Implied or prescribed? How collaboration at major interfaces is designed into individualised disability funding policy in Australia and England

Stream: Disability, policy and governance
Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 3.40 pm – 5.00 pm


Individualised funding systems have been adopted in Australia and England to increase choice and control for people with disability. Policy performance is conditional on organisational collaboration at major interfaces (including the health, housing and employment systems), but this remains one of the most testing and complex aspect of individualised disability support. This paper considers the matter of organisational collaboration at the major interfaces relating to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia and Personal Budgets in England.

Specifically, it addresses two key questions: 1) what is known about enablers and barriers of effective organisational collaboration in the provision of welfare programs, and assumptions underpinning these; and 2) to what extent are these implied or prescribed in individualised funding policy in Australia and England. In seeking to answer these questions, firstly a rapid review and synthesis of the policy literature on effective organisational collaboration in welfare provision was conducted. Next, key policy documents, namely legislation and official reports relating to the NDIS and Personal Budgets, were scrutinised for evidence of enablers and barriers, as well as other policy strategies to encourage collaboration.

The analysis found evidence about expectations of collaboration in the policies, but mechanisms for achieving it were less explicit in both countries. With individualised disability support reliant on effective collaboration, empirical evidence on enablers and barriers will assist in pinpointing some of the governance potentials and pitfalls in the policy architecture of the two countries, and inform refinement of policy strategies and operating mechanisms that strengthen organisational collaboration.


Michele Foster (Presenter), Griffith University
Michele is Professor of Disability and Rehabilitation Research with Griffith University and the Division of Rehabilitation, Metro South Health, in Queensland Australia. She is an internationally recognised social work and health services research academic with a strong interdisciplinary track record in rehabilitation, disability services, and primary health care research. Her research focuses primarily on how policy and service systems impact the experiences of service users and the work of service providers, and how service delivery innovations translate into local contexts. Michele has a thorough understanding of the interaction of research, policy and practice and importance of knowledge translation.

Catherine Needham, Birmingham University
Catherine Needham is Professor of Public Policy and Public Management. She is part based at the Health Services Management Centre, developing research around social care and policy innovation. She is also part-based in the University’s Public Services Academy, researching new approaches to public service workforce development.

Karen Fisher, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Karen Fisher is a Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. Her research interests are the organisation of social services in Australia and China; disability and mental health policy; inclusive research and evaluation; and social policy process. Karen applies mixed methodology and adopts inclusive research methods with people with disability, families, policy officials and services providers.

Paul Henman, University of Queensland
Paul holds degrees in sociology, social policy, computer science and education. His main research interest is the nexus between social policy, administration and digital information technologies. His research interests include: social policy; welfare state; welfare reform; e-government; the administration of policy; costs of raising children; internet studies; living standards & wellbeing

Eloise Hummell, Griffith University
Eloise holds a PhD in Sociology and is currently a Research Fellow at The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University, conducting research in the areas of disability and rehabilitation. Her general research expertise is in cultural and social research of a qualitative nature. Eloise is interested in the complex and shifting factors that influence identity construction, social well-being and government policy, and developing nuanced understandings of emerging social relations and transforming systems.

Alyssa Venning, Griffith University
Alyssa holds a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) and is currently working as a Research Assistant at The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University. She has developed and delivered projects for regional and remote Australia including community resilience, disaster relief, educational engagement and mental health programs. Alyssa has been the recipient of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading: Cultural Connections grant, where she represented Australia delivering community engagement programs to people with a disability throughout Vietnam. Alyssa is also a sessional academic at Queensland University of Technology, tutoring in Contemporary Human Rights.