Results of 2019 NDIS survey

PACFA’s College of Counselling recently conducted a survey of members about experiences with the NDIS. Thank you to all members who took the time to participate in the survey.

346 people participated in the survey indicating a great deal of interest in understanding the opportunities available to PACFA members as NDIS providers, and how to navigate the NDIS system. 

Of the respondents, the majority (188 or 54.34%) said they are sole practitioners, while only 32 (9.25%) said they are in practice with others.  Responses suggest that being a sole practitioner poses challenges meeting the application and audit requirements to become and remain an NDIS Provider. With the perception that the NDIS is geared towards working with larger organisations, being in practice with others could mean sharing some of work and costs associate with being audited.

Results indicated that PACFA members are already working with clients with a wide range of disabilities: Psychosocial (70.72% of respondents); intellectual disability (45.22% of respondents); physical disability (49.57%) and cognitive disability (49.86%).

Just 46 survey respondents said they were already registered as NDIS providers while 299 are not registered.

Those that are already registered gave a range of reasons for being NDIS providers, including:

  • To allow people of all abilities/disabilities to have access to therapeutic supports
  • Following a request from an NDIS participant to provide a service
  • Having a background in working with disability
  • Making a useful difference for people with a disability and their families
  • To expand business opportunities
  • Having the NDIS recognise existing qualifications and be paid accordingly

PACFA members should be aware that it is not mandatory to be registered to be a provider if clients are plan-managed (have their plans managed by an intermediary) or are self-managed. Registration is only required where the client’s plan is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). However, being registered increases your exposure as a provider. If you are registered, your details are available in the NDIS Portal to participants and support coordinators. This includes clients who are plan-managed.

Of those who had not applied to be NDIA providers, 138 (46%) indicated difficulties with the application process, the cost of audits, and administrative requirements. For example:

  • “The paperwork and requirements for a sole provider to become registered are unrealistic”
  • “I was registered but did not renew as the system is onerous as provider”
  • “I withdrew due to expensive auditing requirements”
  • “I have heard many practitioners are deregistering from NDIS due to cost and the significant administration required”
  • “The process is too expensive for me as a sole trader”
  • “The process is daunting”

249 suggestions were made as to how PACFA can help and these can be summarised as follows:

  • Advocating to the NDIS to reduce the costs to be a provider, in particular the audit costs
  • Advocating to the NDIS to make the process to apply for NDIS registration simpler
  • Advocating that registration should be automatic for registered practitioners
  • Information on eligibility and the requirements to be an NDIS provider
  • Guidelines and step-by-step instructions on how to apply
  • Information on how to get NDIS referrals
  • Support with the Audit process including policy templates
  • Professional development on the NDIA – what is it and how does it work
  • Professional development on the process of applying to be an NDIS provider
  • Professional development to develop the skills required to work with disability including psychosocial disability

PACFA’s plans around the NDIS

The College of Counselling Leadership Group and the PACFA CEO will be considering these and many other suggestions received from the survey in order to develop support for members who are NDIS providers or who are interested in becoming providers.

PACFA is a member of Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA). AHPA has been advocating tirelessly for improvements to the design and rollout of the NDIS. PACFA has joined AHPA’s NDIS Working Group in order to contribute to efforts to influence government decisions on the NDIS.  Participating in this group will help strengthen PACFA’s capacity to advocate for changes to the NDIS that will benefit our members.

AHPA has a substantial grant from the Commonwealth Government to develop an online learning package for health professionals wishing to apply to be NDIS providers. This will be a valuable resource for PACFA members who wish to apply, helping them navigate the complicated NDIS application process in a cost-effective way.

Applying to be an NDIS provider

For information on how to apply to be an NDIS provider, see the PACFA website.

In WA, provider registration is overseen by the NDIA until 31/6/2020 when it will move over to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission).

PACFA has developed a Resource Kit for prospective NDIS Providers in WA. This provides detailed instructions on how to apply. PACFA Registrants may obtain copy of the WA Resource Kit by emailing the PACFA Office.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission provides national consistency regarding the provision of safe and quality services for NDIS participants. It oversees provider registration for the rest of the country. Counsellors who are currently registered providers, or who are looking to become providers, must submit to an audit process as a requirement to be registered.

PACFA is still in the process of developing a Resource Kit on how to apply to be an NDIS provider via the NDIS Commission. To get started, please see the Providers page at the NDIS website.