What other services does the NDIS provide in addition to individualised funding?

This section explains the purpose of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) framework which is an integral part of the overall structure of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Its fundamental purpose is to provide a range of non-individualised supports to people with disability.

What are the key components of the NDIS?

The NDIS is made up of two key parts: 

  1. Individual NDIS plans (sometimes known as individual funding packages) which provide reasonable and necessary supports for eligible people with disability, and
  2. Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC). 

Both parts work together to support people with disability and their families and carers. The intent is that people with disability will use the same services and take part in the same activities as everyone else in the community and rely less on paid support over time. The ILC framework is designed to connect people with disability, their families and carers, to disability and mainstream supports in their community.

The ILC framework recognises that a majority of people with disability do not fit the eligibility criteria to receive an individual NDIS plan. The majority of people with disability will be ineligible for NDIS individual funding packages because their disability is considered by the NDIA to not have a substantial impact on their functioning or social and economic participation. If a person is not eligible for an individual NDIS plan they can access assistance from the scheme through the ILC Framework.  

What is the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Program?

The ILC Policy Framework outlines the role and scope of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) component of the NDIS. The ILC Policy describes five types of activities that will be funded in ILC as the ILC is progressively implemented across Australia. They are grouped into five streams as follows:  

1. Information, linkages and referrals: This area is about making sure that people with disability and their families and carers have access to up-to-date, relevant and quality information. It is also about making sure they are linked into services and supports in the community that meet their needs. 

2. Capacity building for mainstream services: This area is about making sure mainstream services have the knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of people with disability. Mainstream services are those things usually funded by government such as education, transport and health.

3. Community awareness and capacity building: This area is about making sure community activities and programs understand the needs of people with disability and have the skills and knowledge they need to be more inclusive.

4. Individual capacity building: This area is about making sure people with disability have the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to set and achieve their goals.  

5. Local Area Coordination: Local Area Coordination involves the appointment of Local Area Coordinators (LACs). LACs will be skilled at working with people with disability who come from all walks of life. The key functions of the LAC role will include:  

  1. work directly with people who have an NDIS individualised plan to connect them to mainstream services and community activities that will assist them to put their plan into action;
  2. provide short term assistance to people who do not have an NDIS plan to connect them to mainstream services and community activities; 
  3. work with their local community to make it more accessible and inclusive for people with disability. 

Local Area Coordination alone however cannot meet the needs of everyone and it is envisaged that funding the activities in the other four streams will support and strengthen the work of the LACs. Local Area Coordination (LAC) is being implemented by the NDIA separately to the other four streams or activity areas.

The ILC Commissioning Framework describes how the NDIA will fund and manage activities in the first four streams. 

How does the ILC fit into the bigger picture?

ILC Partners in the community, Local Area Co-ordinators (LACs) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Partners and individual NDIS plans are designed to work together to support people with disability. However, the NDIS in isolation from the contributions of wider community and mainstream services will not be enough to ensure that people with disability receive the same life opportunities as other citizens. The following diagram illustrates the interrelationships between a person with disability, elements of the NDIS, wider community and mainstream services.


Interrelationships between a person with disability, NDIS and other services

All governments around Australia have agreed to the National Disability Strategy The Strategy is a ten year plan for improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers. It sets goals for people with disability in six domains and explains what governments will do to achieve those goals.

ILC is not intended as a funding source for organisations looking to meet their obligations under the National Disability Strategy. It is the responsibility of government, business and the community to make sure that their programs, services and activities are inclusive and accessible. ILC is not intended to provide funding to meet these responsibilities. ILC funds however can be utilised to build the capacity of organisations to better meet the needs of people with disability.

The following diagram provides a different overview of the policy framework and how ILC sits within the overall construct of the NDIS leading to the outcomes articulated in the National Disability Strategy.

 Figure 1 Disability Support System

The Community Inclusion and Capacity Development (CIDC) Program Guidelines (PDF) include details about the ILC implementation processes, eligible and ineligible activities and expenditure, grants application process, including the criteria for the assessment of applications, standard terms and conditions as well as information about how we will deal with conflicts of interest.

Funding for the CICD program activities will provide approximately $351m funding over four years in accordance with the following table:

Financial Year

Amount ($'000)

2016-17 $33,284
2017-18 $73,514
2018-19 $113,539
2019-20 $131,130

Mainstream services will not be eligible for funding under the ILC.

When will the ILC start?

Each State and Territory will start at different times over the next few years with the Australian Capital Territory being the first to commence on 1st July 2017. Two tiers of grants will be offered – applications under $10,000 and applications over $10,000. There will be one grant round per year. However, this does not mean that funding agreements will be for one year. The NDIA may offer longer agreements for more established activities to give certainty and stability.

What approach does the NDIA take to Early Childhood Early Intervention?

The insurance approach of the scheme provides for a unique response to children aged 0-6 years who have disabilities or developmental delay. The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach articulated by the NDIA intends to enable timely access to best-practice early intervention options for young children. The scheme recognises that the right intervention at the right time and for the right length of time will ensure the most optimal outcomes for children in the longer term.

The ECEI approach has been designed using evidence-based research adopting a family-centred approach that aims to build on the strengths and capacities of families or primary caregivers. The ECEI recognises the importance of family decision-making and looking at the values and needs of the whole family when considering the child’s development.

Early childhood partners will play a central role in delivery ECEI under the NDIS and assume a range of responsibilities. The early childhood partners will utilise their specialist expertise in early childhood intervention to assess the functional impairment related to the child’s developmental delay or disability, identify goals and discuss evidence-based supports that will assist in meeting such goals. The broader responsibilities of the early childhood partners will include: 

  • Provide information.
  • Refer the family to a mainstream service like a community health service, playgroups or peer support group.
  • Identify if a child may benefit from some short term intervention and provide those services. For example, if a child has developmental delay with a primary speech delay, some initial speech therapy can be provided by the early childhood partner which, over time, will assist to inform the child’s longer term support needs
  • Identify that a child requires long-term specialised early childhood intervention supports then assist the family to request access to the NDIS, submitting the required information and evidence to the National Access team.
  • Undertake the planning process with families who receive access to the NDIS
  • Coordinate a combination of the options above.

The ECEI will become available in tandem with the full roll out of the scheme. The ECEI approach utilises the existing referral pathways into early childhood intervention in the areas the NDIS is available including through maternal child health, child and family health nurses, paediatricians and GPs. Families are also able to self-refer to early childhood partners in their local area.

NDIA modelling anticipates that 10% of all participants will be 0-6 years of age and ECEI partners will work with this cohort. ECEI partners will also work with children 0-6 years of age with developmental delay who do not require access to NDIS individualised planning. The NDIA report that approximately 2,300 children had been referred to the ECEI gateway as at 31st December 2016.  

The following four NDIS case studies illustrate how the NDIA could apply early childhood early intervention to the Early Childhood Early Intervention gateway with supports from early childhood partners. 

The following NDIA information provides further detail in relation to Early Childhood Early Intervention.

Early Childhood Early Intervention   

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