Changes to DHS disability services
The frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this page give general information about changes to disability services delivered by the Department of Human Services (previously DCSI), in response to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
What is the NDIS?
What does the NDIS mean for South Australia?
The increased demand will mean that a bigger disability workforce is needed, ready to support the thousands of extra South Australians with disability who will receive services under the NDIS. Employment in the sector is forecast to increase to 12,550 jobs by the time the NDIS is fully implemented (an increase of more than 6,000 jobs).
When will the NDIS be rolled out in South Australia?
The NDIS is being rolled out in South Australia in phases. Eligible South Australians will enter the scheme depending on their age or where they live. For full details of how the NDIS will be rolled out in South Australia, visit www.ndis.gov.au
How does the NDIS change the way disability services are funded in South Australia?
Under the NDIS, people will have individual budgets for their services and more choice and control over the supports they receive.
This is a positive change to the way services have been planned and delivered in the past. Until now, people with disability in South Australia receive services from government and non-government organisations, funded by the Commonwealth and State Government. Most of the funding has been delivered in ‘block’ grants, allocated for a number of people with disability.
How will Department's services for people with disability change under the NDIS?
Under the NDIS, the management of some State Government disability services will be moved to non-government management. This will happen over the next few years. Specialist disability accommodation services will remain in government but will move to operate on a commercial basis.
We will be talking with people who receive affected services, their carers and our staff about the best way to respond to the NDIS and any future changes will be made together in a smooth and planned way.
Why move some DHS disability services to non-government management?
The department’s services were developed at a time when State Government was the funder and main provider of services. Our services were not designed to be provided under the new national model where clients receive individual supports and can choose their provider.
This decision allows the department to gradually move management of services to the non-government sector, and services can be re-designed to work under the new funding arrangements.
What is happening in group homes?
In supported community accommodation services (group homes), where people with disability have round-the-clock support, the State Government will continue providing services.
This will give extra stability to the people with disability who live in supported community accommodation, because during this period of change under the NDIS, we don’t want to change where people live. The arrangement will help maintain essential support relationships between staff and residents – who will be able to stay in their current homes with their existing support workers, if they choose.
Why will some services move to non-government management?
The Commonwealth has changed the way disability services are funded and delivered and the State Government’s role in the longer term will change from service provider and funder to disability service regulator and advocate.
Any move to non-government management will only happen if service and safety standards are met and new arrangements are fair for the department’s skilled and experienced employees, including in regional areas where the department may currently be the only service provider.
How will the changes at DHS affect staff?
These changes affect DHS’s disability staff. The State Government will work closely with staff and unions to minimise the impact and protect their working terms and conditions as far as practicable.
Will people be consulted?
Yes. We will talk with clients, their carers and support workers as we plan any future moves to non-government services together.
We will also be talking with people who receive affected services, their carers and our staff about the best way to adapt to the NDIS. Any future changes will be made together in a smooth and planned way. We will write to all people affected by these changes.
Do non-government services deliver quality support for people with disability?
Yes. Non-government organisations (NGOs) have had an increasing role in providing disability services in recent years. Some NGOs have been providing high quality, specialised disability services to South Australians for more than a century.
NGOs will have to maintain the same quality assurance and safeguarding standards as the government and provide a range of services from community support to accommodation services for people with high and complex needs.
We will be talking with people who receive affected services, their carers and our staff about the best way to adapt to the changes in funding and any future changes will be made together.
How will the State Government support South Australians with disability in the future?
While in the longer term the department will no longer provide some direct services, the State Government will continue to play an important role in supporting people with disability.
It will contribute more than $720 million a year to help fund the NDIS and continue to lead the community in better including South Australians with disability. The State Government has a vital role to play in the lives of its citizens with disability, in regulating services (with screening checks), in advocating for people with disability and has a stake in the success of the NDIS in the state. It will also continue to support people with disability in education, training, healthcare and transport. Better access to these services enables people with disability to participate in our community, just like everyone else.
What are other Australian Governments doing?
All states and territories have committed to the NDIS.
The State Governments of Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory no longer provide direct disability services. In New South Wales, all disability services are being moved to non-government management and in Victoria, some of the disability services provided by government are being moved to non-government management.