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RC hears accusations of child sexual abuse

The present hearing is focusing on First Nations children in out-of-home-care via a number of case studies.
News update
News update

Vic COVID-19 Update: Three new regional LGAs under lockdown restrictions

The City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, and Mitchell Shire are required to implement the same restrictions as Melbourne and the City of Ballarat from Monday, 20 September. 

Clarifying the role of NDIS intermediaries

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The role of intermediaries in the NDIS has been the source of some confusion. The NDIA defines intermediaries as individuals or organisations that support a participant to connect and coordinate their supports; they include financial intermediaries (plan managers), Support Coordinators, and Local Area Coordinators (LAC).NDS is aware of concerns raised by service providers that LACs are not including Support Coordination in participant plans because they are delivering Support Coordination and Connection themselves. Under their contracts with the Agency, LACs are not allowed to harvest revenue from recommendations they make regarding a participant’s plan and they do not deliver Support Coordination, Support Connection or plan management as NDIS-funded supports.Support Coordination is an NDIS funded support delivered by registered providers, intended to build participants’ capacity: to navigate the NDIS and key processes; to link to community and mainstream supports; to resolve service delivery issues; to maintain relationships; and to coordinate, monitor and implement supports. Participants with high levels of complexity will generally receive Support Coordination in their plan. (For more information, please refer to the NDIA’s fact sheet on Support Coordination.)If Support Coordination is not included in a participant’s plan, they will receive support from the LAC to implement their plan. The only circumstance in which a participant would receive both Support Coordination and support from an LAC is if the participant wants to explore alternative housing options. In this event, the participant would receive Support Coordination in their plan only for the purposes of exploring alternative housing options.It is anticipated that (as the NDIS unfolds) LACs will support 60% to 80% of NDIS participants to develop and implement their plans. If it’s judged to be reasonable and necessary, an LAC planner can include Support Coordination in a participant’s plan. The LAC does not authorise funding for a participant’s plan.Plan management is an NDIS-funded support delivered by NDIS-registered providers. Plan managers deliver financial intermediary services to assist participants by managing their payments to registered and non-registered NDIS service providers. Plan management supports will be included in an NDIS plan if requested by a participant, subject to certain restrictions outlined in the Plan Management Rules.As the NDIS rolls out across Australia, intermediaries will be increasingly important in influencing the development and implementation of participant plans. NDS members report confusion regarding the roles of Support Coordinators, plan managers and Local Area Coordinators, highlighting the need for the Agency to clarify its expectations of intermediaries.The NDIA recently reviewed the role of intermediaries, recognising that the intermediaries market has not developed in line with its potential. This is attributed to factors including the lack of clarity regarding the roles and expectations of intermediaries, low participant use of intermediaries, and existing policy settings relating to payments and inconsistent access to participant plan information. These issues mirror concerns raised by NDS members.The review proposed changes to address the key issues, including the capability for participants to add an intermediary to their account, which would allow an intermediary to see a participant’s plan. The intermediaries review also highlighted the NDIA’s ongoing concern about providers delivering both Support Coordination and other funded supports and the impact this may have on participant choice and control. NDS encourages providers to maintain robust conflict of interest policies and procedures, including a complete separation of Support Coordination from the delivery of other supports, to ensure that any associated risks are appropriately mitigated. NDS will continue to monitor the NDIA’s policy position closely in relation to the delivery of Support Coordination and other supports.Intermediaries have a key part in ensuring the NDIS’s success, but there are barriers limiting their role at present. The findings of the NDIA’s Intermediaries Review will contribute to the recommendations of the provider and participant pathway review.

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