What the heck? Why a Citizens Jury is perfect for the NDIS …

WhatTheHeckUp till now we have had reviews and evaluations of the NDIS done by politicians, senior bureaucrats, consultants and specialists but we have missed the voices of participants themselves.

The Australian people have now been paying for the NDIS for nearly 6 months via the Medicare levy.


The trials have been going in some places for around 18 months.

Given that Govt has said the NDIS are trials it’s time that we had a jury that was made up of ordinary people, that considered evidence from people with disability who were actually using the NDIS in the trial sites.

A trial deserves a Jury, one that hears from witnesses, takes evidence and weighs it up.

For that reason we are convening a Citizens Jury on the NDIS that wil provide the first user-led national scorecard which is formed, assessed and delivered by Australians who have helped fund this scheme and those who have direct experience as participants within the seven trial sites. The process will kick off with a social media forum on 29 November 2014

The Jury will hear direct evidence from the witnesses who are people actually experiencing NDIS in the trial sites, these will be completely randomly selected so there is no risk that its just the converted. They will get to weigh evidence using this testimony as well as other information and arrive at a scorecard that tells us whats going well and where we can improve

The idea is to close the deal with the Australian people – we are all paying for it. Here’s a chance to hear directly from people with disability on the ground how its going.

To their credit the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) have embraced this idea.

The Jurors and Expert Witnesses will be selected by newDemocracy Foundation, a leading independent, non-partisan research organisation that specialises in citizen participation. The selection process will be totally independent. The Jury will sit in early 2015.

A scorecard will go to the Senate Committee, the Agency Board and every member of Parliament in every jurisdiction that’s hosting a trial site along with the Prime Minister and every Chief Minister and Premier.

The CEO of the agency has also committed to meet with the Jury at the commencement of their deliberations; meet with the Jury to discuss their final recommendations; submit the Jury’s recommendations to the Minister, unedited; submit the outcomes of the Jury’s Deliberations, unedited, to the Senate Committee; and respond publicly to the recommendations.
The Charge

The Jury will be asked to go right back to the first principles and assess the extent to which NDIS is meeting the goals set out by the Productivity Commission in 2010

These are putting us at the centre; Increasing choice and control; Improving Portability; Reducing Fragmentation; Uniformity; Addressing unmet need; Providing information and support to ‘Tier 2’ recipients; and greater economic and social inclusion for people with disability.

We’re not trying to do a mass survey and capture every participant like the evaluation or the AFDO feedback project but to use random selection to hear from voices that aren’t loud and always heard (like me!). It will complement and add to our knowledge.

A social media forum will help form PWDA’s submission to the Jury. Your feedback will be collated, organised by theme against our jury “charge” and then submitted to the Jury.

The what, who and when

  • PWDA Social Media Forum: 29 November 2014 #ndisjury
  • Citizen Jury sitting dates: February 2015
  • National Scorecard published: April 2015

The make-up of the Citizens Jury:
– 12 Jurors selected randomly from the Australian population, including people with disability;
– 21 Participant Witnesses, selected from each of the seven NDIS trial sites;
– Seven Advocate Witnesses representing each of the seven NDIS trial sites;
– 70 Participant Interviewees, 10 selected from each of the seven NDIS trial sites;
– Potential for an unlimited number of participants through a social media forum running now to Saturday 29 November. Previous social media forums held by PWDA have attracted up to 800 participants.

Craig Wallace

Craig Wallace is a marketing manager and project coordinator with Nican a national community organisation and has been a community leader with various organisations for more than a decade. He is the President of People with Disability Australia, a leading cross disability rights organisation in Australia and is a member of the ACT BLITS business group.