IAC in focus: the NDIS Independent Advisory Council (IAC) is helping to improve the NDIS for people with psychosocial disability
This is the first article in our 'IAC in focus' series of articles which will cover the important work of the NDIS Independent Advisory Council (IAC).
The IAC is an independent group of disability experts that give the NDIS advice from the perspectives of people with disability, family and carers and service providers. They think the NDIS could be better for people with psychosocial disability and have some ideas about how that could happen.
What is the IAC?
The Independent Advisory Council (IAC) is very important to the NDIS. It is an independent group of disability experts made up of people with disabilities, carers and service providers. This group gives the NDIS advice on how to make the NDIS as good as possible.
What has the IAC been doing?
The IAC thinks the NDIS should do more to improve the lives of people with psychosocial disability. They want the NDIS to make it easier for people with psychosocial disability to move to the NDIS from the current disability services they are using. This will need careful planning, and the IAC recommends the NDIS develops an ‘NDIS Mental Health Implementation Plan’.
The NDIA Mental Health Work Plan
The ‘NDIS Mental Health Implementation Plan’ will build on the existing NDIA Mental Health Work Plan to create a five-year plan that explains how the NDIS will work better for people with psychosocial disability. The IAC thinks the NDIS should report to the NDIS Board every year on the progress of the NDIA Mental Health Work Plan.
The NDIS will work to fix some of its problems
The NDIS said some parts of its design did not result in the best outcome for people with psychosocial disability. The NDIS also said there were problems with how well they supported people who worked in the mental health sector. This is why the NDIS has committed to improving their guidelines relating to mental illness.
The IAC thinks many of the problems with psychosocial disability and the NDIS can be improved by forming a team of specialist mental health workers at the NDIS National Office. The NDIS plans to do what the IAC recommends.
The NDIS has chosen to work on some important issues identified by the IAC. The NDIS will focus on the following issues the IAC believes should be in the five-year NDIA Mental Health Work Plan:
- Work out what a severe and permanent disability is regarding mental illness
- Develop a consistent, national approach to reasonable and necessary supports for psychosocial disability
- Work to better predict the demand for psychosocial disability support
- Improve funding of mental health specific support items in relation to the NDIS
- Include capacity building activities (and other considerations) of mental health in the activities of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) policy
The Mental Health Sector Reference Group
The Mental Health Sector Reference Group was established in 2014 to allow the mental health sector and the NDIS to work together. Two members of this group are on the IAC, and the Mental Health Sector Reference Group is helping work on the NDIA Mental Health Work Plan.
Why is all of this important?
Many people have felt that the NDIS has not done enough to help people with mental illness and psychosocial disability. Listening to the voices of people with disability is very important. Many members of the IAC have disability themselves, and others have lived experience, or professional experience with disability.
News that the NDIS is listening to the IAC shows that the NDIS is willing to make changes to improve the lives of people with disability in Australia.
You can learn more about the Independent Advisory Council here.