Submission on the National Disability Strategy Outcomes Framework, December 2020
This is a submission to the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) on the draft National Disability Strategy (NDS) outcomes framework, and is made on behalf of investigators from the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH).
Monitoring implementation of and outcomes related to the National Disability Strategy (NDS) is essential for ensuring that the Strategy is effective in improving the lives of people with disability and achieving a fair and inclusive society in which people with disability can fulfil their potential as equal citizens. We welcome the opportunity to have input into the development of the NDS outcomes framework.
Our comments set out in this submission are based on the materials provided to participants at the ‘Researcher Roundtable - National Disability Strategy beyond 2020’ on 3 December 2020.
In providing our comments, we draw on our collective knowledge and research expertise in relation to health and wellbeing inequalities experienced by people with disability, and particularly on our recent experience with:
- Developing the Disability and Wellbeing Monitoring Framework and Indicators, with input from people with lived experience of disability; and
- Organising and contributing to, in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission, a Zoom webinar as part of consultations for the next National Disability Strategy.
Australia has previously lacked a comprehensive approach for monitoring and reporting on social, economic and health outcomes for people with disability in comparison with non-disabled people. Research published by CRE-DH in 2017 revealed that, across many aspects of life, inequities between working-age Australians with and without disability persisted, and in some areas worsened, over the period 2001 to 2016.
Monitoring, using reliable sources of data, is crucial to highlight inequalities that must be addressed and to identify levers for more effective policy action.
The CRE-DH developed the Disability and Wellbeing Monitoring Framework, in consultation with people with lived experience of disability, to measure and track inequalities between people with and without disability in relation to exposure to social determinants of health and wellbeing.
The Disability and Wellbeing Monitoring Framework has a hierarchical structure, with 19 domains grouped into three broad elements (Health and wellbeing, Social determinants, and Service system), within which 128 indicators are specified. It is possible to report nearly three-quarters of these indicators using existing Australian national data sources. For the remainder, national data are not currently available, highlighting important data gaps and the need for data development efforts. The CRE-DH is currently preparing to report national baseline data comparing people with and without disability, for all indicators where such comparison is applicable.
In Section 1, we provide specific comments on each NDS outcomes framework domain and list relevant indicators from the Disability and Wellbeing Monitoring Framework. Where appropriate, we suggest measures that may be considered for reporting as ‘headline indicators’.
In Section 2, we provide input concerning the following key issues and overarching considerations relating to the outcomes framework and its use over the life of the NDS:
- Co-design with people with disability, facilitated by inclusive processes, is essential in all aspects of the outcomes framework, including development, review and reporting.
- Indicators must relate explicitly to Articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD).
The outcomes framework must provide a comprehensive basis for monitoring outcomes for people with disability compared with outcomes for people without disability in order to track inequalities.
A commitment to regular public reporting is necessary for transparency and accountability.
The outcomes framework has a crucial role to play in improving national data relevant to people with disability, and should be developed and used with this in mind.
All measures must be fit-for purpose and should inform more effective policy and practice; therefore, the rationale for each measure must be clear.