guaranteeing the human rights of all people with disability.

The shift triggered a transition from the 1980s pre-NDIS National Disability Agreement (NDA) system of thinking and doing, to the new 2013 NDIS system of thinking and doing arising out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.

The NDIS is a fundamentally different market-driven system compared with the way Disability Services were provided in Australia before the enactment of the Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.

Facilitating this transition will be achieved by boards and management teams that are well placed to lead and implement change at all levels. The required changes are significant.

Some of the major challenges for boards and leadership teams to understand and succeed under the NDIS reforms are likely to include:

  • Understanding the NDIS system and the regulatory and compliance requirements that will ensure that the increased NDIS requirements for risk, quality and safeguarding management are met.
  • Understanding and working with the financial implications of the NDIS which in the case of not-for-profit organisations will likely create interruptions to income flow and possibly have an impact on financial sustainability. Effectively managing the transition in financial arrangements and mechanisms will be critical for some organisations to survive.
  • Recognising the new and different business approaches and systems that will need to be put in place to support working cost effectively and efficiently under the NDIS where there is price capping on payment for services.
  • Understanding that transitioning to the NDIS paradigm will require significant cultural and behavioural changes in the organisation. These are fundamental elements of the NDIS reforms as we move to a truly person-centred reality for people impacted by disability.
  • Significantly developing the capacity, skills, knowledge and understanding of boards and executive teams to lead their organisations through the transformational changes that will be required to succeed in the NDIS.

The Toolkit may also provide insights into what thinking, strategic planning and implementation may need to be planned and undertaken to support your organisation succeed in the NDIS.

Just a few of the areas for reflection and analysis in the context of the NDIS include but are not limited to:

  • Getting to grips with the NDIS system.
  • Being accountable in the NDIS.
  • Understanding the NDIS market.
  • Re-visiting what your organisation is all about.
  • Building your NDIS brand and your unique market.
  • Creating strategic partnerships and collaborations.
  • Customising/adapting your systems.
  • Planning for the future.

This Toolkit is in the form of a digital document that includes general information and links to a toolbox of resources or ‘tools’. The contents of this Kit are specifically aimed at extending the capacity and confidence of leaders of disability service providers to:

  • Gain an understanding of the NDIS and identify what it may mean for their future business operations as the transition to the NDIS rolls out.
  • Make informed decisions about whether seeking approved provider registration is the way to go for them.
  • Confidently lead their organisation or business as they enter or continue to operate in the NDIS environment.

Rather than separating resources for governance bodies such as boards from resources for executive management, the resources are integrated and can be selected individually for the purposes of providing training or information given that the focus of this Toolkit is about developing leadership talent in the NDIS context.

This Kit contains tools that you can adapt to meet the needs of your organisation and achieve its mission.

This Governance and Executive Management NDIS Resource Toolkit will navigate you through information and connect you with resources and information that may be useful and include:

  • Information
  • Factsheets, Guides, Handbooks.
  • Education resources.
  • Links to generic documents, templates and checklists that can be customised and adapted to meet need.
  • Hyperlinks to websites.
  • Hyperlinks to reputable YouTube clips.

The Kit also contains:

This Toolkit is divided into sections. Within each section, there are links to either external resources or to a checklist or a range of other resources. In some cases, the same resource is used in multiple locations where it is relevant to that topic.

The intended audience for this Toolkit is boards of governance or governance agents such as board directors who lead an enterprise at a strategic level – and executive management teams who lead and manage enterprises at a more operational level.

This Kit has not differentiated its approach to separately address the issues and concerns of both these groups.

Rather, the approach that has been taken by consensus from Focus Group input is to address this Toolkit to ‘leadership teams’ or ‘leadership bodies’ – being an inclusive group of both board representatives and management executives. The term will be used interchangeably throughout this Toolkit.

For other terms that may be used in the context of the NDIS, consult the Toolkit Glossary of Terms