Applying for ILC Grants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)


Posted on

November 12, 2020

The ILC (Information, Linkages, and Capacity Building) program hosted by the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency, Australia) has recently opened a grant opportunity on GrantsHub and Community Grants Hub for ILC organizations across Australia to apply for and receive grants from the NDIA for the purpose of “Individual Capacity Building” within the disabled community. According to the guidelines made available by the NDIA, the objective of the Individual Capacity Building Program is to enable systematic, nationwide access to peer support, mentoring and other skills-building for people with disability, caregivers and families, delivered primarily by a national network of Disabled Peoples Organisations, Families Organisations and/or Priority Cohort Led Organisations. 

This grant opportunity is part of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant program, which contributes to the National Disability Insurance Agency’s Outcome 1.2 –Community Inclusion and Capacity Development Grants. Organizations nationwide are trying to move closer to serving the purpose of the ILC program in the NDIS and get funding for their work. It is a ripe opportunity for people looking for a way to participate in the ILC with the help of online platforms. ILC is the most important and the only part of the NDIS that is almost completely dependent on online business platforms including a website. 

Why ILC?

While the primary purpose of NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) was to provide financial aid and all kinds of practical support to the people who have significant lifelong disabilities, it has now expanded to include another type of support for the disabled community too. It now includes and covers for and provides grants for its Information, Linkage, and Capacity building program too. As it was evident that spreading awareness about the available resources and opportunities among the disabled community is necessary for NDIS to serve its true purpose, another important disability and deprivation were noticed in the disabled community. 

Most of the disabled do not have enough participation in their society or community to ensure a constant stream of information towards and from themselves, nor do they have a strong support system in their society based on linkages within that society. Increasing their capacity to benefit from NDIS funding and all other support schemes available is another very important purpose that the ILC program is here to fulfil. It aims to help the disabled community gain information, build linkages, and maximize on their capacity to participate in social activities – boosting their confidence and enabling them to achieve the best lifestyle they can within a community. 

Why ILC Organizations Can Function Best Through a Website 

It is not hard to understand that a person not only needs financial support to thrive within a community but also a lot of social linkages, awareness, and capacity to participate in all kinds of social activities and occasions and events taking place. Without that capacity, the funding they receive may give them physical ease or luxury, but it cannot possibly account for the emotional wellbeing they need to actually thrive within their society. Therefore, ILC projects are a key element to the entire purpose of the NDIS, and there are grants specified for ILC projects that can help them deliver value to the disabled community.

In a previous article, we discussed how an ILC project’s first and most important need is a website as that is what allows it to start, build, and maintain communication within the disabled community and well as between it and the normal society. Connecting the disabled with the enabled is one of the key purposes that the ILC scheme is for, and that is a purpose that, as we discussed, can be well served by a website with a good SEO and all the essentials in place. Conveying information is also a purpose that can be most efficiently served through a website as this is the age of the internet and no other modes of communication are nearly as successful. 

Individual Capacity Building Program

The ILC program receives many different types of grant opportunities – one of which is the Individual Capacity Building program. According to Community Grants Hub, Australian Government, 2020, The NDIA or the National Disability Insurance Agency is inviting applications in an open competitive process to apply to deliver services under the Individual Capacity Building Program from 2020-21 to 2021-22.

The Program aims to ensure:

  1. People with disability have the skills and confidence to participate in and contribute to the community and protect their rights through an increase in: 
  • skills and capacity
  • motivation, confidence and empowerment to act
  • participation and contribution to community.

2. Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) and Families Organisations (FOs) are strengthened in their capability to deliver services for people with a disability through: 

  • Improving the organisation’s capacity and ability to deliver the organisation’s mission and Information, Linkages and Capacity Building in the community.

There are two streams of funding available:

  1. Individual Capacity Building – activities that build the capacity of people with disability by ensuring that they have the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to participate and contribute to community and speak up for themselves. Proposed activities must be for the benefit of people with disability.
  2. Organisational Capacity Building – activities that improve the ability of Disabled Peoples Organisations and Families Organisations to achieve and strengthen their organisational mission and to deliver Information, Linkages and Capacity Building in the community.

The ILC program is associated with four types of funding schemes, one of which is the Individual and Organizational Capacity Building program and the other three are as follows:

  • National Information Program – providing accessible, quality and consistent information about disability types and services and support options (community and mainstream). At this time, there is no round planned during 2020.
  • Economic and Community Participation Program – increasing the social and economic participation, including employment outcomes, of people with disability. This program is anticipated to open in mid-2020.
  • Mainstream Capacity Building Program – ensuring equity of access to and increase inclusion of people with disability in mainstream services. This Program is anticipated to open in mid-2020.

Eligibility for the Individual Capacity Building Program 

There are several factors to take into consideration while deciding to apply for an ILC grant – the most important ones from which are discussed below. 

Disabled Peoples Organization (DPO)

This is the first type of organization that can qualify for applying for an ILC Grant. The first and most key criterion you need to meet in order to be eligible for an ILC Grant provided by NDIS is – the type of members your organization is comprised of. A DPO must be comprised of disabled people to be eligible for the funding. The organization should be, as directed by the NDIA, running for and by the disabled. 

It is preferable for the ILC organization to be comprised of people with all kinds of disabilities so that the input they receive on their efforts to build linkages, convey information, and enhance capacity is always relevant and complete. Although the organization can have members from only one type of disabled group like the ones with autism, those organizations will be preferred which have included members from as many major disabled groups as possible. 

The decision to prefer one organization over the other while approving applications is made on the basis of fulfilment of these criteria, and applications are compared to choose the most suitable ones – in other words, the fittest survives. There is no fixed metric that can help you be in the safe zone as your organization will always be in direct competition with other ILC organizations for the allotment of ILC grants. 

Alignment with the Social Model of Disability 

Another key criterion for the eligibility of a DPO is its alignment with the social model of disability. The organizations that are in close contact with the disabled and are composed of the people who are themselves suffering from significant disabilities that greatly hinder their routine life as well as their participation in their community will be preferred. The disabilities that are less crippling and do not have a significant damaging effect on one’s life like dyslexia may not be considered strongly aligned with the social model of disability as the social model considers mainly those people who are unable to function properly in various ways due to much more significant disabilities. 

Functioning of a DPO

It is very important for a DPO to also fulfil the purposes listed by the NDIA as the key functions of a DPO that it performs within a community. A strong alignment with all those purposes and “value for money” are also very important. 

According to the guidelines given by the NDIA, a Disabled Peoples Organisation is an organisation that seeks to do one or more of the following:

  1. Increase the knowledge, skills and capacity of people with disability and their families through information, advice, mentoring, peer support, training and development.
  2. Be a collective voice of and for people with disability and families.
  3. Assist people with disability to make the most of their packages of support.
  4. Build the capacity of the community to welcome all people.
  5. Share the collective lived experience of people with disability to empower other people with disability to have voice, choice and control.
  6. Uphold and be guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Many of these key purposes can be met with the help of an ideal ILC website designed for and by the disabled. A website can contain and convey content to empower the disabled by increasing the capacity of the community to welcome all people. It can also be used to share collective lived experiences of the disabled as mentioned above and help the disabled who have yet not reached that level of confidence or determination increase their willpower and move forward with a heightened motivation and deep inspiration. It can also empower people to have more voice by allowing them to share their stories and inspire more like them to have greater choice and control over their lives. 

Family Organizations (FO)

Another type of organizations that can qualify for a grant under the individual and organisational capacity building program is that of family organizations that meet the following two criteria:

  1. Strong alignment with the social model of disability as described above. 
  2. Run by and for carers and families of disabled people to support and empower them. 

The functions of this type of organizations as specified by NDIA are:

  • Support and enhance the health, wellbeing, capacity and resilience of families and carers.
  • Design and deliver supports or services for families and carers.
  • Consult with and act as a voice for families and carers.
  • Encourage families and carers to recognize and be aware of their own needs.
  • Identify gaps and highlight unmet needs of carers.

All these purposes under the capacity building scheme can be met with a website that has the right content and the right functionality and allows people to communicate in a way that they find motivating, inspirational, and empowering. Caregivers should know their own rights and make sure that they are fulfilled by the right level of funding and support. 

These two types of organizations qualify for funding in the Individual Capacity Building scheme and can sufficiently fulfil their purposes with the help of online platforms that convey information and connect people to each other.