Service provider readiness
Over the past year, the Agency has registered a multitude of new organisations, or service providers, who have joined the Scheme for the first time. As at 30 June 2016, just over 3500 providers were registered to deliver supports under the Scheme. This represents an increase of more than 1500 providers over the 2015-16 financial year.
Providers are individuals or organisations that deliver a support or product to a participant of the Scheme. Participants have choice and control over the providers they engage to deliver supports in their plan, regardless of how their plans are administered. However, supports provided for participants whose plans are administered by the Agency (‘Agency managed’ plans) are claimed directly from the Agency and must be supplied by a registered provider in the Scheme.
The Scheme creates new and expanded opportunities for providers to be able to supply innovative and personalised supports to people with disability in an open market.
Historically, disability funding has been provided directly to providers by governments or services delivered by governments directly. Central to the Scheme is a shift to directing funding and resources to Scheme participants who will then drive and shape the market (just as in many other commercial markets) through their individual choices of the providers to deliver the supports in their plans. This fundamentally changes the funding relationships that have characterised the disability support system in the past and delivers purchasing power to consumers.
Once the Scheme is fully implemented in 2019, the level of expenditure on disability supports will more than double the current level, reaching approximately
$22 billion per year, supporting around 460 000 participants.
This means that the market will expand dramatically in the coming years, creating significant opportunities for existing service providers and for new entrants.
In 2015-16 the Agency continued its ongoing engagement and active consultation with existing and prospective Scheme service providers. The Agency further developed pricing and Scheme design work including the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Decision Paper on Pricing and Payments on 1 June 2016.
The service provider pathway
In 2014-15 a provider pathway was developed which references the administrative interactions between the Scheme and providers. This framework is outlined through the NDIS Provider Toolkit that was developed and delivered in 2015-16 in preparation for full Scheme rollout. The NDIS Provider Toolkit assists individuals and organisations that want to become a registered provider under the Scheme. The Agency recognises that the expectations of providers and the systems that they need to navigate are changing dramatically under the Scheme. The NDIS Provider Toolkit includes answers to the most frequently asked questions from providers about aspects of the Scheme and has a focus on systems and processes. It also references key elements of the Agency’s operational policy, which providers also need to understand.
The primary relationship will be between participants (as consumers) and the providers they choose within a vibrant and competitive market.