In mid-2016, Australia's National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) had a huge task ahead of it. 1 July 2016 would see the staged roll-out of the biggest social and economic reform in four decades, and the implementation of this reform was the NDIA's responsibility. As a solution to the fragmentation and underfunding apparent in disability services across the nation, a new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would provide individualised, long-term and needs-based funding to people with a permanent and significant disability, and those for whom early intervention would significantly improve their lives and prevent future disability. The Scheme would be jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the states and territories, but administered by the NDIA, a Commonwealth agency. The NDIA needed to expand rapidly to bring the Scheme to life across the country. How could the design of the Scheme be effectively translated into the operations of the agency? How could the agency's structure and resources best align with the new way of working required by the NDIS? And what balance of in-house provision and externalisation or contracting could support this? The NDIA's structure and operations could make or break these important reforms. This case can be used to explore a broad range of issues in topic areas such as organisational design, policy implementation, strategy setting, public value recognition, evidence-based decision-making and the externalisation of services.
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