More than 1 in 5 people in South Australians live with a disability. For our state to be a great place to live for South Australians with a disability requires that they have access to the services and supports that meet their wants and needs. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) promises to make this possible for the first time by giving people with disabilities choice and control over services through a consumer directed funding model.

However, choice and control alone are insufficient, if the services on offer don’t meet the wants and needs of people with disabilities, or those services go out of business because they do not have a viable business model under the NDIS. Historically, because of over subscription to models, service providers have focused on meeting people’s basic needs rather than their aspirational goals.

The advent of the NDIS, and the shift away from grant funding is forcing service providers to change quickly. They need to develop services that are attractive to people with disabilities, and to change their business model so they can thrive in a consumer directed environment. The service providers we’ve met welcome this challenge. Many have campaigned for this for years, but there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what the NDIS will mean practically for service providers, and how they can best embrace the potential of a consumer directed model.

We are excited to have the opportunity to explore this challenge hand-in-hand with local service providers thanks to the support of the Fay Fuller Foundation.

We will be working with 20 South Australian organisations directly affected by the changes along with our partners The Difference Incubator (TDi), and co-designing a capacity-building support model which will then be implemented and tested with four organisations. We will seek to understand what support they need to be successful under the new NDIS, what success looks like for capability building and how they can best maximise positive impacts for people with a disability.

To help us from falling into the trap of jumping right to an untested solution at TACSI we always frame projects with a question, and the question guides the project. The question we are exploring with this new partnership is

“What does it mean to be NDIS ready?”

Chris Vanstone, Director of Co-Design at TACSI who is leading this work, said of the partnership that “Foundations often want to know exactly what it is they are going to get for the money they invest. There are only a rare few who are willing to engage with innovation and invest in exploring new territory. With the support of the Fay Fuller Foundation we hope to do just that – to find out what NGO service providers really need to make the most of the NDIS and improve outcomes for people with disabilities.”

We’re very excited to form this new partnership with a passionate foundation in our home state and to show off the power of philanthropy backing innovation design. The Fay Fuller Foundation are committed to improving the health and wellbeing in South Australia and we’re delighted to be working with them to help to do that.

We’re also proud to be working in partnership with The Difference Incubator, who will bring their expertise in business models and scalable social enterprise to the table.

The NDIS is itself an example of social innovation as it re-wires the disability support sector, creating a huge need for further innovation from the service providers themselves to thrive in this new environment. We are glad for the opportunity to help local organisations rise to that challenge ad to create a toolkit which can then be used right across Australia.

Ultimately, this project is about helping service providers make the most of the opportunity the NDIS creates and provide the greatest benefits for people with disabilities themselves to live meaningful, independent lives.

Are you a South Australian-based disability services organisation who needs to become NDIS-ready? Book now for a free 1:1 consultation with us and The Difference Incubator!