NDIS Transition Readiness for Small and Micros Pilot

National Respite Association was funded through the Industry Development Fund to run a pilot project for organisations to increase their NDIS readiness. The pilot was established to target and support small and micro services, particularly those in regional and rural/remote areas. The NDIS Readiness Project for Small and Micro Services final evaluation is available for download in two parts. [part 1][part 2]

National Respite assisted 60 organisations form Action Learning Groups around NDIS issues such as unit costing and then matched them to a specialist consultant in that area. Some of the groups met face to face and others met through a combination of face to face and teleconferencing. Two of the Action Learning Groups were formed regionally (Western NSW and New England) and three were Sydney based.

The topics covered by the participating organisations were:

  1. CMS
  2. Financial Sustainability
  3. Marketing
  4. Strategy
  5. Quality

In addition to gaining skills and knowledge to prepare for NDIS, the participating service providers had the benefit of developing further networks around common NDIS issues.

The CMS/Financial Sustainability curriculum was taught by consultant, Steve Beard (Accounting Professionals) and the Strategy/Quality/Marketing curriculum was taught by Melissa Reader (Purpose Agency) and Michelle Dodd (Michelle Dodd Consulting). You can find their details and some of the resources from the two curriculums below.

Financial Sustainability:

Before taking his action learning groups through unit costing training, Steve began his sessions by explaining the NDIA’s efficient price model and the challenges and sustainability considerations this imposes on organisations. You can read his presentation on the NDIS Business Case here.

After looking in depth at unit costing, Steve took a look at financial sustainability in terms of strategy moving forward, including discussion of the business canvas model and organisations. You can watch a video about the business canvas model here.

Steve then looked at strategic partnerships, mergers, collaborations and alliances, as well as ‘shutting shop.’ You can read his presentation on key partnerships here.


Steve had already done some work for The Organisation Transition Fund analysing CMS systems available on the current market using the business canvas model as a framework. Building on this work, Steve took his groups through a presentation which explored CMS systems and the criteria they need to meet in an NDIS environment. You can read the CMS presentation here.

You can also find Steve’s work for The Organisation Transition Fund here.

To contact Steve about his work on this project, please email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Melissa and Michelle focussed on organisational purpose over organisation survival in this module. Part of a speech by Professor Cynthia Montgomery, “The Strategist - Be the leader your business needs”, was shown to action learning groups to set the scene and is a useful tool for seeing your company’s purpose in a new light. Professor Montgomery puts the emphasis on defining your business on the needs of the customer, not on beating the competition. You can watch the video here.

By putting purpose at the centre of everything you do - how you plan and set objectives and priorities for your business - it should become clear that to make progress toward being "NDIS ready" you will need strong leadership that is focused on problem-solving differently. Michelle also had a PowerPoint with tips for leaders needing to take transition steps which you can read here. If you need to review whether your Strategic Plan is fit for purpose, the NDS published a useful series of You Tube clips by Dr Richard Shrapnel of Pitcher Partners. You can watch a summary of the key points here.


Melissa took her action learning groups through the purpose framework, using values and purpose to tell effective stories about why we do what we do. She and Michelle supported participants to ask themselves the tricky questions and then apply their purpose to marketing strategy. You can read about Melissa’s refreshing approach to marketing in her presentation here.


Michelle did a lot of work with participants on quality and understanding how to measure, report, record and articulate that to stakeholders. One of her tips? Record some case studies which measure client quality outcomes - case studies are useful beyond quality, because you can use them to market, to apply for funding and philanthropic grants and to speak with your community and your clients about what you do uniquely or well.

On the final day of their action learning groups, Michelle and Melissa explored risk management in the NDIS environment. Their presentation looked at what risk management is, best practice around process, the usefulness of a risk register, and some of the risk areas foreseeable in the curriculum areas of strategy, marketing and quality in NDIS.

To contact Melissa and Michelle about their work in these curriculums, please email Melissa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Michelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National Respite Resources:

National Respite created bulletins throughout the life of this project which may be useful to your organisations.

Bulletin #1

Bulletin #2

Bulletin #3

Bulletin #4

Bulletin #5

Bulletin #6

Bulletin #7

NDIS Transition Pilot Briefing was conducted in September, 2015. It discussed the wider community sector challenge in CDC markets and the strategic thinking considerations for moving forward.




The Industry Development Fund is delivered by National Disability Services on behalf of Family & Community Services: Ageing, Disability & Home Care.