1. The Principles of Choice
2. A Guide for People with a Disability, their Family Carers, Friends and Advocates
3. A Guide for Disability Support Providers
4. Film and Discussion Guide
5. A Knowledge Review
Choice plays a central role in the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s future. This is clear from the work first proposed by the Productivity Commission, whose report (2011) states that the system “would shift from block funding and a service-centred model to one in which people with disabilities and their carers would wield the greatest control, whether that be to cash out their package, or to have it met in flexible ways by providers. Under any arrangement, people could choose their providers, which would have to conform to common quality standards, compete on a competitively neutral basis and be remunerated using efficient prices. Informed choice would be supported by providing nationally consistent and publicly available measures of the performance of service providers.” (p15)
This sentiment is refined in the objects of the NDIS Act (2013), which highlights that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is to “enable people with disability to exercise choice and control in the pursuit of their goals and the planning and delivery of their supports”. The rules of the National Disability Insurance Scheme give further weight to this objective by stating that “choice and control for people with disability is central to the NDIS” and further highlights that people with a disability have the right to make their own decisions about the type of supports and services they use; who provides them; how services are designed and provided; and how supports and the funding of these supports should be managed. It is at the very heart of ideas around personalised services and individualised funding.
However, we are aware that Individual choice is a comfort term. It can easily feature in company vision statements, policy documents and in practice-based resources without contention. Yet as a practical task it is far from easy to implement. It suffers a number of philosophical, theoretical, practical and organisational problems. We believe it is important to try and resolve these and other issues if choice is to be successfully and honestly operationalized within the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
We are therefore pleased to offer the following toolkit, developed in partnership with RMIT University, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The opinions, comments and/or analysis expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Minister for Social Services and cannot be taken in any way as expressions of government policy.