Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe today released a report into the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) handling of reviews of decisions under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013. The report discusses systemic issues highlighted by complaints and stakeholder feedback including significant backlogs, delays in decision making and poor communication practices.

In releasing the report, Mr Manthorpe acknowledged the considerable pressure the NDIA has been under to meet bilateral targets since the national rollout of the NDIS, which began in July 2016. However, the Ombudsman stressed this must not be used as a reason to deprioritise or delay other work, including reviews.

“It is clear from this report there are a number of areas in which the NDIA can, and should improve its administration of participant-initiated reviews. Without significant efforts to improve the timeliness of its approach and its communication with participants, there remains a risk that participants’ rights to review will be challenged and the review process will continue to be unwieldy, unapproachable and the driver of complaint volumes.” Mr Manthorpe said.

Since mid-2016, complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the NDIA’s review process have represented around 32 per cent of all NDIA complaints.

The report makes 20 recommendations aimed at improving the NDIA’s administration of reviews, all of which were accepted by the NDIA. The Ombudsman’s Office will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations in the report, which is available here.