Previous systems of supporting people with disabilities differed depending on the state or territory where those receiving the support lived. This led to a fragmented approach where disability service providers giving support across state and territory borders had to deal with different bodies and regulations. This system was also generally under-funded, inefficient and gave little choice to participants.
The NDIS aims to change all that, delivering a national approach that is the same for everyone and gives much more clarity and opportunity for those receiving and providing support. All participating state and territory governments contribute funds to the NDIS, which are held and administered by the NDIA through a governing board. A separate NDIS board is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the NDIA.
An intergovernmental agreement for the NDIS launch was signed in late 2012 and roll-out of the scheme began in July 2016 when it became available to all eligible residents of the Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales and South Australia followed in July 2018, then Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory in July 2019. That left only Western Australia, which finally accepted the scheme in July 2020.
The national nature of the scheme means that, in theory at least, providers would need to register only once with the national body and then be able to provide support anywhere in the country. However, Western Australia has chosen to deliver the scheme through its own Western Australia NDIS authority and govern it with an independent board. This means that separate registration is necessary for anyone or any organisation providing support within Western Australia.
The registration process
If you’re planning to provide support and services anywhere but Western Australia, registration is through the NDIS Commission. This body ensures that services are provided safely, competently and consistently, identifies what can be improved and resolves any problems.
The process involves the submission of information and evidence, and will require either a desk-top audit or a site auditor visit to check compliance and competence. This will depend on the size of your organisation and the service groups you register for, which will denote the complexity of services provided.
Until 1 December 2020, when the NDIS Commission takes over, the NDIA remains responsible for registering and regulating providers in Western Australia. Therefore, until then, if you wish to provide services in Western Australia, whether you also operate elsewhere or not, all information for registration will be submitted to the NDIA. As part of the process, you will need to prove that you comply with Western Australia Quality and Safeguards requirements and, if your application is successful, you will receive a registration certificate.
The registration decision
Many organisations, particularly small outfits providing relatively simple services, don’t register for NDIS at all. In so doing, they seek to avoid the time and expense required for the registration process.
Although you don’t have to register with NDIS to provide services and supports for scheme participants, you will not be able to take on participants with plans managed by the NDIA and so will be limited to self-managed and plan-managed clients. Additionally, even some of these may be reluctant to use the services of unregistered providers due to doubts about their competence. You’ll also have to comply with the competency, quality and safety requirements of the NDIS whether you are registered or not.
Given the drawbacks of not registering and the fact that only a single registration is necessary from 1 December 2020, the process may well prove advantageous. PROVIDERplus can help to make the registration process as simple as possible and ensure you’re more likely to succeed at the first attempt. To discover how PROVIDERplus can help you, visit www.providerplus.com.au