A few years ago myself, Helen Sullivan and Catherine Needham wrote a paper that speculated on what some of the challenges might be for the NDIS in terms of issues of accountability. In this we argued that the individual funding component of the NDIS poses a number of interesting questions about accountability. The paper considered a number of accountability dilemmas and provided evidence from different national settings to illustrate how these accountabilities may manifest in an Australian context. The paper concluded by setting out a framework of accountability bringing together these different dilemmas to think about provision of care as a whole.
In recent months we have been collecting significant amounts of data with individuals in Federal and State government exploring the tensions and challenges that have arisen as the NDIS is rolled out across the country. Over the next few months a number of new papers will come out that present this data.
In one of the first contributions myself, Eleanor Malbon and Gemma Carey revisited the paper outlined above to examine whether these types of accountability dilemmas are being realised in the early implementation of the NDIS. In the paper we outline accountability dilemmas in relation to: care outcomes, the spending of public money, care workers, and advocacy and market function. We argue that examining these accountability dilemmas reveals differences in underpinning assumptions within the design and on-going implementation of the NDIS, suggesting a plurality of logics within the scheme, which are in tension with one another.
The contribution of this paper is to set out the accountability dilemmas, analyse them according to their underpinning logics, and present the NDIS as having potential to be a hybrid institution. How these dilemmas will be settled is crucial to the implementation and ultimate operation of the scheme. No doubt this will be an issue that we revisit at a number of times over the following months.