Editors Note: It is important to remember that a computer program / IT project is only as good as those who program it, design the system and test it out. I don’t know if the problem was caused in the specification design process, or the NDIA simply failed to undertake any or adequate participant / service provider testing. It is hard, nigh impossible, to believe that the agency undertook comprehensive or adequate testing; simply put they would have detected the overwhelming deluge of unacceptable errors and not released the portal.
Many Australians were justifiably outraged at last week’s IT glitch that prevented them from completing the census online.
While the debacle may have cost precious time, it is unlikely that anyone lost money as a result of it.
Spare a thought then for the Hunter National Disability Support Scheme providers whose livelihoods have been threatened as a result of another government IT failure that has prevented them from receiving payment for services.
The new portal, which is the primary interface through which providers receive payment, has not worked properly since its installation in July.
Many of those affected are small businesses who rely on a steady cash flow in order to stay afloat. Most will tell you they feel their complaints about the portal have fallen on deaf ears.
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To make matters worse, the National Disability Support Scheme is now the only source of disability support funding which these Hunter-based businesses can draw from.
Few would be surprised that some of those who are owed up to $50,000 are considering taking legal action in an attempt to recoup their money.
Others, such as dietician Nicole Donnelly, are questioning whether she wants to make her services available to the scheme.
It’s hard to imagine a worse start to a government program that is designed to improve the quality of care on offer to those with a disability.
For it’s part, the government has launched a review into the portal’s collapse.
It has also launched a series