A Guide to NDIS Service Agreements

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) allows for much freedom and flexibility for both plan participants and providers. This participant-first mindset enables NDIS participants to truly enjoy managed supports that move them toward their plan goals.

On the provider end, NDIS support providers are able to cultivate superior service by delivering personalized supports to their valued clients.

With this freedom comes the necessity to verify that the services being requesting will be the services that are actually received.

It’s understandable that misunderstandings can arise when two parties are trying to work together toward a common goal. This is why creating NDIS service agreements for every service provider you work with is so important.

If you’re a provider, you should also have NDIS service agreements on your mind. In fact, most NDIS support providers have standard service agreements. It’s actually very easy to create a service agreement on your own if you haven’t already.

Let’s cover the basics of how, when and why to use NDIS service agreements.

What Is an NDIS Service Agreement?

NDIS service agreements are documents that you draft up detailing what’s included in every support. The simplest way to look at a service agreement is to call it a “promise” between two people.

It details services promised in exchange for payment. With NDIS service agreements, you’re specifically detailing supports that providers will be providing.

Keep in mind that the plan participant is the “payer” in this scenario even though all approved costs for NDIS support providers are covered by the NDIS.

Do You Need a Service Agreement?

Technically, the NDIS does not require plan participants or providers to have service agreements in place in order to have their supports funded. However, this is truly something that all NDIS plan participants and providers should seriously consider.

A service agreement protects both the plan participant and service provider by outlining the specific services and terms that are in effect. It also sets clear expectations regarding the services that will be provided.

Having everything down in writing brings new levels of clarity and accountability to a participant-provider relationship. For participants, this “contract” ensures that a support provider understands their obligation to deliver supports in ways that align with your plan.

Due to the freedom that the NDIS provides with allowing participants to choose their own providers, this is very important.

For providers, NDIS service agreements set clear parameters regarding the nature of the supports provided, the frequency of the supports provided and how to handle disputes.

What Should an NDIS Service Agreement Contain?

Sitting down to draft your NDIS service agreement can be a very empowering and exciting experience. This is really a chance to take control over your own care to set expectations that will ultimately lead to more cohesive support.

While there is no formal template for NDIS service agreements, there are some key bullet points to cover when drafting your own contract.

Here’s a rundown of the points that should be included in NDIS service agreements:

  • The plan participant’s name, address and contact information.
  • The support provider’s name, address and contact information.
  • An itemized list of the types of supports being provided. You can refer to the NDIS Support Item Numbers in the official NDIS Price Guide.
  • An outline of the provider’s responsibilities and duties that are to be upheld.
  • An outline of the participant’s responsibilities and duties that are to be upheld.
  • Consent for creating service bookings.
  • Delivery method for supports (home, travel or medical visits).
  • Length of the support relationship.
  • Cost-per-service rates and total cost for all services.
  • Privacy considerations regarding the collection, use or disclosure of a participant’s personal information.
  • Cancellation policies.
  • Change policies.
  • Policies for arbitrating complaints, conflicts or problems that may arise.
  • A timeline for how frequently the NDIS service agreement will be reviewed.
  • Any special terms or conditions that are specific to a participant’s support needs.

If you’re a plan participant, you ultimately have freedom to determine many of these policies on your own.

For instance, you might want to stipulate that an in-person or virtual meeting is required every time one party wishes to make a policy change within the agreement. You may also stipulate that any conflicts or questions that arise will be overseen by a trusted third party.

If you’re a plan provider, you want to protect your ability to provide your best work by including points that enable you to do just that!

What to Consider When Making a Service Agreement

You should approach your NDIS service agreement with the attitude that you will need to enforce it in the future.

Don’t be afraid to be thorough! Address the potential scenarios that are likely to come up in this type of professional relationship.

An NDIS participant’s plan goals should be taken into account within a service agreement.

What Should You Do With Your Service Agreement?

Once your fully drafted service agreement has been signed by all parties, simply keep a copy stored away for your records.

If you’re concerned about losing a paper copy, scan the contract to email yourself a “receipt” copy. Both the plan participant and support provider should have their own copies.

If you’re a plan participant with a Plan Manager, you can also consider giving extra copies of all NDIS service agreements that you sign to your Plan Manager.

Who Can Sign a Service Agreement?

Both the plan participant and support provider should sign an NDIS service agreement.

There is no need to have any formal “authority” from the NDIS sign or oversee the contract.

However, you can consider having a third-party “witness” also sign the document for added peace of mind.

Assistance With Service Agreements

Don’t worry if the idea of whipping up new NDIS service agreements for every support seems a little bit overwhelming. There are plenty of ways to get assistance with this.

If you’re a plan participant, your NDIS Local Area Coordinator may be able to help you with this task. Your personal Support Coordinator should also be able to help.

You can also ask each service provider if they already have a standard service agreement.

In many cases, the contract that a service provider uses covers all the same bases that you would add to your own participant-generated agreement. You may find that simply receiving and signing that contract is enough to leave you feeling protected!

If you’re an NDIS support provider looking for help with creating your service agreement, you can ask other providers how they handle NDIS service agreements.

Start inquiring on provider forums and websites to see some sample NDIS service agreements. There’s also the option to hire a solicitor to draft up a service agreement for you.

Always keep in mind that NDIS service agreements are not meant to be “combinative” measures. The goal is not to “catch” the other party engaging in negligence or wrongdoing.

In fact, NDIS service agreements actually preserve relations between participants and providers by ensuring that everyone is on the same page from the first day!

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