How closely do support coordinators work with plan managers and other providers to assist participants to manage their funding?
KW – We work very closely with all stakeholders for the participants we support. We believe a collaborative approach is important to achieve the best outcomes. We do however respect participants who choose that we don’t connect with certain providers.
DB – Most communication is always going to be directly with the person. A lot of the time, when there is a need to contact a plan manager, that can be done together with the person. It’s networking in action. Reading budget statements, creating service bookings, discussing in advance which supports are going to be sought and approved are all processes that can be done together with the person.
EH – How closely a support coordinator works with the plan manager and other providers will depend on the participant and the assistance they need. All support coordinators should aim to increase the skills and abilities for a participant to control their NDIS plan and have the choice of who and how services are delivered.
Typically, the input a participant needs to assist with communication with providers is directly related to either their capacity to manage unknown situations or the amount of time they have to devote to NDIS administration. I encourage all participants to make choices around how much support they need and encourage them to do as much as they can – this means that they are in control. This however will vary between participants and can even vary for a participant depending on their situation on the day.
Letting participants know that all they need to do is contact me and let me know what is happening and that they need help has meant that most of my participants are normally willing to do many parts of the management, knowing that I can provide assistance at the drop of a hat.
There are participants that have requested I work more closely with the providers and plan managers to assist them. However, in saying that, nothing is done without the participant’s consent or knowledge. While I may be the person assisting the participant, the participant is always the one that makes the decision.
ZD – As a specialist support coordinator/support coordinator, and qualified social worker, I probably go above and beyond for my participants in working very closely with their plan managers and other service providers in managing their funding.
The majority of my participants’ plan managers send me monthly budget statements so I can keep track of their spending – if they don’t, then I call the plan managers to email the budget statement to me.
I make the time to check every single one of my participants’ budgets on a monthly basis to see whether I might need to conduct an early plan review or plan reassessment if funds are getting low too early. If I see certain parts of a participant’s plan has been unused, I will contact the participant/carer and speak to them about starting to use that particular part of their plan and what supports they can use it for, informing them that they will lose that part of their funding in their next plan if they do not use it.
AT – I personally work closely with plan managers, I find them to be helpful (the decent ones). I have had experiences with the not so decent plan managers and have had to educate them so to speak on a participant’s budget.