The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports more than half a million people living right across Australia. To be able to deliver the NDIS in a way that works at a local community level, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) partners with community based organisations.
The local community organisations work with people with disability to help them with their support journey and are called NDIS partners.
The partners of the NDIS include Local Area Coordinators (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) partners operating in different areas across Australia.
These organisations know what support and services are available in your community and can explain how the NDIS system works, as well as where other Government services are needed instead.
The NDIA may also refer to these organisations as part of the Partners in the Community (PITC) program which helps with delivering the NDIS.
Over 70 percent of NDIS participants are supported through LACs or ECEI partners.
Local Area Coordinator partners
LACs assist the NDIA in working with you as a participant to set goals as well as prepare and implement your plan.
These organisations have been selected as partners for their deep understanding and knowledge of disability and its impact on individuals, families and carers.
LACs have three key roles:
- Linking you to the NDIS
- Providing you with information and support in the community
- Working with your local community to make sure it’s both welcoming and inclusive for people with disability
For many people, LACs are the main contact point for the NDIS. Not just for those already with a plan, but also for those wanting to get approved for NDIS funding.
Once your request to be part of the NDIS has been approved, you will be notified and a LAC representative will contact you to arrange a planning meeting. The LAC will work with you to put your plan together and will send it to the NDIA for approval.
It’s important to remember that while the LAC puts your plan together and submits your plan, they don’t approve it. This is the responsibility of the NDIA only.
Early Childhood Early Intervention partners
The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) program supports young children who have a disability or developmental delay.
To deliver the best outcomes for children up to the age of six, the NDIA has teamed up with early childhood partners who specialise in this age group to provide advice, assistance and support in the community.
These organisations have a sound knowledge of the early childhood approach and work with other Government departments, such as the Education Department, to make sure children are getting the best developmental supports.
NDIA managed areas
In most cases, people entering the NDIS will communicate with their LAC about their plan. However, some regional and remote areas are not serviced by a LAC partner.
Similarly, ECEI partners don't tend to be located in remote or very remote areas. The NDIA recommends that if you have concerns about the development or disability of your child, you should first discuss it with your family doctor, a child health nurse, an early childhood educator or a health professional.
If you don't have a LAC or ECEI partner in your area, the NDIA will work with you directly to connect you to supports in your area.
The NDIA is working on appointing partner organisations to work in more of the remote areas of Australia to deliver supports that better suits each community, but this process is taking some time due to issues of remoteness and finding the right providers.
You can find a list of the different NDIS partners across Australia on DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au and contact details for each of the organisations.
How does your NDIS partner help you or your child? Tell us in the comments below.