Update about Independent Assessments for Access to the NDIS and Plan Reviews

As members are aware, the Association was involved in a project coordinated by Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA), to consider the credentialing, training and quality assurance aspects of the Independent Assessor role. This project was funded by the NDIS, and the final report was submitted in September 2020.

To date, the report has not been made public, and there has not been a formal response to this report by the NDIS. Despite this, jobs for Independent Assessors were advertised to commence in mid 2021 without a detailed position description available.

The Association has been involved in a number of consultations about the Independent Assessment process since early 2021, both with disability sector, and members. View the submissions. There has been recent media interest in the Joint Standing Committee Inquiry and the number of submissions received regarding the Independent Assessment Process.

As a result of this sector wide advocacy, a pause on Independent Assessments was announced in April 2021, by the new NDIS minister Linda Reynolds. This pause will last until the second pilot phase for Independent Assessments has been completed, and Senator Reynolds has consulted with the sector, but the process is likely to go ahead in some form this year.

The Association would like to sincerely thank members who have contributed their time to attend focus groups, write case study illustrations, provide alternative assessment suggestions via phone interview or Facebook groups, complete surveys, send emails, and in particular members of the NDIS advisory group for their invaluable input.

On Wednesday 16 June, AHPA met with Linda Reynolds, and the Association was one of the peak bodies attending the meeting. The Association also secured an additional time with Senator Reynold’s team next week to ask for further genuine consultation with peak bodies and people with disability about the Independent Assessment process and next steps.

For those members interested in reading alternative models of functional assessment being considered by the Disability Sector, Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM and Occupational Therapy Australia have proposed other methods.