What is Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC)
ILC is a part of the NDIS that provides information, linkages and referrals to connect people with disability, their families and carers, with broader systems of support.
ILC is all about inclusion – it’s about creating connections between people with disability and the communities they live in. Unlike the rest of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), ILC doesn’t provide funding to individuals. ILC provides grants to organisations to carry out activities in the community.
The NDIS has been delivering Information, Linkages and Capacity building (ILC) initiatives since 2017 through a grants process and through Partners in the Community.
ILC is the component of the NDIS that provides information, linkages and referrals to efficiently and effectively connect people with disability, their families and carers, with appropriate disability, community and mainstream supports. ILC will also ensure the NDIS establishes and facilitates capacity building supports for people with disability, their families, and carers that are not directly tied to a person through an individually funded package (IFP). ILC will also promote collaboration and partnership with local communities and mainstream and universal services to create greater inclusivity and accessibility of people with disability.
ILC does not stand alone to meet the aims outlined above. This Framework needs to be considered along with other policies and legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act, the Carer Recognition Act, the National Disability Strategy, the Integrated NDIS Market, Sector and Workforce Strategy and the quality and safeguards framework. ILC also needs to be considered along with the Applied Principles and Tables of Support that guide the interaction between the NDIS and mainstream supports (e.g. health, mental health, justice, education, transport, housing, and aged care sectors). It will also need to be considered along with systemic and individual advocacy and legal representation.
ILC supports can be funded through a range of mechanisms, provided they are outcomesbased and encourage the development of a competitive and innovative market, that allow the NDIS to target its funding to achieve intended outcomes transparently and efficiently. The ability to choose an appropriate funding mechanism allows the scheme to target funding carefully to respond to systemic issues that impact on outcomes for participants, nonparticipants, support sectors and the scheme.
ILC funds supports, determined as necessary by the scheme, which are not funded through a person’s IFP, but are instead funded by the scheme, either through its own internal operations or by directing funding to a third party, such as a service provider.
Flexible ILC funding could foster change and improvement in the support provided to people with disability in communities and by mainstream services, by leveraging off best practice for support delivery, or commencing new initiatives as the market develops and local support needs change.
ILC supports can be funded through a range of mechanisms. Funding may, for example, be most appropriately provided through:
- Bulk purchasing arrangements
- A contract for support
- Grants for short-term capacity building programs or building works to improve community accessibility
- Staff employed by the NDIS to deliver a particular service for example planners, assessors; or
- Local Area Coordinators with access to a small amount of funds to enable purchase of one-off low cost supports (such as small items of equipment or individual capacity building), and to seed fund community capacity building and community inclusion activities. This can enable the NDIS to ensure that people who have very low cost support needs and do not require a long term relationship with the NDIA through an individual plan can receive once off support that prevents them having to apply to be a participant without the need for intensive eligibility and planning processes.
Social capital, provided predominantly through philanthropy and volunteers, is instrumental in increasing the capacity of organisations to deliver supports to people with disability, their families and carers. The NDIS should encourage social capital and activities under ILC should facilitate its involvement, where appropriate.
ILC could also foster a competitive and innovative market through:
- A variety of procurement processes, for example seed funding organisations to harness social capital and philanthropy; or
- Local Area Coordinators having access to a small amount of funds to enable purchase of one-off supports or to seed fund community capacity building, community inclusion activities or individual capacity building. The aim would be to establish a culture of small-scale innovation and experimentation.
ILC funding mechanisms should have accountability measures linked to outcomes. Some examples may include:
- supporting people with disability to exercise choice and control and navigate systems
- sustaining families and carers in their caring roles
- improving access to the community and mainstream services; and
- increasing the evidence base on effective early intervention and prevention.
There are five streams of ILC which provide support to people with disability, their families and carers, and community and mainstream services. The streams are:
- Information, Linkages and Referrals
- Capacity building for mainstream services
- Community awareness and capacity building
- Individual capacity building
- Local area co-ordination (LAC)
Examples of activities under the five streams are explored below. Whilst the streams are considered separately, they could be implemented with consideration to a variety of service delivery models, including multi-stream combinations.
Stream one: Information, linkages and referrals
Information, linkages and referrals will connect people with disability, their families and carers with appropriate disability, community and mainstream supports. People usually need information before they can access services and supports. The types of information that people with disability, their families and carers, may seek include:
- information about specific disabilities and the impacts of diagnosis
- information about targeted supports for people with disability, their family and carers, as well as generic community-based supports
- information on specific disabilities that aims to help people with disability, as well as their families and carers, to best use available supports to promote independence and enhance their capacity to self-navigate service systems
- support to use existing information sources or relevant organisations to get information
- information that addresses the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities through the context of location and background; and
- information that addresses the needs of Indigenous Australians and their respective language, social or nation groups
For people with lower level support needs associated with psycho-social disability, ILC will link people into relevant mainstream, clinical and community based supports. This is a critical role for this cohort as appropriately coordinated referrals can have an early intervention effect.
For carers and families, access to ILC will mean better access to information and supports about both the needs and circumstances of the person with disability they are caring for, and about their role as carer and sustaining this role. Local Area Coordination and individual capacity building will be important functions of ILC for carers.
Initiatives under this stream could include:
- web-based supports
- telephone information
- face-to-face information supports
- group infomation sessions
- peer support and information and experience sharing
- fact sheets
- pre-planning support
- referral and linkages to other supports.
Stream two: Capacity building for mainstream services
Mainstream services are considered to be government funded services (for example, education, health care, public housing, transport and employment services), and services/supports provided by the community or private sector (for example, a swimming pool, neighbourhood houses and men’s sheds, gym or theatre).
The NDIS will fund supports to enhance social and economic participation for people with disability. Therefore, it has a role and interest in supporting a proactive effort in improving accessibility and inclusion of people with disability. However, the introduction of NDIS does not shift the responsibilities of mainstream and universal services in ensuring greater accessibility and inclusion, nor is the NDIS a funding source for mainstream services. As such, the NDIS can identify and inform areas where governments, in implementing the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, should focus effort to ensure accessible mainstream supports, programs and community infrastructure.
Importantly, the NDIS will also be able to identify areas for improvement at the local level and work with key partners to achieve these goals, some examples of which may include:
- building the capacity of mainstream and universal providers in meeting their responsibilities
- making them more inclusive of people with disability, for example in areas such as employment, education and health services
- providing organisations with information on how to improve accessibility, for example by improving wheelchair access to buildings and infrastructure, signage, website and communication accessibility; and
- enhancing ‘best practice’ in service delivery, for example through support to develop tools and resources that support practitioners across mainstream services to provide services to people with disability.
Mainstream capacity building through ILC could be delivered through projects and activities facilitated by:
- Local Area Coordination (refer Stream 5 of ILC)
- disability or diagnosis specific or other organisations; and/or
- people with disability or their representatives.
Stream three: Community awareness and capacity building
Community capacity building initiatives can further support organisations (such as not for profit organisations, local councils, businesses) and people within communities to be inclusive of people with disability, and understand of the needs of families and carers.
Community awareness and capacity building initiatives may include:
- opportunities that enhance the capacity of local communities to identify local practical solutions
- public campaigns to improve the community’s general disability awareness and understanding
- creating personal networks that connect people with disability to opportunities (for example, employment opportunities) they may otherwise miss
- basic training to individuals (for example, paid employees, business operators or volunteers) to enable them to better relate to, or work with, people with disability
- community activities in which people with disability can participate
- consulting with, or incorporating the views of, people with disability, their families and carers in the provision of community activities and other goods and services; and
- investing in product design and technology to facilitate the inclusion of people with disability in the community.
This stream will support the insurance principles of the NDIS, reducing the call for disability supports by building the long-term capacity of the community to more effectively support people with disability, their families and carers. Activities undertaken within this stream should demonstrate this.
Stream four: Individual capacity building
Individual capacity building has the potential to benefit a range of people with disability, and their families and carers, who are eligible for an IFP or who are just outside of the access criteria for the scheme and would otherwise need to test their eligibility (and therefore support the insurance principles of the NDIS). The supports under this stream are often oneoff, low intensity or episodic and are better delivered and managed through funding arrangements outside of IFPs.
This funding stream can support courses, groups and organisations to help build capacity, self-advocacy and decision-making, facilitate mentoring and peer support and help provide people with information that will support choice.
Examples of individual capacity building supports may include:
- diagnosis-specific capacity building (for example, orientation training for people with vision impairment where this is low cost and short term);
- programs for carers and counselling for people who are caring for someone with disability (including psychosocial disability).
- parent breaks and programs to provide parents with skills and information about disability
- professional development for example for parents and education providers
- decision making supports and supports for self-advocacy, helping people with disability, their families, carers and communities to work together with and for people with disability; and
- diagnosis specific peer support groups.
To build the capacity of people with disability, the NDIS could:
- fund and facilitate local support networks to provide opportunities for people with disability to learn from the experience of others
- fund peer support groups to lessen isolation (for example for people with a mental illness or an acquired brain injury)
- fund training courses and mentor programs to help people to self-advocate and assume increasing levels of choice and control over their funding, supports and interactions with providers
- fund and facilitate carer capacity building and support programs; and
- provide one-off, low level or episodic supports which focus on preventative intervention (for example counselling).
This support may be delivered through disability-specific organisations and programs, or through whole of population programmes where ILC will aim to ensure that the program is adapted for people with disability.
Stream five: Local area co-ordination (LAC)
Local Area Coordination (LAC) is the development of relationships between the NDIS, people with disability, their families and carers, and the local community (including informal networks, community groups, disability and mainstream services).
The LAC role connects across each of the streams of ILC, which include information and linkages and individual capacity building as well as working with mainstream services and communities to better enable access and participation. While the LAC would have a role to play in delivering each of the ILC streams, it may not be the only mechanism for ILC delivery.
It should be noted that LAC functions could be undertaken by an individual or a small team, depending on the needs of people with disability, the community and the local context. People with disability will benefit from the community building and mainstream support roles of the LAC, though the level of intensity of LAC involvement will be greater for scheme participants with a lighter touch for the broader population.
The role of the LAC can incorporate:
- building the capacity of other community and mainstream services to respond to the needs of people with disability, their families and carers and to develop natural networks of support around people with disability
- prevention of escalation of support needs, capacity building and locally based, practical solutions
- supporting the concept of a wide entry gateway
- services directed to ‘hard-to-reach’ individuals or communities
- building and supporting informal support systems
- formal services and funding as the last, not the first, response. This role is delivered through:
- working with people with disability, their families and carers to consider their immediate and future goals and how these might be best achieved
- working with individuals and their families to achieve their goals by building new networks and accessing support and services in their community; and/or
- working alongside communities and mainstream services, supporting them to become more welcoming and inclusive
- the purchase of low cost one-off supports; and
- A small amount of seed-funding for community capacity building, community inclusion activities, individual capacity building or to incubate innovative start-ups or initiatives to deliver supports where and how people require at the local level.
Who can access ILC?
The focus of ILC is not on who will access it, but on the supports offered. Anyone should be able to inquire about ILC supports through the NDIA or Local Area Coordinators.
People with disability (including those who also receive an IFP), their families and carers and the broader community can benefit from ILC supports. Although there are no access requirements to be met under the ILC Policy Framework, some ILC supports will be targeted to certain groups of people. For example, an organisation may be funded to provide information and peer support to people with sensory impairment, and they will be expected to prioritise their service offer to that group.
The NDIS Scheme Actuary advises that of Australia’s population of people with disability, there are approximately:
- 2.5 million people with disability in Australia under the age of 65 years
- 900,000 of the 2.5 million report they need assistance with activities of daily living at least weekly
- 410,000 of this 900,000 are likely to access the NDIS as participants
Of the 800,000 carers identified by the Productivity Commission, approximately:
- 394,000 are carers for people under 65 years of age
- 350,000 of these 394,000 carers are supporting a person under the age of 65 years with either a severe or profound core activity limitation.
We are pleased to announce through the NDIS Information, Linkages & Capacity Building (ILC) program, we are awarding $105.9 million to 105 Australian organisations. These grants aim to build the capacity of Australians with disability to participate in and contribute to the community.
The grants represent another important step forward in ensuring people with disability have access to peer support, mentoring and other services that build their skills, knowledge and confidence to be involved with and benefit from the same community activities as all Australians.
Importantly ILC grants are not just for NDIS participants, the intention of the grants is to increase and enable participation for all Australians with disability in their local community.
To learn more and see the full list of recipients here: http://bit.ly/2MWyKRI