New disability authority overwhelmed by NDIS MyPlace rollout

myplace portal

The NDIA is to get a major boost of resources and greater ministerial scrutiny, after being overwhelmed by the rollout of its new MyPlace portal for NDIS users.

The federal government has moved to substantially increase resources and upgrade the National Disability Insurance Authority’s operating capacity and management oversight. This follows a PWC review that found the lack of an effective overall plan had seen the authority  overwhelmed by the size, complexity and tight deadlines of the rollout of the new NDIS MyPlace portal.

The quick-fire report was commissioned by Social Services Minister Christian Porter, following significant complaints by providers and users about delays in payments, after the NDIS scheme began its first phase rollout on July 1.

The PWC report concluded: “It is important to understand 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.”

“The full scheme ICT implementation ran out of time to fully complete the required implementation activities and proceeded with the acceptance of the identified implementation risks with the intention of applying maximum response to the problems.

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  • There is a danger of risk management being used as a container for things that are not uncertain, resulting is a false sense of comfort bolstered by a feeling that “It might not happen” even when something is bound to affect a project. It is useful to consider whether the matters being handled as risks are entirely uncertain or include significant elements of a different character.

    Unpleasant facts and contentious decisions are often included in risk processes. These are quite different and better handled through planning and decision analysis. It seems, from reports such as this one, that many facts were not taken into account and possibly some serious decisions were not explored as diligently as they could have been.

    It is hard to say from the outside but the paragraph “The residual execution risks of the program were found to be affecting the critical path on a daily basis. As evidenced in the readiness assessments, these risks were continuously managed up until go-live. The NDIA was less effective at managing the inherent risks of complexity, maturity and scale against a finite completion date.” suggests that an emphasis on risk management alone might have clouded the view. Complexity, maturity and scale are not the results of uncertainty. They are generally facts and sometimes the outcome of decisions.

    Apart from anything else, when faced with a truly complex situation, simple linear planning and execution can be over run quite easily.