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Helpdesk Top 5: January 2020

Laptop on an office desk and people in the background


It has continued to be a busy month for the NDS Helpdesk team, regardless of the holiday period. The Top 5 questions and answers for this month focus on topics including the Royal Commission, claiming for supports when delivered by multiple workers, the guide to suitability, and the establishment fee.

Question 1:

The Royal Commission involves both Forums and Hearings. What is the difference?

Answer 1:

The purpose of community forums is to allow people with disability to tell their stories; they also provide some information about the Royal Commission process. These stories are not considered evidence, however they may become evidence if the person chooses to tell their story at a public hearing. While forums are attended by Commissioners, Counsel Assisting and others from the Commission, they are not official legal proceedings. People are generally asked to contact the Commission in advance if they wish to tell their story at a community forum.

Hearings, by contrast, are legal proceedings. Witnesses are called, asked to swear an oath or affirmation and questioned by Counsel Assisting. Hearings (public ones, at least) will be generally open to the public, livestreamed, and transcripts will be made available. 

The content of each is likely to be informed by a number of different sources of information received by the Commission – through submissions, information received from other bodies such as the Quality and Safeguards Commission, research, meetings with stakeholders, previous inquiries and reports, etc. Hearings often include case studies whereby the Commission investigates a particular incident or series of incidents which may have come to their attention in some way or another. They also look at systemic issues and call, for example, senior public servants to give evidence.

NDS summarises the end of each day of hearings for our members, and also covers some community forums. See the 'News' page on the Royal Commission Hub.

Question 2: 

Sometimes the delivery of a support requires two workers. How is this claimed?

Answer 2:

There may be instances where a participant requires the support of two workers. The provider would claim against the appropriate line item twice to bill for this support. The provider would ensure that accurate records are kept that evidence why two support workers were required at various intervals of the day.

Question 3:

When delivering SIL, how does a provider claim when the delivery of support requires two workers?

Answer 3:

Participants with high support needs, who require assistance with daily life tasks to live as independently as possible, may require a Supported Independent Living (SIL) quote and assessment to be done as part of their plan. The SIL quote is completed by a provider, and takes into account the broad needs and goals of a participant requiring support to live more independently in their own home, or in group or shared accommodation. SIL is quoted as an estimation of a person's support requirements over a 53-week period.

The provider would use the SIL Quoting Tool to inform the NDIA of a typical week for each SIL participant. Specifically, the tool aims to provide a mechanism for providers to communicate a participant’s quote with the Agency. This tool will detail the staffing mix, the level of shared supports, as well as their individual needs. The NDIA will be able to see the levels and variability of support and the informal support that is provided on a weekly basis.

Where there are instances that require two workers to support a single participant at one time, this information would be detailed and costed in the quote. When a participant requires a higher level of support, ensure you have provided sufficient information for the NDIA to make a reasonable and necessary decision. For example, mealtime assistance, transfers, incontinence support, etc.

When submitting further information or evidence, reference relevant attachments or cite the relevant section/page number of evidence so that the NDIA can refer to them directly and efficiently. (E.g. two person transfers is recommended in the OT report on page 6.)

A SIL information guide and other important resources include quoting templates can be found on the NDIS website.

Question 4:

Where is the NDIS Guide to Suitability and is it required for provider registration with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission?

Answer 4: 

The Guide to Suitability can be found on the NDIS website and now applies only to organisations operating in Western Australia. It is used in relation to registration requirements under the NDIA. When all other states transitioned registration requirements to the Quality and Safeguards Commission on 1 July 2019, the guide was replaced with documents relevant to the Commission’s requirements.

These documents include:

It is important to note that the policy guidance and rules stipulated by the NDIA, as found on the pages of the general website - including the operational guidelines and the Price Guide/Support Catalogue - remain relevant, include policy directives and should be considered in partnership with the above.

Question 5: 

Can the establishment fee be claimed when delivering a mixture of personal care/community access and other NDIS supports to meet the minimum 20 hours per month?

Answer 5:

The establishment fee is claimable when a provider delivers a minimum of 20 hours of personal care and/or community access supports per month. The fee is not claimable when delivering other NDIS supports or a mixture of personal care/community access plus other NDIS supports to meet the 20 hours. The purpose of the fee is to allow providers to develop a schedule of ongoing arrangements and to assist the participant to implement their plan within the organisation.

The NDIS Price Guide states:

"A budget of $750 is included in the first plan for NDIS participants, in case they need this type of assistance from providers to design and implement support arrangements. Providers can draw against this budget as follows:

  • If the participant is new to the NDIS and new to the provider, then the provider can charge a maximum of $500 against the participant’s plan;
  • If the participant is new to the NDIS but is an existing client of the provider, then the provider can charge a maximum of $250 against the participant’s plan; and
  • If the participant is choosing to change providers, then the new provider can charge a maximum of $250 against the participant’s plan to assist the participant in changing providers."

The Establishment Fee line item is 01_049_0107_1_1. The provider would enter the appropriate charge using the above guidelines when drawing down on this budget.

It is important to note that this budget is included in a participant's first NDIS plan, and not subsequent plans. See: NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue.

Have your own question? NDS members can post questions on the NDS Helpdesk for a fast and accurate repose.

    Contact information
    Savannah Jewell, Senior Policy and Project Officer, SDA, (03) 8341 4300,