Choice, control and the NDIS

To what extent is the National Disability Insurance Scheme achieving its aims and objectives from the perspective of people with disability?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) promises to ‘support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers’. Comparable schemes in other places and contexts have struggled to give people real choice and control over the services and support they need, especially people with disabilities. This research, which included and consulted with people with disabilities, captured participants’ experiences of the NDIS in the Barwon trial site. The findings revealed that while some people were better off under the NDIS, the pace of its rollout was leaving some people behind.


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, Hargrave J, Karanikolas A, Kasidis V, Katsikis G, Ozge J, Peters D, Wheeler J, Wilcox M, 2017, Choice, control and the NDIS: Service users' perspectives on having choice and control in the new National Disability Insurance Scheme, Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne

Journal articles

Devine A, Dickinson H, Brophy L, Kavanagh A & Vaughan C (2019) '"I don’t think they trust the choices I will make." – Narrative analysis of choice and control for people with psychosocial disability within reform of the Australian Disability Employment Services program', Public Management Review

Olney S & Dickinson H (2019) ‘Implementing the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme: implications for policy and practice’, Policy Design and Practice


Taking the pulse of the NDIS, The Policy Shop Podcast, Thursday 21 December 2017

How the NDIS is faring so far, ABC Radio Darwin, 16 October 2017

Choice and control: the challenge of growing the NDIS, ABC Radio National Life Matters, 5 July 2017

NDIS research presented to MPs, Parliament of Victoria, 26 June 2017

The NDIS costs are on track, but that doesn’t mean all participants are getting the support they need, Helen Dickinson for The Conversation, 15 June 2017

NDIS may be exacerbating inequality for some with a disability, research finds, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 2017

'Can the NDIS Deliver?', Helen Dickinson for Pursuit, 23 May 2017

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

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