Evaluation of the ndis final Report Kostas Mavromaras, Megan Moskos, Stéphane Mahuteau, Linda Isherwood


The Evaluation of the NDIS in the Barkly Region



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The Evaluation of the NDIS in the Barkly Region


The delivery of the NDIS in rural and remote communities such as those in the Barkly region is likely to differ from its metropolitan counterparts. The NT evaluation aimed to provide findings about specific issues regarding the operation of the NDIS in rural and remote communities with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages, living with disability in a range of communities.

The evaluation of the NDIS in the Barkly region of the NT consisted of a number of in-depth interviews with:



  • NDIS participants and their carers

  • Disability service sector representatives

  • NDIA managers and staff

  • Non-NDIS participants.

Interviews were conducted with the same respondents at two time points. These interviews collected impressions and assessments of the progress and achievements of the implementation of the NDIS in a rural and remote setting. With the consent of participants, each interview was recorded. The analysis and reporting of the interview data collected as a part of the evaluation of the NDIS in the Barkly region preceded along the same lines as that adopted for the main QIE as outlined in section 1.7. To protect respondents’ identities, no personal information is disclosed, pseudonyms are used in all references in the report and sources of direct quotes are de-identified.

There were many challenges of undertaking the evaluation of the NDIS in the Barkly region of the NT. These are briefly described in Appendix A1.2.


1.8.1 Interviews with NDIS participants and their carers


The NDIS trial commenced in the Barkly region of the NT in July 2014. In total 31 interviews pertaining to 36 NDIS participants were conducted. Interviews were conducted with 14 people with disabilities and 20 carers and/or family members. The number of carers interviewed was higher than the number of people with disabilities as several in the latter group were under guardianship arrangements or unable to participate in interviews due to intellectual impairment or their age. Wave 1 interviews occurred between July 2015 and March 2016. The duration of interviews varied with some lasting only 15 minutes, while others were 1.5 hours in duration.

A second round of interviews with these NT NDIS participants and carers was conducted between October 2016 and June 2017. Eleven respondents who had taken part in wave 1 were unable to participate in wave 2. Replacements were found for three respondents, resulting in 28 interviews pertaining to 28 NDIS participants being conducted in wave 2.

NDIS participants included people with developmental conditions, visually impairment, congenital conditions, degenerative conditions, acquired brain injury, people who had acquired a disability through accidents and/or acute or chronic illness, and one with a primary mental health diagnosis. Participant ages ranged from three years to 62 years. While most NDIS participants were living with family or foster carers, several were in residential care under guardianship arrangements. In both waves 1 and 2, only four of the interview respondents were non-Indigenous, with the remainder being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background.

1.8.2 Interviews with disability service sector representatives


In wave 1, 18 interviews were conducted with disability service providers (including self-employed providers) and peak bodies involved in the NDIS trial in the Barkly region in the NT. These interviews were conducted between February and June 2015. Between February and October 2016 a second round of interviews were undertaken with twenty-three disability service providers and peak bodies involved in the Barkly region. The number of interviews with disability service providers increased in wave 2 to include some new providers operating in the region since wave 1 of the evaluation. Interviews were either undertaken face-to-face or via telephone. The interviews sought to understand the change brought by the NDIS on the disability sector and its workforce in rural and remote areas.

1.8.3 Interviews with NDIA managers and staff


From January 2015 to May 2015 a first round of interviews were conducted with nine NDIA staff who currently or previously worked in the Barkly trial site. Six respondents were actively involved in the Barkly region trial, of whom five were based in the region. The remaining three respondents had returned to their original trial sites but continued their involvement in the Barkly trial through participation in the ‘community of practice’ network.

A second round of interviews with these NDIA staff were undertaken between June 2016 and October 2016. Of the original nine participants, three declined to be interviewed in wave 2. However, another nine NDIA staff who currently or previously worked in the Barkly trial site were additionally willing to inform the evaluation. In total 15 NDIA staff were interviewed in wave 2, ten of whom were currently actively engaged in the trial site. Six of these NDIA employees were based in the Barkly region, three were based in Darwin, and the remaining respondent was based outside the NT. These interviews highlighted the experience of implementing the NDIS in rural and remote areas.


1.8.4 Interviews with non-NDIS participants


To allow comparison with the experiences of NDIS participants in the Barkly region, interviews were also undertaken with people with disability and their carers living outside of the Barkly trial site. The Alice Springs region was chosen as the comparison site. While much bigger than Tennant Creek, the cultural make up of Alice Springs is much more aligned to that of Tennant Creek than other possible control sites such as Katherine, with many commuting between the two regions. In addition, there is considerably more overlap between disability service provision within Alice Springs and Tennant Creek than disability service provision in Katherine, much of the latter being Darwin based.

In wave 1, a total of 13 interviews involving 15 people with disability were conducted. The control cohort matched, as far as possible, the profile of participants interviewed in the trial site. Interviews were conducted with five people with disability and eight carers of people with disability. People with disability informing this component of the evaluation included people with congenital conditions, developmental conditions, intellectual conditions, and people who had acquired a disability through accidents and/or acute or chronic illness. While most participants lived with family, several lived by themselves. Participant ages ranged from three years to over 60 years. Wave 1 interviews were undertaken between March 2016 and September 2016.

A second round of interviews with the same non-NDIS participants in the NT was undertaken between May and June 2017. Two people with disability who had taken part in wave 1 had passed away; a family member of one of these respondents chose to participate in a further interview in wave 2.



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