This is the first post in our blog about some of the common confusions and inconsistencies we’ve heard from people coming out of NDIS planning meetings.
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 unavailable.
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:
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.
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. (Libby Ellis In Charge)