August 6, 2018

Coordinated Disability Care is at Risk, as Collaboration gives way to Competition in the NDIS

Collaboration and the establishment of networks are vitally important yet are at risk of being compromised as service providers adjust to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), says a new report released today by the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW Sydney (CSI UNSW): Competition and collaboration between service providers in the NDIS.

In areas of health and social care such as disability services, providers and professionals need to provide coordinated care for people with complex conditions, irrespective of funding arrangements. This is proving to provide fertile ground for competitive behaviour, and creates a risk that care coordination will be diminished, as collaborative efforts cannot be factored into personalised budgets, and are therefore no longer funded.

Associate Professor Gemma Carey, Research Director at CSI UNSW and report author said: “Trust and information sharing are integral to many collaborative arrangements and critical for high performing service providers. Yet competition can have the effect of reducing cooperation and trust between organisations. As service providers in our study identified, sharing information has the potential to reduce an organisation’s competitive edge and viability. This has the potential to significantly impact not only the way care is coordinated, but the quality of care that the individual receives.”

In the disability sector care co-ordination refers to the communication that happens between service providers, carers and people with disability about care for a particular person, for example between a home care provider and a daily care provider that facilitates community development activities such as taking a walk, going to see a movie or gardening.

As the NDIS is rolled out, we need to understand the impact that introducing a market based competitive environment may have on collaboration and collegiately between service providers and the flow on effects for people with a disability and their families.

This report aims to address that gap, and is part of a broader program of work on the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The report can be found online at


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