The National Institute of Labour Studies (NILS) at Flinders University is leading a team of researchers, academics and disability experts that has been commissioned by the Australian Government to evaluate the roll out of the new national disability insurance scheme, DisabilityCare Australia.
Through DisabilityCare Australia, people with significant and permanent disability will be able to access lifetime support, and have choice and control over their supports to maximise their wellbeing and independence. DisabilityCare Australia will include early intervention and will also provide connections, information and referral.
DisabilityCare Australia was launched on 1 July 2013 in South Australia and Tasmania, the Hunter in New South Wales and the Barwon region of Victoria. It will launch in the Australian Capital Territory and the Barkly region in Northern Territory on 1 July 2014.
The NILS-led team will monitor and evaluate the experience of participants, their families and carers, service providers and the disability sector workforces in South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT, over the first three years.
Evaluation findings will help to inform the future rollout of DisabilityCare Australia. People will be gradually transitioned into DisabilityCare Australia to ensure that everyone who is able to access the scheme is properly supported, and that insights from the experiences of the launch sites are adopted before the scheme is rolled out nationally.
“The project is large, complex and challenging. It requires a set of high level and complementary skills and experience in disability research, data collection and analysis and engagement with the sector. These skills are reflected in the highly talented, multidisciplinary team from Australia and overseas that NILS have put together,” said Professor Kostas Mavromaras, the Director of NILS.
“The evaluation will involve extensive consultation with key stakeholders including people with disability, their families and carers, state and territory governments, and disability sector representatives.
“The initial phase of the review is to benchmark current supports so that meaningful comparisons can then be made with the changes introduced under the new system over the following three years. It will involve quantitative surveys of participants, their families and carers, of service providers and their workforces, and of selected mainstream providers of services that include people with disability (including education and health). Together, the consultations and quantitative data will provide evidence on what is working and what can be done better.”
Professor Mavromaras said for an evaluation of this type to be meaningful and become useful, it must have participation of all key stakeholders at the top of its design.
“Our project has been designed to ensure that all voices are heard, especially those that run a high risk of not being heard in the context of complex policy design and implementation,” he said.
“We have people with a deep knowledge and experience of disability in our team, which also includes experts in data collection and evaluation, to guarantee that participatory involvement will be of the highest standard.
“The NILS team and our partners are delighted to have been selected to carry out this evaluation and feel the heavy social responsibility that this important work entails.”
The consortium, led by the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University, includes the Social Research Centre and Iview (survey companies based in Melbourne), the Disability and Community Inclusion Unit of Flinders University, the Indigenous research and consultation group Cultural Partners, and individual disability and evaluation experts, including from La Trobe University, and the Universities of Sydney, Nottingham (UK), Baltimore and Michigan (US).
This research has been commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.