What is the Participant Service Guarantee?

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Changes are being made by the Government to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to give people with disability better outcomes around plans and decision making.

Key points

  • A new law will make the NDIA more accountable
  • The Participant Service Guarantee, which is part of the law, requires that the NDIA meets timeframes for decisions
  • There are timeframes for decisions about your access to the NDIS, plan reviews and complaints

The Government has just passed a law that will allow these changes to be permanent.

One of the major changes in the law is the Participant Service Guarantee, which holds the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the agency responsible for coordinating the NDIS, accountable for reporting on how often it meets targets around decision making.

The targets are timeframes set for each part of the decision making process and will give people with disability an idea of when they should expect decisions to be made.

The timeframes remove uncertainty for NDIS participants, their families, carers and support providers to reduce some of the stress of applying for or adapting disability support.

The target timeframes

Under the Participant Service Guarantee there are specific timeframes the NDIA must attempt to reach.

If you have just started with the NDIS the NDIA must:

  • Explain a decision within 28 days
  • Decide whether you can use the NDIS or not within 21 days
  • Allow you 90 days to prepare information which the NDIA has asked for
  • Make a decision after being provided with additional information within 14 days

When you are getting a plan the NDIA must:

  • Start your plan within 21 days
  • Approve a plan within 56 days
  • Approve a plan for a child under seven years old within 90 days
  • Arrange a meeting to start your plan within 28 days, if you ask them to
  • Give you a copy of your approved plan within seven days

If you are reviewing or changing your plan the NDIA must:

  • Begin to set up a plan review within 56 days before the review date
  • Decide whether a plan should be reviewed in the case that you request it within 21 days
  • Conduct a review which has been agreed to within 42 days
  • Make small changes to a plan within 28 days
  • Make large changes to a plan within 50 days
  • Give you a copy of the changed plan within seven days
  • Review a decision within 90 days if needed
  • Implement changes asked for by the Administrative Appeals Tribunals within 28 days

If you make a complaint the NDIA must:

  • Confirm it has received the complaint within one day
  • Contact you about the complaint within two days
  • Fix the complaint if possible within 21 days

Part of the Guarantee is that the NDIA will regularly report on how it has tracked against these timeframes so that it can be held accountable.

You can check the latest timeframe reports on the NDIS website.

Participant Service Improvement Plan

The Participant Service Guarantee is part of a broader plan to improve the experience of people on the NDIS and to improve the service delivery of the NDIA.

Called the Participant Service Improvement Plan 2020-2021, it outlines specific changes that will gradually be made to the NDIS, with the final improvements expected to be completed by June 2022.

The plan includes a range of small changes to improve communication for participants that have either already been made or will be done before the end of the year.

For example, a current contact is now provided for every participant and an online tracking system is being set up for applications and inquiries.

Changes have also been made to what information is provided to participants and how, including letters now explaining the reasons for a decision in plain English and guidelines being written more clearly.

More video conferences will be supported for planning meetings and draft plans will be provided to participants before they are approved so the information can be checked.

Minor changes to plans won’t require a full review anymore and plans will be ongoing so reviews will only be done when participants or the NDIA request them.

Flexibility in living options for Specialist Disability Accommodation, guidelines for complex home modifications and red tape around access to assistive technology have already been improved.

What do you think of the changes being made to improve the NDIS? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:
Plan reviews and appeals
What is the NDIS
NDIS Terms and Definitions