NDIS Plan Management
A Service Agreement between an NDIS Participant and their provider(s) is not mandatory under the National Disability Insurance Scheme unless a participant is entering into Specialist Disability Accommodation. The National Disability Insurance Agency do however recommend having a written service agreement in place for the engagement and delivery of supports under an NDIS Participant’s NDIS Plan. We at Canny Plan Management agree.
Whilst a verbal arrangement or the understanding generated through a gentleman’s handshake can be considered an agreement, a written service agreement is more reliable. The terms and conditions – the details of the expectations and obligations of both the participant and the provider are stated in writing. There is no legal requirement to enter into a service agreement, nor are there any specific requirements for what is to be included. A service agreement is, however, legally binding as it is a contract and is covered by Australian Consumer Law. In context to the NDIS, a service agreement needs to be fair and does not override the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 or the rules in the National Disability Insurance Scheme Pricing arrangements and Price Limits.
A Service Agreement does not need to be and should not be complicated. Ideally, it is written in plain English without any legal jargon so that it can be easily read and understood. A Service Agreement defines the supports to be delivered enabling an NDIS Participant to have choice and control as is their right under the NDIS person-centred model. Although there are no legal criteria for what is to be included in a Service Agreement, as an NDIS Plan Manager, Canny Plan Management recommends that a Service Agreement for the provision of NDIS Supports should at a minimum include:
- The parties to the Agreement
- The time frame for the Agreement
- Responsibilities of the parties
- Type of support to be delivered
- The specific support to be delivered
- When the support will be delivered
- Travel – including rate per kilometre
- Prices and costs
- Report writing (if applicable)
- Feedback and complaints process
- Options to a review of the Agreement
- Signatures or verification of acceptance and agreement
In essence, the who, the what and the how the support or service is to be delivered.
NDIS Participant; The Who
The who are the parties to the Agreement.
The parties are simply who the Service Agreement is between. The parties are the participant and their authorised plan nominee or delegate, and the provider. The provider can be a person if a sole trader, or a company or an organisation. If a participant would like another person to act on their behalf to enter into a Service Agreement in context to their NDIS Plan, a Consent for a Third Party to Act on Behalf of a Participant form needs to be submitted to the National Disability Insurance Agency.
The responsibilities of both the participant and the provider under the Service Agreement should be written into the Agreement so as the obligations and expectations of both parties are understood and agreed upon.
Help To Manage Your Funding; The What
The Service Agreement should outline the purpose of the agreement and provide details on the agreed supports to be provided.
A generic Service Agreement can be used, but a tailored Service Agreement appropriate for the type of support is less risky and not as easily open to differing interpretations.
The claims made by a provider under the terms of a Service Agreement need to comply with the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits. Including the specific support(s) and hours in the Service Agreement is important as the NDIS provides for over 800 specific supports, many of which have different price rates dependent on the skill and qualification of the person providing the support, the day of the week, and time of the day or evening when the support is delivered and differing levels of support dependent on the needs of participants.
Subject to the rules in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, providers are entitled to claim travel expenses for time and kilometres travelled associated with delivering the support but can only do so if first agreed to by the participant. Whereas there are restrictions on the amount of time that can be claimed, there are no restrictions on the number of kilometres or the rate charged per kilometre. As a guide, the NDIS consider 0.85c per kilometre to be reasonable.
The Service Agreement should include the rate to be charged for delivering the support. For NDIS Plan Managed or Agency Managed participants, the NDIS will only fund up to the amount as cited in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits applicable at the time the support was delivered. Where a rate exceeds the NDIS limits, the participant is expected to pay the difference.
The Service Agreement should also include provisions for National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) requested report writing, as a provider can only claim report writing if requested by the NDIA and agreed to by the participant in advance.
Many NDIS supports are GST free:
- Participant has a current NDIS Plan at the time the supports were delivered
- The supports being delivered are reasonable and necessary within the context of the participant’s NDIS Plan and the disability for which the NDIS is providing funding for supports
- A written agreement is in place between the participant (or a person delegated to enter into an agreement on behalf of the participant) and the provider
- The support is one which is identified in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax)(GST free Supply – National Disability Insurance Scheme Supports) Determination 2021
Under the Determination, many, but not all supports are GST free. A Service Agreement should identify if the supports being delivered and subsequently claimed are GST free or not. For further information, please refer to the Australian Tax Office – National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Wanting to know more on GST – we put this article together that touches on To GST Or Not To GST – That Is The Question to answer some of the most common questions we are asked by providers and our participants.
Servicing The Service Agreement; The How
The duration of the Service Agreement should be identified as a commencement date and an end date, or if an ongoing Service Agreement, the time period either party is required to give the other party if and when they wish to end the Agreement.
It should also include the options for review and changes to the Agreement.
The accountability for the delivery of the support as agreed rests with the provider. A Service Agreement should include information on the processes for a participant to provide feedback, be it a compliment, a dispute or complaint directly to the provider and the contact details for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
A good Service Agreement will also include a list of definitions of words and terms used in the Agreement in context to the NDIS and the support(s) identified in the Agreement.
Finally, both parties need to sign the Service Agreement as evidence that the terms and conditions have been read, understood and agreed to. Depending on the format of the document, this may be a signature, notation of verbal acceptance or a digitally generated signature. Both parties should also receive and retain a copy of the signed Agreement for their records and referral if required.
For participants entering into a new Service Agreement with a provider or reviewing a current Service Agreement, the NDIS have produced a hand and useful checklist: Things to consider when making a service agreement.
Further information about Service Agreements for NDIS supports can be found on the NDIS website.
Canny Plan Management + Help With NDIS Funds
Canny Plan Management are real people from real walks of life.
Our team have experience and expertise in the disability sector. We care about you and help you achieve your goals and aspirations – this also includes ensuring that you have the right Service Agreements in place for your support(s). Trust, expertise and understanding are what you want to be looking for when it comes to signing Service Agreements.
Canny Plan Management offers a personal NDIS Plan Manager dedicated to helping you understand and manage your NDIS Plan. Get in touch with our team to have a chat and ask us the questions that you have to see if we will be a good fit to form part of your support network and ensure that your Service Agreements have you and your needs at the forefront.