Vic concerns over lack of NDIS complaints
The state Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) has tabled his 2017 annual report in Victorian Parliament with statistics and information about complaints and serious incidents that occur in disability services.
The report found there had been an increase in the number of NDIS-related enquiries and complaints from Victorians with a disability in the past year, up from 12 complaints in 2015-16 to 124 enquiries and complaints in 2016-17.
But commissioner Laurie Harkin AM said while it may seem like a large number, he was concerned they were “not seeing enough complaints” from the 15,000 Victorians with a disability who transitioned to the NDIS in the first full year of the roll out.
“We know anecdotally that many people have been unhappy with their NDIS planning process and with the way their plans have been delivered by their chosen disability services. Yet, we hear that people don’t know where to turn to for help, advice, and a resolution of their complaint,” Harkin said.
According to the report the DSC, an independent oversight body for the Victorian disability services sector, handled 1,213 enquiries and complaints in 2016-17, with a significant increase in concerns about quality of service (69 per cent in 2016-17 compared to 48 per cent in 2015-16).
Included in this 124 enquiries and complaints were related to NDIS-funded supports, including the NDIS planning process.
The report also highlighted 16 investigations were finalised in 2016-17, with the original complaints relating mainly to assault, abuse or neglect and 1,060 critical incident reports were reviewed in 2016-17, with 43 per cent relating to allegations of physical assault, 28 per cent relating to injury, 18 per cent relating to allegations of sexual assault, and 11 per cent relating to poor quality of care.
DSC capacity development manager Anthony Kolmus told Pro Bono News for the most part, the data collected “pretty much followed the pattern” expected, but they had anticipated more complaints and enquiries about the NDIS.
“We’re really supportive of the NDIS and we think it will ultimately be a really huge step forward for the sector but it is a huge undertaking, it is a really complex undertaking, and they are on some pretty tight timelines,” Kolmus said.
“I think we’ve all heard stories about some of the difficulties they [the NDIA] have experienced and that people have experienced with the planning process in particular and with that alone we probably expected to receive more enquiries and/or complaints.”
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