Guidance and training

5.131   Guidance and training for all people involved in decision-making under the NDIS is vitally important to ensure the effective operation of the supported decision-making model.

5.132   The NDIA has developed approaches to education, training and community engagement (including through video, quotes, stories, and webinars) and has produced a range of guidance material for people with disability, family and carers, service providers, and participants.[132]

5.133   The NDIA also offers disability support organisations capacity building strategy grants to ‘provide and promote local mutual support activities for people with disability’ with the aim of leading to ‘increased capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control, engage with the NDIS and other community supports as well as actively participate economically and socially’.[133]

5.134   In terms of decision-making mechanisms, stakeholders such as the Office of the Public Advocate (SA) have emphasised the need to ensure the NDIS Act and Nominee Rules are applied appropriately in practice:

Close attention will need to be applied to the implementation of the NDIS Nominees Rules, and the extent that they encourage support to enable people’s capacity as opposed to potentially disempowering participants by transferring effective decision making to plan nominees. NDIS itself can play a role in educating nominees on their role so that this does not happen, and expecting nominees to attempt to support a participant make their own decision before taking on a substitute role.[134]

5.135   National Disability Services suggested that it would also be timely

to develop and provide education material to NDIA staff, families, guardians and participants about the principles of supported decision-making and the law around legal capacity.[135]

5.136   The Mental Health Council of Australia highlighted the need for

capacity building measures, programs or processes at the individual or community levels to empower consumers and communities to actively participate in supported decision-making. These could include programs to educate consumers and carers about the NDIS.[136]

5.137   Accordingly, participants and supporters and representatives (or potential supporters and representatives) should be provided with information and advice to enable them to understand their functions and duties. In addition, the ALRC recommends that employees and contractors of Commonwealth agencies who engage with supporters and representatives are provided with information, guidance and training in relation to the roles of supporters and representatives.[137] The ALRC notes that NDIA employees, service providers, plan management providers, and other experts and third parties engaged in the NDIS would benefit from such guidance and training.

5.138   The focus of guidance and training could include topics such as: the introduction of the supporter and representative model under the NDIS and differences between the new model and existing nominee provisions; interaction with state and territory decision-making systems; and supported decision-making in the context of the NDIS.