We used an open dataset from the NDIA to explore plan utilisation by people with Autism in the ACT. Utilisation refers to the amount of the plan budget that a participant uses. We were able to determine what percentage of the available funding for Capacity Building Supports (CBS) was being utilised by NDIS participants in the ACT with Autism and how this changed over time.
CBS help build the independence and skills of NDIS participants in areas related to overall wellbeing like social communication, relationships, community participation, health and wellbeing, education, daily living and life choices. We focused on CBS because it is a support category that covers areas relevant to the ACT Government’s Wellbeing Framework including but not limited to social connection, access and connectivity, living standards, education and life-long learning and economy.
By analysing changes to plan utilisation of CBS we can gain a better understanding of the trends around plan utilisation for supports which are targeted towards improving overall wellbeing outcomes for people with Autism in the ACT. We looked at trends in the quarterly percentage of usage over time from June 2019 to March 2021. This allowed us to determine changes to the utilisation of plan funding for CBS by NDIS participants with Autism in the ACT before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
We created graphs that plotted these changes to the percentage of CBS plan utilisation over time, looking at how this differed for all participants and also subsets of the population split into different age bands. Overall, we found that for all participants in the ACT with Autism there was a decrease to utilisation of CBS funding between quarters during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 (March -1.61%, June -4.92% and -3.45%). This indicates that people with Autism are not as able to access the services they need during the pandemic, which is most likely due to a decrease in the ability to participate in face-to-face services. This led us to develop a solution focused on improving the access of people with disabilities to their support services via a digital platform where they can connect with their Disability Support Providers online, and thus the Support Access Portal was born.