Part 3 - Setting up your business: working as a provider under the NDIS
Last time, we looked at registering yourself as a provider under the NDIS. Let's explore some of your ongoing responsibilties as a provider:
Step 3: Ongoing responsibilities
Once you become a registered provider, there are responsibilities you will need to uphold as well as suggested small business strategies that will ensure you can provide a valuable service and remain viable moving into the future. For ongoing running of your service and small business it is recommended that you:
- Have a service agreement template (these are then individualised based on each participant’s needs and plans). A service plan includes things like where the sessions will take place, how many there will be, what the cost will be, how sessions can be cancelled by both parties and how the agreement can be ended by either party.
- Maintain competence in your area of experience by undertaking professional development and engaging in strategies that keep your skills updated. If there are areas of the NDIS work that you want to expand into, it is important that you upskill yourself in these areas clinically. It is also important if you have admin staff, that you look at how you can upskill them in understanding the NDIS.
- Maintain financial records ongoing and records of the work you have completed. You will be able to track the financial ‘budget’ for your cases on the NDIS portal to some degree. It is also recommended, however, whether you are a registered NDIS provider or not, that you keep a record of all income and all expenses and invoices that you provide to clients.
- Market your service to provide information regarding your benefits, services, and how you will engage potential clients and current clients, and provide value for your fees. Making contact with local planners is not a bad idea, remember, however everyone else is most likely going to do that as well! Providing a service that is exceptional and meets the client’s needs is the best way to create great word of mouth.
- Develop systems to manage the safety of yourself and your clients. This may involve a risk assessment and finding areas of your practice that you may need to improve. Don’t forget about privacy of your clients when doing this.
- Maintain your required business policies & procedures. These will include how you will book people in, what you will charge, how you will chase outstanding debts, how you will collect information from clients, and maintain privacy.
A little note about Quality Assurance & Safeguards:
Until the implementation of a national quality management framework for NDIA registered providers, you still need to be mindful of existing state & territory-based systems that will continue to ensure participants have access to high quality services that achieve their goals which are free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. This means that you may be required at the time of registration to demonstrate your capacity to comply with these existing standards.