AFI is a national systemic body representing people with disabilities in the ACT. AFI in this role undertakes systemic advocacy and provide expert policy advice on issues affecting people with disabilities through our individual advocacy client and membership base in the ACT. We are one of the two1 individual advocacy organisations that are funded to provide NDIS Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) support in the ACT.
Since the introduction of this additional funding on top of advocacy provided, AFI has mapped a steady increase in the numbers of plan reviews that lead to AAT reviews over time. We also find that many of these cases are preventable and could be resolved at an easier pace under the new Participant Service Guarantee (‘the Guarantee’).
AFI welcomes the updated proposed principles. From an advocacy perspective, we have found they have not been practised from what has been promised and are often contradiction in delivery. The philosophy that underpins the NDIS has been based on trust that participants and their supports will use their packages to live fulfilling lives, build capacity and self-advocacy skills and be part of the broader community through participation and engagement. Instead, our clients have faced a system that is legalistic, incoherent, inconsistent and dysfunction in its operational functions at best. At best, the principles are to reach a standard where a majority of participants are happy with their plans, treatment in applying and being eligible for plans and their request for change. We welcome the proposed principles to be part of the Guarantee and believe they are all important for the NDIA to adhere to. In response to the key discussion questions, this section will list individually each proposed principle in response to how they are currently falling short.