It has been revealed that millions of dollars have been taken from NDIS participants in Sydney following the arrest of a criminal gang, who were taking advantage of the scheme.
With the NDIS fraud case being brought to light only recently, Plan Partners' CEO, Sean, asks how we as a sector can prevent this issue in the future.
Read the discussion in his latest LinkedIn article.
Upon reading about the recent multi-million-dollar NDIS fraud case by a criminal syndicate, I felt anger, disappointment and many other emotions. One thing I wasn’t, unfortunately, was surprised.
Having now worked in the disability sector for some time, I suspect that this case, as disgraceful as it is, is just the tip of the iceberg. At Plan Partners, Australia’s largest NDIS Plan Management and Support Coordination provider, I’ve seen the number of invoices that require increased scrutiny rise over a very short period of time.
The realist in me says that fraud will not be limited to organised crime syndicates thieving from the NDIA and NDIS participants. There will be countless examples of ‘soft fraud’ going on as well where less scrupulous providers will be billing participants to the maximum amount available in their NDIS plans, regardless of their actual goals and needs. And to think that this is only going on in small, back street, shady providers would be a mistake.
What can be done to prevent NDIS fraud and ensure people with disability are receiving outcomes-based support without being exploited?
1. Share the burden
The good news is that the NDIA doesn’t have to – and in fact, shouldn’t be – doing it alone when so many other businesses are so well-equipped to help. At Plan Partners, we have invested significant time and effort in developing sophisticated systems that are capable of monitoring provider invoices and payments and flagging suspicious activity.
Currently around 50% of all NDIS plans are managed by the NDIA. By reducing that number and increasing the number of participants who seek guidance from plan managers or financial experts, the NDIA can share some of the burden of fraud prevention and enlist innovative tools to help them win this fight – and win it we must.
2. If you see something?
I don’t want to be alarmist, because the truth is that any case of fraud should not distract focus from the incredible amount of positive change the NDIS has created in so many people’s lives. But as people and organisations operating in the disability sector, we have a critical role to play in stamping out anything that discredits the scheme and hurts its participants.
In all the media furore surrounding these NDIS fraud cases, there’s a genuine risk that people may lose sight of the fact that the real victims are the NDIS participants that were may not have received the care and support they needed.
Every dollar in the pockets of the unscrupulous is one dollar less that can be spent on much needed support for people with a disability.
As an issue that many of you will no doubt feel very passionately about, I’d love to hear your thoughts: How should the sector tackle fraud to best protect people with disability?
Find the original post on LinkedIn here.