Sometimes we get complacent about things, no matter what they are. The NDIS is no exception. It only started rolling out in 2016. It’s an incredibly complicated and it affects people so very personally. Any piece of legislation is complex, but here is one that affects people who need our help and support. Quite often they are people in difficult circumstances, with no well-funded lobby groups to argue their case. It is legislation, backed up by a set of rules and practices, a brand-new government agency and it’s all very young. Sometimes it is no wonder that things go wrong, although if we look on the bright side it is amazing that more things haven’t gone wrong.
Well done Australia.
And yet despite the well achievement, does it mean we can rest easy? No, it doesn’t. Because everything that needs improving is something that is affecting peoples’ lives.
As a service provider, we become accustomed to all the little intricacies of the NDIS. The payment system has failed twice in the last 2 weeks - so payments made were not being notified and people thought they had not received their funds, when in fact they might. Or the fact that if you are too good with computers and log in very quickly then the NDIS portal will show you an error message which is difficult to resolve. Indeed, to return to the first paragraph, when you deal with something every day then it is easy to become complacent.
But that’s what drives us, because there really is nothing to be complacent about. Every time we explain the system to someone new, or find a new way to overcome an obstacle, there’s a sense of realisation that this is complicated, and we need to treat everyone with dignity and respect, as an individual. Not to prejudge or assume anything.
The world needs providers, like us, to be the force to make it happen. We hear so many sad stories, and it sometimes has a bad reputation, but it really isn’t that bad. Many of the problems we hear about are largely avoidable if providers took the time to:
learn about their participants
learn the systems
understand the nature of disability
learn the rules
apply the rules well.
It’s not so bad. You just need a good provider to accompany you on your journey. Because this is a journey and we will walk it together.