Co-design Advisory Group February 2023 Communique

The purpose of this communique is to detail the key outcomes of the Co-design Advisory Group’s 16th meeting, which took place on Tuesday 14 February 2023.

The primary purpose of the Co-design Advisory Group is for the Independent Advisory Council (IAC), Department of Social Services (DSS) and the disability sector to provide strategic advice to the NDIA on the implementation of co-design and engagement processes within the disability community.

The Co-design Advisory Group works collaboratively to:

  • ensure disability community perspectives on issues facing the NDIS are represented
  • gather feedback on the co-design priorities and approaches with peers and members, and
  • provide and receive strategic advice on the design, implementation and evaluation of co-design and engagement.

The following members and NDIA representatives were in attendance.


  • Shannon Rees, A/g General Manager, Communications and Engagement


  • Ross Joyce, CEO, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Skye Kakoschke-Moore, CEO, Children and Young People with Disability Australia
  • Dwayne Cranfield, CEO, National Ethnic Disability Alliance
  • Catherine McAlpine, CEO, Inclusion Australia
  • Sharon Boyce, IAC
  • Jennifer Cullen, IAC
  • Leighton Jay, IAC
  • Julie Yeend, DSS
  • Trish Drury, DSS

NDIA representatives

  • Shannon Rees, A/g General Manager, Communications and Engagement
  • Donna Purcell, NDIA Participant Advocate
  • Liz Callaghan, Branch Manager, Co-design and Engagement
  • Sam Bennett, General Manager, Policy, Advice and Research
  • Jess Walker, Branch Manager, Agency Policy


  • Matthew Wright, Director, Sector Engagement and Advice
  • Melissa Young, Director, Co-design and Engagement
  • Phillip Wakefield, Assistant Director, Sector Engagement and Advice


  • Leah Van Poppel, IAC

Meeting summary

The Chair acknowledged the Traditional Owners of the land, paying respect to their Elders, past and present, and also paid respects to people with disability.

NDIS Review update

The Chair in her role as A/g General Manager, Communications and Engagement provided an update about the NDIS Review and noted the NDIA has welcomed the Review and is working closely with members of the NDIS Review panel. The Chair advised members who wanted to engage with the NDIS Review to do so via their website, as the Review is independent from the Agency.

The Chair noted that the Agency will speak with the NDIS Review about meeting with the Co-design Advisory Group in the future.

Evaluation of co-design process request for tender update

The Chair provided an update on the Evaluation of Co-design Process request for tender, and noted the following:

  • an Approach to Market was sent in January to 7 suppliers for the provision of consultancy services to undertake an evaluation of the Agency’s approach to co-design, and closes 20 February 2023.
  • the evaluation plan for the review of responses has been drafted, and the evaluation committee is currently being formed.


Members requested that representatives from the CAG be included as part of the Evaluation Committee for the Evaluation of co-design process tender.

CAG members will nominate two representatives to be part of the evaluation committee to review applications.

Support for Decision Making policy process

The Chair introduced Catherin McAlpine, CEO Inclusion Australia to lead a discussion about the co-design process for the Agency’s Support for Decision Making policy.

Catherine outlined in general a very positive experience of consultation with people with intellectual disabilities but that there remain lessons to be learned and areas where improvements can be made. The evaluation of the process remains a work in progress as we continue to evaluate the impact of co-design engagement on the policy outcome.


Donna Purcell, NDIA Participant Advocate, and Sam Bennett, General Manager, Policy, Advice and Research took an action to explore developing Agency guidelines to cement the lessons learnt from this project, and effectively support people with disability’s voices being represented in future policy engagement initiatives.

Co-design Projects Update

The Chair introduced Sam Bennett, GM Policy, Advice and Research, to provide an update on co-design.

  • The Support for Decision Making policy has been shared with the NDIS Review, following Steering Committee review.
  • The Participant Safeguarding policy is to be presented to the NDIA Board in March 2023.
  • A face-to-face workshop was held in Melbourne in December 2022 with members from the health sector to discuss the Home and Living co-design project.
  • The Agency is continuing to focus on short- and medium-term improvements to the Agency’s Information Gathering and Planning policy while being flexible and responsive to recommendations from the NDIS review.

Mr Bennett asked for feedback from the attendees about guiding principles for the Agency’s co-design approach to policy in 2023.


Members requested the opportunity to review the proposed guiding principles in further detail and provide feedback at a later date.

Members highlighted the importance of communication from the Agency regarding any co-design approach undertaken.

The Careless State- Precis

The Chair introduced Leighton Jay from the IAC to speak about The Careless State, written by Mark Considine. The book critiques the market-based approach to social services.

Meeting close

The Co-design Advisory Group meeting concluded.

The next meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday 14 March 2023.

If you have any feedback or questions about the Co-design Advisory Group, please email [email protected].

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