How to become an NDIS service provider

How to become an NDIS service provider
Becoming an NDIS provider: where do I start?

Do you want to become an NDIS service provider? There are still opportunities to make a difference in your life and your community. In fact, this might be the best time start an NDIS business. Here’s an easy introduction.

Why register as an NDIS Provider?

The NDIS marketplace is still growing rapidly and there is still a need for expertise. The process of becoming an NDIS provider has never been so hassle-free. The compliance requirements for low-risk supports were reduced considerably in January 2020. There is more support available and more information about the NDIS marketplace than ever before. The NDIS Quarterly Reports and the State of the Sector Report 2019 may be a good place to start your business planning. And check the demand for services in your area using the interactive NDIS Demand Map.

What does success look like? According to our clients, it might be high growth rates, the satisfaction of making a difference in people’s lives, of managing their own business, of proving that their business idea can work, or of building their capabilities. Whatever success looks like to you, becoming an NDIS provider might just fit the bill.

Although unregistered providers can provide supports to NDIS participants who manage their own plans, businesses that want to access the larger NDIS marketplace must register with the NDIS. You must become a registered provider if you want to:

  • deliver services and supports to NDIS participants who have their plan managed by the NDIA
  • deliver specialist disability accommodation, use restrictive practices, or develop behaviour support plans
  • deliver services or supports to older people with disability who are receiving continuity of supports under the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Programme relating to Specialist Disability Services for Older People.

Maintaining your registration involves some costs. So it’s smart to research audit fees, and think about your clients’ NDIS plans and the supports you want to offer. It might not be profitable for you to register. Or, depending on the nature of your business, you might not need to.

How to register with the NDIS

There are currently two NDIS registration systems: one for Western Australia, one for all the other states.

In Western Australian providers must follow the registration process outlined on this NDIA webpage. After 1 December 2020 WA providers will be able to register through the NDIS Commission — as in other states.

To register in all states other than WA, you need to complete an online application through the NDIS Commission website.

The NDIS application process

Essentially, the application process has two stages. Firstly, the online application including an organisational self-assessment against the NDIS Practice Standards. Secondly, an audit to check that your business’ Quality Management System complies with the relevant Standards.

TIP: The NDIS Practice Standards is the main document used to assess compliance. It’s not a how-to manual. If you haven’t got expertise in community sector Quality Management, we advise that you find an NDIS Quality Management professional that you can trust. Get an idea of what you need to know and do, the costs involved in managing compliance and Quality, and the best way build your capability in this essential area.

Online Application

  1. Start your application through the NDIS Commission website. At each step, follow the links from the registration webpage.
  2. The application form contains questions about your key personnel (who are they), where you provide services, and what registration groups you wish to be approved for.
    TIP: Tick only the registration groups you intend to deliver within the next 12 months and actice service delivery sites. The number of registration groups and sites does affect how large your audit may be and the cost! If you plan to expand your services, or service delivery sites, you can add these later.
  3. The application will highlight the NDIS Practice Standards ‘Modules’ relevant to the registration groups you selected. Provide a response to each relevant standard based on your policies and processes.
    TIP: Our publication Core Module Audit Guide: Working with the NDIS Practice Standards will help you understand your Quality System and how to answer the self-assessment questions.
    TIP: If you don’t have policies in place, now is the time! Get in contact with PQplus.
  4. In the final step, the application asks for attachments.
    TIP: Attach your policies here.
    TIP: Make sure to press submit!
  5. Once submitted, you will automatically receive a ‘Scope of Audit’ letter.
    TIP: Errors sometimes occur, so check the details. You’ll need the letter, so keep a copy where you can easily find it.
  6. The approved auditing companies are listed on the Commission’s website. Send one or more companies your ‘Scope of Audit’ letter to obtain a quote. You’ll find the list of approved auditors on the NDIS Commission website.
    TIP: You are establishing a working relationship. Don’t just consider the auditors’ fees. That said, prices may vary widely.

What type of audit do I need?

For providers registering to deliver ‘low risk’ supports, you will require a Verification Audit. All other providers will need to undergo a Certification audit.

LOW RISK NDIS SUPPORTS:

  • Accommodation/Tenancy Assistance
  • Assistive Products for Personal Care and Safety
  • Personal Mobility Equipment
  • Assistance with Travel/Transport Arrangements
  • Vehicle Modifications
  • Home Modification Design and Construction
  • Assistive Equipment for Recreation
  • Vision Equipment
  • Community Nursing Care
  • Innovative Community Participation
  • Specialised Hearing Services
  • Household Tasks
  • Interpreting and Translation
  • Hearing Equipment
  • Assistive Products in Household Tasks
  • Communication and Information Equipment
  •  Management of Funding for Supports
  • Therapeutic Supports
  • Specialised Driver Training
  • Assistance Animals
  • Hearing Services
  • Custom Prostheses and Orthoses
  • Exercise Physiology and Personal Well-being Activities

HIGH RISK NDIS SUPPORTS:

  • Assistance to Access and Maintain Employment or Higher Education [Assist Access/Maintain Employ]
  • High Intensity Daily Personal Activities
  • Assistance in Coordinating or Managing Life Stages, Transitions and Supports [Life Stage, Transition]
  • Daily Personal Activities
  • Specialist Positive Behaviour Support
  • Assistance with Daily Life Tasks in a Group or Shared Living Arrangement [Daily Tasks/Shared Living]
  • Development of Daily Living and Life Skills [Development-Life Skills]
  • Early Intervention Supports for Early Childhood
  • Participation in Community, Social, and Civil Activities [Participate Community]
  • Specialist Disability Accomodation [Specialist Accom]
  • Support Coordination
  • Specialised Supported Employment
  • Group and Centre-Based Activities [Group/Centre Activities]

The NDIS marketplace is designed for innovation. So it’s sometimes unclear which support might suit your business. Don’t abandon the idea; get some advice from the NDIS or call the team at PQplus.

And for more information about audits, check out our Audit FAQs page!

Conclusion

There are still tremendous opportunities available in the NDIS marketplace. There are things to think about too. Before registering to become an NDIS provider, develop a strategy for dealing with Quality and compliance Management. Think realistically about how to reinforce your current capacity with the help available. And calculate the cost of compliance into your business plan. If you have questions that you can’t answer, we can. And you’ve got our number.

We wish you every success! – the PQplus team.