Working towards co-design

NDIA Engagement Framework

As part of our commitment to strengthening our engagement with the disability community, we have developed the NDIA Engagement Framework. 

The NDIA Engagement Framework (DOCX 4.7MB) has been developed with disability sector representatives to guide, support and strengthen our engagement with the disability community now and into the future. 

The disability community has strongly encouraged us to take a ‘learn by doing’ approach when co-designing important NDIS projects or initiatives. This means we will continually review our approaches and this framework to make sure we engage in meaningful ways that deliver improved outcomes for people with disability.

As we learn by doing, we will also document and publish the processes and lessons we have learned in partnership with the disability community.

In the coming weeks and months, we will share more information about our priority co-design work and how NDIS participants and other stakeholders can get involved.

Co-design Steering Committees

We have established Co-design Steering Committees to provide strategic advice, governance and oversight for the co-design and development of four key policies:

  • Information Gathering for Access and Planning
  • Home and Living
  • Support for Decision Making
  • Participant Safety.

The Steering Committees include representatives from the NDIS Independent Advisory Council, Disability and Carer Representative Organisations, participants, Commonwealth agencies and states and territories. 

The Steering Committees will ensure the voices of people with disability are heard throughout the co-design process. 

In March 2022, three of the four steering committees met for the first time, and the Home and Living Steering Committee met for the second time. 
We are currently working with the Steering Committees on the development of a co-design activity schedule for each project. 
We will continue to provide regular progress updates on the co-design of these four policies. 

Information Gathering for Access and Planning 

The IGAP Steering Committee has made the decision to pause this project until the recommendations from the NDIS Review are received later this year. The pause will help ensure this project is responsive to the recommendations.

Home and Living 

We are developing a policy to support the delivery of contemporary and innovative home and living approaches that increase participant choice and control over where they live, who they live with, and their supports. 

In September 2021, we completed a 12 week national consultation to support the development of this policy.

Support for Decision Making 

We have co-designed a Supported Decision Making Policy.

The policy is about helping everyone understand what supported decision making is, and how we can better support people with disability to make decisions in the NDIS. This includes things like applying, setting goals and how to use the supports in participants’ plans.

We have worked with people with disability, their friends, families, carers and the disability community to develop this policy.

In 2021, more than 280 people and organisations provided their views on a consultation paper. Using this feedback, we partnered with Inclusion Australia to plan and run co-design workshops with people with disability, including people with complex communication access needs, First Nations people, and people from CALD backgrounds.

Learn more about the policy.

Participant Safety 

We have developed a Participant Safeguarding Policy.

The policy outlines our commitment to support people with disability who engage with the NDIS to create or expand safeguards to improve their safety and minimise the risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

More than 210 people with disability, families, carers and other representatives were involved in co-designing the Participant Safeguarding Policy.

Learn more about the policy.

Co-design workshops

In September 2021, the NDIA and key disability community stakeholders participated in two virtual co-design workshops.

The workshops brought together 27 Disability Representative and Carer Organisations (DRCOs), the NDIS Independent Advisory Council (the Council), the Department of Social Services (DSS), NDIA board members and senior executives. 

Former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes facilitated both workshops, supported by facilitators from the disability community.

Purpose of co-design workshops

The workshops were held following a decision by disability ministers in July 2021 to not proceed with the proposal for independent assessments.

The NDIA acted on advice from the Council to strengthen relationships and build trust with the disability sector, and respond to Terms of Engagement provided by the disability sector to Minister Reynolds in June 2021.

The workshops were an opportunity to develop a constructive working relationship between the NDIA, the Council and DRCOs and to begin co-design and priority issue discussions. 

Outcome of the co-design workshops

  1. Co-design advisory group established

The co-design workshops agreed to establish a new co-design advisory group, comprising four representatives from the Council, four representatives from the DRCOs, three representatives from the NDIA and one representative from DSS.  The first meeting of this new group is 15 October 2021. 

  1. Confirm co-design priority work

The new co-design advisory group will identify initial co-design priority work, for consideration by the broader disability sector.  The advisory group and the sector will also consider other work that would benefit from a strategic approach to stakeholder consultation and involvement.

  1. Information updates

The co-design advisory group will work towards a regular schedule to inform the disability community of co-design topics and progress, and advise consultation opportunities.

Co-design workshop Joint Statement

Following the workshops, the NDIA, the Council and DRCOs released a joint statement providing full details of the workshop discussions and outcomes.

Co-design workshop attendees

A combination of 27 selected disability representative and carer organisations, as well as the 13 members of the Council, came together to represent the interests of people with disability.

The Council was included in the workshops because:

  • Council has statutory role to advise the NDIA Board as outlined in the NDIS Act.
  • Appointed members have held roles within disability organisations and are highly respected voices within the disability sector.
  • Council's formal advice to the Board has previously had a positive impact on Agency policies, demonstrating its ability to influence effective outcomes for participants.

The 27 DRCOs were selected to participate for a number of reasons including:

  • Experience representing people with disability at the Australian Human Rights Commission and the United Nations.
  • Significant involvement in the formation of the NDIS and National Disability Strategy and contribution to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability.
  • Extensive knowledge on specific policies that affect people with a disability and expertise in accessible consultation and person-centred engagement.
  • Strong established connections to large networks of people with a disability across Australia.

Disability Representative and Carer Organisations (DRCOs)

The list below demonstrates the diversity of peak bodies included in the co-design workshop membership. 

  • Autism Alliance (Autism South Australia representative)
  • A4 Autism Asperger’s Advocacy Australia
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand (ASAN AUNZ)
  • Blind Citizens Australia
  • Brain Injury Australia
  • Carers Australia
  • Children & Young People with Disabilities Australia (CYDA)
  • Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA)
  • Deaf Australia
  • Deafblind Australia
  • Deafness Forum Australia
  • Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)
  • Down Syndrome Australia
  • Every Australian Counts
  • First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
  • Inclusion Australia
  • JFA Purple Orange
  • National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum
  • Mental Health Australia
  • National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
  • People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
  • Physical Disability Australia
  • ReImagine Australia
  • Self-Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU)
  • Women with Disabilities Australia
  • Young People in Nursing Homes Alliance

More information

See our working towards co-design frequently asked questions for more information.

This page current as of
14 July 2023
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