This report was commissioned by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services to inform mechanisms that will optimise utilisation of NDIS packages. The report examines schemes, nationally and internationally, with similar features to the NDIS in order to:
- Identify budget expenditure levels and influences on expenditure in other models
- Identify potential interventions to optimise budget utilisation to reflect needs and choices of NDIS participants
- Explore whether similar systems operate a benchmark level for individual budget utilisation and what an appropriate level might be.
In this report, a utilisation rate refers to a comparison of the monetary value of individual budgets allocated against the budget expended. The term individualised funding is used to describe models of funding deployed via direct payment to an individual or through an intermediary that allow an individual to make choices about expenditure to meet their needs.
The research that informs this report is based on a desktop review of relevant literature and interviews with national and international experts. The literature review involved a search of peer reviewed literature, as well as focussed reviews of grey literature and follow up contact with relevant organisations, where able, for additional data. Interviews were conducted with seven international experts exploring what utilisation rates different systems experience, whether targets are used around utilisation rates and how different systems have sought to shift utilisation rates.
This data identifies a range of different national and international individual funding schemes. Some of these have comparable features to the NDIS, but there are also some important differences meaning that we need to take care in drawing lessons from these.