It’s important to find the right expertise to get the outcomes you want. The right doctor, hair colourist, business adviser or coach can make all the difference and help you to achieve better results.
Similarly, the right provider can make a huge difference to your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) journey and help you to remove barriers and get on with living the life you want to live.
We’ve created a checklist to help you engage the right providers (and avoid those who aren’t the right fit) so you can achieve the outcomes you’re after as quickly as possible, and save time, stress and distraction from your NDIS goals.
The checklist contains everything you need to know and ask before signing a service agreement so you can avoid common mistakes – like engaging a provider who’s not qualified to serve you.
How to use this checklist
Once you’re ready to choose a provider, you can work through this checklist to help you make a more informed decision.
This is a great step to take before committing to a provider through a signed service agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the services they’ll provide and can commit you to using them for a set period of time. Here’s a little more information about setting up service agreements with your NDIS providers.
Don’t forget, if you aren’t happy with a provider you’re using, you have every right to change.
Be sure to bookmark this checklist to help you find it more easily when you need it!
Before contacting a provider:
- Search online to check their company history and any media coverage you can find about their business and the people who work in it.
- Check online reviews to see what other people (especially clients) are saying.
- Find out if they’re local, which can help reduce travel costs charged to your NDIS budget.
- Do some research to find out if they’re qualified and have the skills to provide the support you need and want. Or just ask them. Remember, it’s not all about qualifications – demonstrating understanding and experience is also important.
- Find out if they’re NDIS registered or not. It’s not compulsory, but registration indicates they meet certain standards and are experienced in the NDIS, which can add confidence and certainty and help prevent potential roadblocks that you may encounter with the Scheme. If they’re NDIS registered, their website may show the NDIS registered business badge. Remember though, a lot of smaller providers aren’t registered, and that doesn’t impact on the quality of their services or their customer experience.
Tip: If you have a support coordinator or a Local Area Coordinator (LAC), they may be able to provide a safe space for you and the provider to meet in person before you commit to using their services. This is a good time and place to ask questions, if you have them.
Once you’ve contacted a provider, here’s what you can do next:
- Check how much they’ll charge and ask your LAC or support coordinator if it’s within the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits. This can help gauge if their pricing is fair.
- Ask if they have a history of similar supports and if they can share some of the outcomes they’ve helped others to achieve.
- Check their availability to see if it fits with your schedule.
- Ask who will directly provide the supports and if you can meet them. A good provider fit can frequently come down to personality.
- Check if anyone else can step in to attend a support session if they’re not available, to ensure continuity of supports for you.
- Check their terms and conditions, especially for appointment cancellations and for stopping services.
- Ask yourself whether they seem to have good communication. This can help with navigating complex processes and fixing potential problems as they come up.
- Make sure you feel heard, understood, prioritised and respected. Do they listen to you? A good way to gauge this is if they answer your questions before signing a service agreement.
- Look at the questions they ask you. Are they asking questions that indicate their expertise, professionalism and care – for example, about developmental milestones or impacts of your disability – before they direct you to sign a service agreement? This can be important for helping to understand if they have the skills and ability to support specific or complex needs and to verify if they’re the right fit for you.
- Find out if they will adjust their services to your needs and preferences, or if it is more of a one-size-fits-all offering. Can they provide spaces to deliver supports to wheelchair users? Will they offer early morning sessions, before you become fatigued by the day? Do they travel to meet with you, or do you have to travel to them? These are all important and valid questions.
We hope this checklist gives you more confidence and certainty with choosing your next provider.
We’re here to help
If you have any questions about your plan – like what it will fund or how to use it – we’re here to help. No question is too tricky for our plan management experts, who’ll give you more confidence and certainty with using your plan.
You can email us at [email protected] or call us on 1800 861 272 from 8am-6pm (SA time), Monday to Friday.