How can NFPs prepare their technology and culture for NDIS?

03 August 2015

David Andrews, Strategy & Transformation Lead at BDO Brisbane |

To prepare for NDIS, not-for-profit organisations need to make cultural changes and utilise technology strategically. Here are a few ideas to get started.

With the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) gradually rolling out across Australia, not-for-profits that provide disability services will need to drastically change the way they operate.

In addition to evaluating what the shift will mean for their finances, charities need to assess how their operations must change to succeed in the newly competitive landscape and, for some, to accommodate the growing demand for services.

It will take several years for the scheme to be fully implemented, but the not-for-profits that survive will be those that initiate new processes and invest in the right technology from the very beginning. Which strategies should your NFP consider?

Navigating cultural shifts

The change from a grant-based system to a more individualised process will require a cultural shift for many not-for-profits. Whereas in the past they could offer their services at low or no cost to their clients, relying on block funding, they now need to attract patients who have individual control over their personal disability services budgets. 

That means not-for-profits should evaluate their marketing efforts and pay greater attention to customer service, improving efficiency and ensuring the support they provide fits their clientele's needs. 

From a staff perspective, this could mean shifting to a commercial mindset. This includes activities such as better understanding the way the NDIS funding works and knowing which services are applicable so they can make recommendations to clients.

While staff will need to assist with efforts to bring in business, this can be done in a way that retains the more consultative, not-for-profit feel that characterises their organisations.

In some cases, if the charity needs to alter or redefine their services offerings, staff may need to learn new roles and assist in thinking differently about programs that don't fall into the disability category, such as respite.

Implementing the right technology

In addition to a cultural shift, organisations will need to invest wisely in the right kind of technology to support greater operational efficiency and streamline paperwork processes.

Notably, the NDIS includes changes to invoicing and reporting, and these transitions will ultimately increase the complexity for administrative staff. Not only do they need to invoice different parts of the government, they also need to bill for each service separately, similar to the healthcare model. Having a program - or outsourcing arrangement - that make it easier to file the necessary paperwork will reduce the pressure on staff while helping the organisation operate more effectively. 

The right system will also facilitate rapid, accurate quotes for services, taking into consideration the official price lists from the NDIS. This, in turn, may help attract clients. Data about pricing, costs to the organisation and demand could also be used to drive strategic decisions. 

Similarly, technology that matches staff to patients could lead to better, more efficient care, while digital information can also be leveraged to provide more holistic, allied health care for clients.

These efforts will be all the more important as rising demand puts greater pressure on the sector: According to CPL, about 45,000 Australians currently receive disability aid in Queensland alone, with this number projected to double by July 1, 2019.

To accommodate the growing need for services while overcoming the challenges brought by NDIS, charities should put processes in place now that will set them up for success.

Is the sector ready for these changes in July 2016?

BDO are committed to helping the sector prepare for the scheme, particularly with well-defined transformational strategies and change management.

I'd like to offer you a complimentary discussion session with our Consulting team. This session can assist in helping you review, prepare or refine your transition and change management strategy.

Please connect / inbox me if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to discuss your NDIS plan.

I welcome your NDIS comments below and how you are overcoming the NDIS challenges and identifying opportunities.