Administering inequality? The National Disability Insurance Scheme and administrative burdens on individuals

Gemma Carey, Eleanor Malbon, James Blackwell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Over the last 30 years, governments have sought to give citizens greater choice and control of the public services they utilise. As a result, we have seen the creation of various forms of public sector markets, including through contracting and tendering processes and, more recently, by utilising individualised or ‘personalised’ care budgets. Under the latter, individuals are given money to purchase services that meet their needs. There is growing evidence that personalisation schemes may actually be entrenching administrative burden, due to their unprecedented emphasis on individual skills and advocacy. Moreover, reviews internationally have found that such schemes tend to be administratively complex. This paper uses a systematic review of existing research to explore experiences of administrative burden within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We found that the scheme is administratively cumbersome overall, and that burdens are exacerbated for particular social groups. We apply concepts of habitus and capital from Bourdieu to theorise why burdens are experienced differently by different groups, and how to address this in practice. In doing so, we can see that addressing exclusion within the NDIS requires us to move away from problematising individuals to including those individuals in different stages of the design and implementation of administrative systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)854-872
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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