This is the sixth post in our blog series about some of the common confusions and inconsistencies we’ve heard from people coming out of NDIS planning meetings. We’ve been responding to some of these as they’ve come up. If you’ve heard anything else about the NDIS process that doesn’t sound quite right, please let us know!
To recap on what these things are, plan management is one of the three ways you can manage your NDIS funds. With plan management, you have the flexibility to pay for both registered and unregistered providers with your NDIS funds. Once your plan is approved, your Plan Manager (who will need to be NDIS registered) will deal with the financial and administrative side of your plan, and can do some service co-ordination tasks as well.
Plan management is great if you want more control over how your needs are met but you either don’t want to deal with the financial and administrative side of things, or the procedural decision around the float for self-managers (which is currently being challenged) makes self-management unviable.
Supports Coordination (or ‘Coordination of Supports’) is when someone helps you to implement your plan, to get started and find services and supports in your local community. If you receive supports co-ordination, it is a separately funded part of your Plan [within this link, do a search for ‘Coordination of Supports’].
The development of Supports Coordination is a construct developed by the NDIA. The role of Supports Coordination includes:
- Supporting implementation and identifying options for all supports in the plan, including informal, mainstream and community, as well as funded supports,
- Strengthening and enhancing people’s abilities to coordinate supports and participate in the community, reach decisions and develop agreements with support providers, and
- Building people’s capacity to achieve greater independence, self-direct supports in the longer term and understand funding flexibility.
What’s all this code for? Supports Coordination is far more than “just” case management. At a forum run by the NDIA in Sydney on 2 December, it was stated that Supports Co-ordination is about helping to put people’s desires for different outcomes into effect. It was also about looking beyond funded supports. Supports co-ordinators play critical roles in linking people to mainstream services and facilitating the acceptance of and engagement with those services and organisations.
More information about Supports Coordination can be found here.
Although there can be overlap between ‘plan management’ and ‘supports coordination’, you can also see that the two also have key differences.
We’ve heard that people are having difficulty in their first NDIS planning meeting because a question is being asked along the lines of ‘How do you want your plan managed?’ Then there is a list that includes both supports coordination and plan management, and you can only choose one of these options.
But what if you want a Plan Manager to help manage your NDIS funds AND you need supports coordination to help implement your Plan and work out what to spend those funds on?
Based on the direct experiences of people in their planning meetings, if this happens in your planning meeting, we suggest that you choose ‘supports coordination’, and then ask for ‘plan management’ to be noted in the comments or elsewhere as an additional request.
Why? Because the option to plan manage your NDIS funds is not subject to the ‘reasonable and necessary’ decision-making framework. Plan management is your legislated right as per Section 43 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (unless you have ever been insolvent, which is the same if you want to self manage). Because Supports Coordination is subject to the ‘reasonable and necessary’ framework, you need to make sure you ask for it in your meeting, state why it is ‘reasonable and necessary’, and select Supports Coordination when asked ‘How do you want your plan managed?’ It is very important that these arguments as to why Supports Coordination is ‘reasonable and necessary’ are recorded appropriately in the main part of the data collection process, rather than just noted somewhere.
If you follow the above and your plan still comes back as ‘agency managed’ (this is actually happening to people), then you are less likely to need to request a Review, because plan management is not subject to the ‘reasonable and necessary’ framework. What you would need to do is get in touch with your NDIS planner or LAC and get this changed. If you don’t get a timely response, you would then need to follow the complaints process.
We hope this has been helpful. As always, if information you’ve heard from the NDIA contradicts anything we’ve written here, please leave a comment below or send us an email.
If you’d like to learn more about Supports Coordination, check out some of the services InCharge provides here.