IIE’s NDIS Transition

Interchange Inner East’s (IIE) Board, management, staff and volunteers have one goal when it comes to the implementation of the NDIS. That is to maintain the high level of innovative quality respite and recreational options for our participants and families, offered in a meaningful user-friendly way. Our aim in fact is to achieve our vision of “strengthening participants & families through valued experiences”.

Interchange Inner East is now a registered provider for the provision of services under the NDIS. Interchange Inner East is included in the roll out of the NDIS in the eastern region of Victoria from November 2017. Much preparation has been undertaken at IIE to ensure all necessary foundational systems and processes are firmly established to interface with the NDIS systems and processes. This has meant continued changes to the way we need to work to prepare both you, our valued clients and our staff for successful integration into the NDIS framework.

During implementation of these revised systems, IIE remains vigilant in refining our administrative and operational systems from an efficiency and ease of access perspective. Examples of processes already implemented include retrospective invoicing for activities, preference-based participation in recreational options and hourly allocations of block funded respite funding being translated into dollars to be spent by individual families.

Interchange families are provided with regular opportunities to attend NDIS education sessions and forums facilitated internally by IIE and promoted via community opportunities for information, education & training in NDIS. We always focus on key NDIS issues at our Annual General Meeting (AGM). We advocate for funding for respite and the continuance of Interchange model of service. We value and forge a range of strategic alliances and partnerships with community & sector providers, service clubs, volunteers to enrich opportunities for our families and participants.

Interchange staff attend NDIS workshops and forums to ensure they understand the scheme so they can support our families as the roll out is undertaken. Casual Support Staff receive training and information through regular communication and team meetings conducted across the year. IIE believes that an informed community of participants, families, staff & volunteers will be a well supported community capable of maximizing the opportunities that the NDIS represents.

Both the Board President, Dr Michael Summers and EO Marie Lugg have actively lobbied for the inclusion of funding for volunteer co-ordination in the second tier of the NDIS – Information, Learning and Capacity Building (ILC) to ensure that valued volunteer programs such as the host program are sustained in the new environment. Marie Lugg & Dr Summers similarly lodged a Submission to the Productivity Commission and the McKinsey Price Review highlighting potential market problems linked to inadequate 1:1 support in the home Unit cost Pricing, impoverished NDIS planning around complexity for families, workforce incapacity to meet demand, and tensions around the proposed rollout deadline as being unrealistic and unachievable in the context of presenting issues for NDIS. Marie Lugg (EO) and Travis Van Den Berg ( General Services Manager) have represented IIE on the Board of Interchange Incorporated, the membership body for all Interchange agencies.

This body is actively engaged with government and sector leaders, lobbying on your behalf in a strategic and broad based advocacy capacity with other disability providers, committed to best outcomes for our participants and families.

Families are encouraged and supported to lobby their local political Ministers to raise awareness of the importance of timely respite and the value of programs such as HOST in providing families with unique quality of life experiences.

One concerned host families’ letter to Josh Frydenberg made its way to the desk of the ILC NDIS Director in Canberra who called Interchange Inner East’s EO Marie Lugg directly to invite us to participate in a round table advocacy forum regarding volunteer services under the NDIS. That is the “power of the pen”!