Last week’s blog introduced CUSP and the services we’re bringing to the Disability Sector nationally, as well as why we think this service will be critical to small and medium-sized providers. Our Foundation partner, Skylight Mental Health, has been working with CUSP in co-designing the service to ensure they are the best fit, operationally, strategically and commercially for organisations.
Skylight is an SA Mental Health NDIS provider which continues to challenge the broader community to see mental health differently. They provide support and information, build community awareness and advocate for improved mental health policies and services. Their role within the NDIS is essential – to bring choice and control to the people who need it most. Skylight values lived experience and peer-led programs, using them to enhance well-being and strengthen resilience.
We interviewed Adam Dunkley, General Manager Corporate Services to see why Skylight selected CUSP.
Adam was instrumental in engaging CUSP to work with Skylight and setting up and managing the initial engagement. Adam’s role encompasses business development, finance, IT, human resources, marketing, and driving business transformation in preparation for the NDIS.
What challenges face Skylight as it transitions to an NDIS environment?
Skylight welcomes the opportunity to be accountable to its ‘customers’ despite the fact that the transformation required to transition to the NDIS brings challenges for all disability organisations, with Skylight being no exception. The scheme offers excellent outcomes for eligible participants and Skylight is investing significant time and effort in our transition to ensure we are well placed to support the community through the scheme.
Adam went on to list some of the challenges facing Skylight during this process. These are:
• Communicating the changes and impact to our participants, and providing support to access the scheme
• Managing corporate overhead costs
• New technology
• Workforce planning and meeting new workforce requirements
• Transition arrangements with current funding bodies
• Quality accreditation – maintaining quality with rapid and significant change
• Change management and culture
• Business modelling/planning/costing and pricing
Did Skylight investigate other solutions before deciding on an external Shared Service?
Skylight has traditionally used implementation services and then managed most services in-house. Prior to engaging CUSP, Skylight was installing a CRM and was planning to maintain the system and associated functions internally. While we planned for a level of ongoing maintenance, we recognised the opportunities of automation, process improvement and efficiency as the system evolves and refines.
Why did Skylight choose CUSP?
Building the broad and high levels of technical expertise internally is a challenge, so it was attractive to move towards Skylight doing what it is best at – providing mental health support – while outsourcing our technology requirements.
Cost was a driver. We eventually want to reach a transactional pricing model to better manage the fluctuations expected in NDIS income. Drawing on CUSPs Technical expertise is a benefit, allowing us to better focus on supporting our participants and community.
Partnership. We have built a solid relationship with CUSP and know that our work will be continually developed in partnership. CUSP has demonstrated that they can appreciate the nuance of our work in Mental Health.
How important were the costs of the CUSP service to your decision?
As a foundation customer, our pricing and arrangement is unique, but the clear strategy of CUSP to provide services at an NDIS viable price is critical ongoing. We could see that CUSP appreciates that with tight corporate overheads set by the NDIA, their services must sit in a strict price bracket to succeed.
Can you speak to any of the advantages since the introduction of Cusp?
The shift has been well received and there has been no holdup in the evolution of reporting outputs. We are pleased by the data and reports we are receiving. Staff take-up has been very encouraging. While we anticipated a cultural shift and even some pushback, we have been very pleased with the results so far. CUSP is viewed as a positive step toward delivering quality NDIS services and CUSP’s engagement with Skylight staff has been well received.
There has been an expectation and demonstration of the willingness of CUSP to participate in problem-solving and to take us forward rapidly with improvement initiatives and new efficiencies. The CUSP leadership team has been an excellent resource to support our business.
What would you suggest to other disability providers in this space looking to transition to the NDIS themselves?
From a technology perspective, getting a scalable CRM is very important. It is not about what the system can do today, it is about what can it become as the sector matures, as your organisation develops better systems/automation in HR, Marketing, Finance, Quotations, Invoicing, Customer engagement etc. Consider the merits of outsourced expertise.
I can see that CUSP is ideally placed in a significantly growing marketplace. It can feel like overwhelming complexity everywhere you look in NDIS transition. Working with CUSP has enabled us to focus our energies on our core work – the people accessing our services.
We have a genuine partnership with CUSP and built significant trust from the outset. Skylight feels like our decision to work with CUSP puts us on the front foot as we deliver NDIS services in Mental Health. Our participants and carers will benefit from more efficient back office functions.
If you’d like more details on CUSP and how it could help your organisation, please reach out directly to our General Manager, Rod Paine. Rod can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or on mobile 0407 513 163.