Referral of inquiry and terms of reference
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme
(NDIS) was established on 1 September 2016. The committee is composed of five members
and five senators.
The committee is tasked with inquiring into:
- the implementation, performance and governance of the NDIS;
the administration and expenditure of the NDIS; and
such other matters in relation to the NDIS as may be referred to it by
either House of the Parliament.
After 30 June each year, the committee is required to present an annual
report to the Parliament on the activities of the committee during the year, in
addition to other reports on any other matters it considers relevant.
The committee is also able to inquire into specific aspects of the
Scheme. On 15 August 2018, the committee decided to undertake an inquiry into
the ICT infrastructure employed by the NDIA, with particular reference to:
- participant and provider experiences of the MyPlace Portal;
the impact of the role of other Government agencies on the ICT
the appropriateness of the MyPlace Portal and agency facing IT systems;
the impact of ICT infrastructure on the implementation of the NDIS; and
any other related matters
Structure of the report
This report is comprised of two chapters, as follows:
Chapter 1 outlines the administration and context of the inquiry
and provides some background information about the NDIS ICT infrastructure; and
Chapter 2 examines two key functions of NDIS ICT systems
essential to the efficient implementation of the Scheme: the enabling of
effective communication and provision of information, and the facilitation of
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee received 31 submissions to the inquiry from individuals
and organisations. These submissions are listed in Appendix 1.
Submissions and answers to questions on notice are available on the
Note on terminology and references
References to submissions in this report are to individual submissions
received by the committee and published on the committee's website.
The committee would like to thank the individuals and organisations that
made written submissions to this inquiry. We are grateful for their time and
Development of the ICT system
From 2013 to 30 June 2016, during the NDIS trials, the NDIS was
supported by an interim Siebel based ICT system managed by the Department of
Social Services (DSS). The system was designed to support around 30 000
participants and not easily scalable to support the full scheme.
From 2015–16, the Australian Government committed $143 million over four
years to develop a new system, with the Department of Human Services (DHS)
managing its implementation and integration. DHS was established as the systems
integrator to the NDIA for both initial capability development and ongoing
operational management of ICT services.
The NDIA, in co-operation with DHS and DSS, developed the new ICT system
which is expected to support approximately 460 000 participants and 20 million
payment transactions per annum at full Scheme.
Given the compressed timeframe to support initial build activities, DHS
delivered a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) consistent with global industry
According to DHS, the system was built and tested to specification and no
technical issues were identified with the system at full scheme launch.
The new system was implemented from 1 July 2016 to coincide with the
transition to full Scheme. The old portal closed on 16 June 2016 in preparation
for the transition, and participants and providers were unable to make payments
until the new portal, known as 'MyPlace', went live.
Issues with MyPlace portal
On 1 July 2016, the NDIA launched MyPlace Portal, which is designed as
the main interface between participants and providers and the NDIA.
The MyPlace participant and provider portals are secure websites
developed to facilitate access to information, exchange of information and
business transactions between participants, providers and the NDIA.
As soon as MyPlace went live, issues were being reported with the
system—most importantly, the inability to process claims for payment.
On 5 August 2016, the Minister for Social Services announced an
independent review of the implementation of MyPlace Portal 'to determine how
and why the problems arose so we can be confident that they will not reoccur'.
In August 2016, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) conducted the independent
review, which concluded that 'the root cause of payment failure was not a
single catastrophic event, but rather a series of compounding issues which
prevented a viable option to delay ICT implementation'.
PwC made six recommendations to address identified issues with
implementing the MyPlace portal. The recommendations focus on continual quality
improvements as more participants transition to the Scheme.
In December 2016, the COAG Disability Reform Council noted that the
issues experienced by participants and providers in implementing the new MyPlace
portal had been largely resolved and that users of the MyPlace portal reported
a significantly improved experience.
However, as discussed in the committee's Progress Report in 2017, participants
and service providers continued to experience issues with the portal after this
In April 2017, the NDIA announced a Pathway Review in response to
feedback from participants and providers that their experience with the NDIS
was not meeting expectations.
The review found that the portal was difficult to navigate, lacked vital
features, was slow to process, did not facilitate payments easily, and created
excessive administrative burden.
The NDIA committed improvements to the ICT systems, including updates to
the participant and provider portals and NDIS website to make the experience of
engaging with the NDIS clearer, simpler, and more intuitive.
According to the NDIA, since mid-2017, changes and improvements to the
portal have regularly occurred and key programs are still underway to improve
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