Choice, control and the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant reform of disability services in Australia in a generation. The scheme aims to increase both the funding available for disability services and the control that people living with disabilities have over the design and delivery of their care. However, the experience from other systems that have implemented individualised funding schemes suggests that it is often challenging to design systems that facilitate true choice and control for people with disabilities.

The research team for this project included university-based researchers with expertise in social research, policy research and analysis and participatory methodologies, and community-based researchers living with disability who brought a broad range of work and life experience to their research roles. The project examined the experiences of people in the NDIS in one of its trial sites, and explored the degree to which the scheme has been able to facilitate true choice and control for people with disabilities. The project also sought to identify what additional information and supports are required to better enable choice and control for service users.


University-based Researchers

Helen Dickinson, Public Service Research Group, School of Business, UNSW Canberra

Deborah Warr, McCaughey Community Wellbeing Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

Sue Olney, Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne

Anna Arstein-Kerslake, Disability Research Initiative, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Erin Wilson, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University

Community Researchers

Jen Hargrave

Amber Karanikolas

Vasiliky Kasidis

Georgia Katsikis

Jasmine Ozge

Dave Peters

Jacinta Wheeler

Michelle Wilcox



Warr, D, Dickinson, H, Olney, S, et. al. (2017) Choice, Control and the NDIS, Melbourne: University of Melbourne


Choice and control: the challenge of growing the NDIS, Life Matters, ABC Radio National, Wednesday 5 July.

NDIS may be exacerbating inequality for some with a disability, research finds, Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 24 May.

'Can the NDIS Deliver?', Helen Dickinson for Pursuit, Tuesday 24 May 2017

Will the NDIS and individualisation of disability services enhance human rights?‘, Helen Dickinson for Right Now, Monday 22 February 2016

Is Australia ready to give people with disability real choice and control over services?‘, Helen Dickinson for The Conversation, Tuesday 24 November 2015

Research Program

Disability and mental health