There are many benefits to plan management. One of the biggest advantages is having the flexibility to choose any service provider, whether they are registered with the NDIS or not.
That means you have access to many more options for finding supports like allied health services, support workers and assistive technology, especially if you are located in rural, regional or remote areas.
So, what’s the best way to go about choosing a new provider? It’s helpful to plan and research to ensure you find the right provider for your needs.
Refresher – registered and unregistered providers.
First up, a quick refresher on the difference between registered and unregistered providers:
- Registered provider: An individual or organisation who has been through the NDIS registration process and provides services and supports to people on the NDIS.
- Unregistered provider: Any other individual or organisation that provides services or supports and is not registered with the NDIS. Many individuals and businesses do not become registered providers. The process can take time and is an investment.
Know what you need from each provider.
Before looking for a provider, consider what supports you need and how they connect to your NDIS goals.
- What are your must-haves for this support?
- What would be nice to have?
- How often do you need assistance, and for how long each time?
- How much funding in your NDIS budget do you have for this support? Check the NDIS price guides if you’re not sure of the price range.
Ensure the support meets the ‘reasonable and necessary’ test. It should be related to your disability, help you achieve your goals and represent value for money.
Do your research.
Now that you know what you need, do some research to determine if they meet your requirements. Talk to the provider, look up their website and check out any reviews.
- Does the provider deliver all the supports you need?
- If not, what is missing and is this important?
- Is the provider suitably qualified and experienced?
- Is the provider regularly available for the days, times and at the location you need them? Are they flexible if these need to change?
The Leap in! Provider Network Directory has a huge list of providers. Search for providers in your area, by diagnosis or condition or by the type of services offered.
Talk to other customers.
In the same way an employer checks references before hiring someone, ask people who work with providers how things are going for them.
You can learn a lot from online testimonials, forums, social media, or people in your community. Find out what they like and dislike about the provider and if there’s anything they’d want to change about the service they’re receiving.
Meet the provider.
Meet with your potential provider face-to-face or via a video call before making a decision. Take a list of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask about all the things you need to know before reaching a decision.
Trust your gut feelings – if you feel uneasy, ask yourself why. If you’re still unsure, keep looking until you find a provider that ticks all the boxes and that you feel comfortable with.
Get a quote.
When you’ve chosen a suitable provider, ask for a quote that you can take to your NDIS Plan meeting. You can also use these to compare how much each provider charges and any differences in the services offered.
Negotiate a service agreement.
It’s a good idea to negotiate a service agreement with each provider, so everything is in writing. It also means less likelihood of confusion or misunderstandings about your mutual obligations.
A service agreement should cover:
- The support/service provided
- Your responsibilities
- How to end or change an agreement
- What to do if you have a problem
- How payment will be made for the services.
We’ve written an article on The importance of service agreements that explains this in more detail.
Ready to try plan management?
Plan management is one of the options you have for managing your NDIS funds. With Leap in! plan management, you don’t just get to choose your own providers! We are here to help you at every stage of your NDIS journey.
Get support to manage your NDIS budgets, someone to look after your NDIS invoices and bookkeeping and expert advice on how to make the most of your NDIS funds.
Originally published 5 September 2019, updated 1 February 2022.