A Word from our CEO: An End of Year Wrap Up

12 December 2017

Michael Forwood, CEO Cora Barclay Centre

Many thanks to our wonderful General Manager, Amanda Haskard for her highly informative September blog when I was away on annual leave. This was all about how our Centre really runs which is handy to know whether you’re a client family, volunteer, donor or other supporter.

What Amanda didn’t mention was that I was overseas cycling – first from Prague to Dresden with my family and after that in Portugal from Coimbra (north of Lisbon) to Santiago de Compostela in Spain along the Camino way. The latter was a tough gig – hilly and often on very rough, old Roman roads - definitely not an experience to be repeated! 

   

I returned refreshed for the NDIS challenges and am pleased to report that things are looking considerably better now than when I last blogged in May.

The bad news is that we don’t seem to be able to do anything much about all the problems around NDIS client registration, planning processes, getting a funded plan, billing and administration etc. These are a real burden for us and many of our families. Hopefully, sometime, the red tape will be reduced, procedures simplified, and everything will be quicker and easier.
 
The good news is that the NDIA now has a team of people working on our funding issues including funding levels; consistency in funding, and reducing funding delays. These matters have been under active discussion with the NDIA for almost 3 years with hardly any progress; so it’s good that things are on the move.

What’s in the pipeline is a whole new approach (called Reference Packages) that has been specifically designed for planning and funding for hearing-impaired children and their families. I, and several of my interstate colleagues, have been involved in the planning process and testing is now underway by the NDIA with a view to implementation next year.

We think this will be a great step forward when it occurs as there is a big gap between NDIS participant funding levels and the actual cost of the services and programs we provide. This is an obvious threat to ongoing service levels as small highly specialised providers like us just can’t go on covering the funding gap indefinitely without it impacting on our financial sustainability.

It has taken a lot of time, effort and persistence to reach this point with the NDIA. As the CEO of the Cora Barclay Centre and Chair of First Voice (our national advocacy association) for the past two years, I have written countless submissions, had numerous meetings with NDIA planners and executives, given public evidence to Federal Parliamentary inquiries on three occasions and visited Canberra (mainly Parliament House) many, many times to talk with Government Ministers, the Opposition, members of the cross benches, parliamentary committee members and Commonwealth public servants.

It has been a concerted effort from our sector – and is not over yet – but hopefully we’ll see some positive outcomes within the next 2 to 3 months. Our understanding is that once the funding side of things is fixed the NDIA will turn its attention to referral pathway and quality assurance problems that also pose a threat to the pre-NDIS outcomes that we have come to expect for hearing-impaired children in Australia.

As this will be my last blog this year I wanted to wish you all a very happy holiday season. I appreciate the time taken by our supporters to read my blog posts and keep up to date with what is happening at the Centre and in the wider community of services for deaf or hearing impaired children. 

I hope you have a wonderful break, and I will see you all again in 2018. 

Michael Forwood
Chief Executive Officer, Cora Barclay Centre 


Comments

John Bannister

12 December 2017 - 08:47 pm

Michael does an amazing job not many of us could sustain - without his efforts children who are deaf or hearing impaired in not only South Australia but Australia would be much worse off.
We are very proud to have him acting for us on a state and national level.
John Bannister
Chair, Cora Barclay Board

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