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14 October 2021

How to become an NDIS registered provider.

There are more than 22,000 NDIS registered providers in Australia. But that’s only a fraction of the overall number of organisations and individuals that support more than 466,000 NDIS participants and their families.

Many providers choose to stay unregistered because the process for getting registered can be lengthy and expensive.

So should you think about becoming an NDIS registered provider? Today we discuss the pros and cons so you can determine if it’s right for your business.


Who can use NDIS registered providers?

NDIS participants who have plans that are Agency (or NDIA) managed are only eligible to use NDIS registered providers. That equates to around 20% of NDIS participants.

Participants who choose to work with a plan manager like Leap in! or self manage can use any provider whether they are registered or not. Around 31% of participants self manage or partially self manage and 49% are plan managed.


Why become an NDIS registered provider.

  • Offer services or supports to NDIS participants who are Agency managed
  • Be listed on the NDIS website
  • Display the NDIS registered business badge
  • There may be competitive advantage in demonstrating that your organisation meets the rigorous NDIS requirements for providers, particularly if you are offering complex services
  • Be a preferred provider for Agency managed participants who can only use registered providers.


Why you may choose to stay unregistered.

  • The cost and paperwork associated with the initial audit and renewals
  • No need for annual audits although businesses do have to comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct
  • Concentrate on servicing the 80% of participants who or are plan managed, self manage or have a combination plan
  • The market is shrinking. The proportion of participants choosing to be Agency managed is steadily decreasing – from 43% in June 2019 to 20% in June 2021.[1]

If you’re not an NDIS registered provider and prefer to stay that way, one of the benefits of your clients using Leap in! as their plan manager is they can access and work with both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.


Top tips for becoming an NDIS registered provider.

Here are some tips if you are thinking registration may be worthwhile for your business.

  • Give your business time to go through the process. There’s quite a lot of paperwork involved so it’s best to do things systematically so you are accepted the first time.
  • Review all the background information before you get started, including the NDIS Practice Standards and the Suitability assessment process guide
  • Be sure to complete and submit your application form within 60 days or it will expire and be deleted.
  • Use a specialised company to manage the process instead of doing it yourself. They do this every day and know what steps to follow.
  • Only include the services that you currently provide, not those that you are considering offering in the future. This will reduce audit costs and save time now.


How to apply to become an NDIS registered provider.

The following is a summary of the information from the NDIS website. There is no cost to submit an application to become a provider. However, you will have to pay for the associated audit.


Step 1: Start an application

Start your application on the NDIS provider portal. You’ll need to include contact details and information about your organisation’s structure, places of operation and key personnel.

Select the registration groups (types of services) your organisation provides.

Complete a self-assessment against the NDIS Practice Standards. Upload relevant documents as evidence.


Step 2: Select an approved auditor

Select an approved quality auditor to undertake the audit. The NDIS will email an ‘initial scope of audit’ with details about the registration requirements that apply to your organisation. This will confirm whether your organisation requires a ‘verification’ or ‘certification’ audit.

  • A verification audit is required for lower risk/lower complexity supports and services.
  • A certification audit is required for more complex or higher risk supports and services.


Step 3: The Audit

Auditors take into account the organisation’s size and scale, and the scope and complexity of the services being delivered. They will work with you to understand their findings and give you the opportunity to ask questions. The outcome of their audit is submitted to the NDIS Commission through an online portal.


Step 4: Assessment

The NDIS will consider the audit and conduct a suitability assessment of your organisation and key personnel. The NDIS will let you know if your application has been successful and explain why or why not.


Step 5: The outcome

Successful applicants will receive a Certificate of Registration indicating the services or supports they are registered to provide and any conditions they must follow. Unsuccessful applicants may request a review within three months.


More about the assessment process.

The NDIS Practice Standards outline the quality standards you’ll need to meet. These standards consist of core modules which must be completed by all applicants and supplementary modules which may need to be completed depending on the type of service and support your business provides.

“Module” used in this context refers to the standards that apply, the desired outcome and the indicators that need to be demonstrated.


Core modules.

The core modules which must be completed by all applicants include:

  • Rights and responsibilities for participants such as providing person-centred supports, individual values and beliefs, and privacy and dignity
  • Governance and operational management such as risk, quality and information management
  • The provision of supports such as access to supports, support planning and service agreements
  • The support provision environment such as management of medication and waste, and providing a safe environment.


Supplementary modules.

These cover more specialised services such as:

  • High intensity daily activities
  • Specialist behaviour support
  • Implementing behaviour support plans
  • Early childhood supports
  • Specialised support coordination
  • Specialist disability accommodation (SDA).

A specialist NDIS provider registration company can walk you through the steps and help you collate all the relevant information.


Need to renew your registration?

Providers can submit a formal renewal in the final six months of their registration via the NDIS Commission portal.

Each renewal process also generates a scope of audit which is required to be completed by an approved auditor. For more information, check out this handy guide to NDIS registration renewal.


Handy resources.


Further reading

Busting the myths on non-registered providers.

Global trends for diversity and inclusion in business.

7 tips for providing remote support for clients.