Congratulations, you’ve completed your NDIS registration and accessed PRODA! It deserves fanfare, as you’ll soon be helping participants achieve their NDIS goals. But you might be wondering, What’s the next step?
Our ‘Getting Started’ series answers that question, offering practical advice to ensure your Plan Management service can support participants in the best way possible. We’ll simplify the complex and answer some hard-hitting questions.
In this post, we’ll explore the Governance and Compliance framework for Plan Managers. Sounds tricky? Don’t worry; we’ll unravel it for you, share must-read resources, and summarise some of the key requirements for Plan Managers.
The NDIS has heaps of resources relating to Plan Management, for both participants and Plan Managers alike. We recommend staring with this section on the NDIS website. It’s even got in-depth Frequently Asked Questions which is updated regularly. For instance, should you advise a participant’s providers when their NDIS funds are low? Nope, contact the participant directly!
You should also check out the following:
But okay, we hear you. That’s a lot to read and we haven’t even got to the day-to-day work of Plan Managers. After you’ve familiarised yourself with those policy related documents, let’s turn our attention to the basics you’ll need to follow…
Sign a service agreement with the participant. This agreement will be in place for the duration of their Plan and should outline roles and responsibilities, how your service will be delivered, how long payments take, any relevant fees, how to resolve disputes, and how to end the agreement.
Determine how the participant will submit invoices. For instance, what details do you require in invoices? How do you want to receive invoices and how do participants authorise them? Can they nominate their favourite providers, whose invoices are automatically approved?
Validate invoices. Ensure invoices comply with NDIS price guide, tax invoice requirements, and also the goals in the participant’s Plan. Importantly, a Plan Manager doesn’t assess whether the supports are ‘reasonable and necessary’ or what supports a participant can access.
Process invoices within 5 business days. If there’s an error, you’ll need to alert the participant so the issue can be resolved. If you can’t process them, you have to tell the participant!
Disburse NDIS funds within 2 business days. Once you receive payment from the NDIS, you need to disburse those funds quickly – within 2 business days. This includes reimbursements to a participant.
Ensure robust security processes are in place. To store and maintain a participant’s information, you need to ensure everything is secure. This almost goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway!
Keep accurate, up-to-date records. This will ensure you not only perform your Plan Manager role, but also meet compliance requirements. These records also serve another purpose…
Provide regular statements (at least monthly). This could even be digital information shared via a dashboard or portal on the financial status of a Plan. The participant needs to easily see their Plan expenditures and what balance they have remaining. You also need to notify the participants of Overspending or Underspending when that occurs.
Check the providers you’re paying. Importantly, inform the participant of the NDIS Commission’s compliance and enforcement actions registers and do not pay invoices to a provider or individual with an active banning order.
Provide reports for a participant’s Plan Review. This is also the case if a participant chooses to change Plan Management services. If the latter, you’ll need to assist the transition. Discuss when they’re starting with the new Plan Manager, as you’ll pay all invoices up until this time.
We’ve discussed what you need to do as a Plan Manager, but what does ‘best practice’ look like? The bare minimum doesn’t cut it in the NDIS; participants deserve the right tailored supports to achieve their NDIS goals.
The NDIA’s best practice recommendation is to provide access to real-time monitoring of Plan funds, through a variety of communication methods that include online portals/apps, phone, or email.
We recommend you investigate how software solutions can help you meet these requirements, so you can focus on winning participants, delivering them a great experience, and supporting them to have a fighting chance to achieve their NDIS goals.
Best practice is also about knowing the technical, which we explore in our very next post. Read on and discover the tools at your fingertips.
This series is co-written by Clickability and LanternPay. For more information on Clickability, or for more helpful guides just like this one, visit www.clickability.com.au. For more information on LanternPay and its claim payments platform, visit its website.
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