We are implementing the following three changes on 19 April 2022.
- a simplified weekly claiming process making it easier for participants to negotiate directly with providers about how their supports are delivered and reduce administrative burden
- payments in limited circumstances where a participant unexpectedly leaves shared accommodation, and
- clear and transparent processes when SIL support needs and funding levels change significantly. To provide certainty on transition periods, we will introduce a period of time so a participant can safety transition and standards of care can be met when new support arrangements are put in place.
Through our conversations with key stakeholders, we identified short and medium term improvements we can make to SIL.
Over the coming months we will progressively release these improvements to make SIL better.
Providers and participants told us about key pressures they have managing SIL supports. In response we are implementing the following actions.
In addition to the improvements above, we will progressively:
- make specific improvements to Agency processes for consistency and timeliness of home and living decisions for participants
- improve our decision letters to better explain the reason for our decisions
- publish a timeliness metric specific to home and living decisions
- provide a point of contact to explain home and living funding decisions to participants who want more information
- ensure continuity of SIL funding levels where circumstances haven’t changed providing greater certainty over available supports
- improve communication and information on our website.
These improvements don’t change the SIL operational guidelines or the fundamentals of SIL decision making however they address:
- a number of the practical and administrative concerns participants and providers have raised with us
- provide participants and providers with certainty over timeframes where transition to new support arrangements are required
- provide a period of continuity of shared supports where a participant unexpectedly exits/leaves a service.
These improvements are reducing red tape and making it easier for SIL providers to do their job of supporting participants.
The challenges and improvements so far
While SIL has helped some participants to pursue their home and living goals, many stakeholders have told us some SIL arrangements are based on the state-system model of shared supports and are no longer fit-for-purpose.
A number of challenges remain:
- SIL funding is not always well understood
- participants do not always have a say over how their supports are delivered
- participants need to get value for money from their plan funding
- the SIL process is administratively complex and limits opportunities for innovation
- the rapid escalation in SIL costs is impacting Scheme sustainability.
Since 2020, we have implemented a number of actions to:
- limit plan inflation through defined SIL price limits
- reduce administrative complexity through changes in the review and assessment of NDIS participants with SIL supports in their plans; and
- simplify SIL processes and clarify decision making through updates to our SIL guideline and provider guidance.
We know there is still more work to do to ensure better outcomes for participants receiving SIL supports, and also address the issues of SIL providers.
Why are we making SIL better?
We spoke with participants, families and carers as well as providers, key sector groups and other stakeholders to learn how we can make SIL better.
We were told:
- processes, systems and tools are hard to use, and communication is often inadequate
- vacancies have implications for service provision
- plan changes have significant impacts on participants and providers with limited transition time
- funding model is not clear and the co-design of the Home and Living policy will take time.
We want to improve SIL and deliver on the Participant Service Charter, the Participant Service Guarantee and the Participant Service Improvement Plan.
Specifically, we want to improve the way participants and providers get information from us and ensure:
- our guidelines come with plain English descriptions and more examples
- documents use consistent terms and definitions with less jargon
- we are clearer on what reasonable and necessary supports means, with case studies and examples.