Understanding Unregistered NDIS Providers in Australia
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds Australians with permanent and significant disabilities. Approved participants access services from NDIS Providers who specialise in disability care.
NDIS Providers are a vital part of the scheme – without them this system would not exist.
Registered Providers follow a stringent registration process to gain their status.
Many consider it the best option for NDIS Providers, but it’s not the case for everyone. Gaining registration status is costly and lengthy, plus not all service types need it.
This is why being an Unregistered NDIS Provider appeals to many organisations. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be Unregistered.
What is an Unregistered NDIS Provider?
An Unregistered NDIS Provider delivers services to people with disability.
- are not registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This group oversees the quality and safety of NDIS services and supports;
- have not completed the registration and audit process.
While being Unregistered means you can deliver many types of services, restrictions apply.
Example: Participants who are NDIA-managed cannot use Unregistered service providers. This differs from self-managed or plan-managed participants who can use both types of Providers.
There are also providers who offer supports, but don’t specialise in disability care.
Example: Gardening services and non-disability household services. These groups only require registration under certain circumstances.
In most cases, the NDIS Commission prioritises Registered Providers.
It’s how they assure quality and safety, as detailed in the NDIS Practice Standards.
For this reason, many believe Registered Providers always provide better, more person-centred service.
This simply isn’t the case. Unregistered workers hold themselves to high standards too.
Reality is that gaining registration is expensive and time-consuming.
It can also be confusing as there are many steps involved.
All this puts it out of reach of many, which is why being an Unregistered NDIS Provider is still a great choice.
Benefits of Engaging Unregistered NDIS Providers
There are many benefits of engaging Unregistered NDIS Providers, including:
Easy Start Up
Avoiding the cost of registration, audit fees and the time it takes to do so is a huge saving. This makes it easier and faster to become an NDIS provider.
It’s simpler to build a relationship with clients when you’re Unregistered. This is because participants can work directly with you, rather than going through the NDIA.
Unlike Registered Providers, you don’t need to follow the NDIS price guide.
This means you avoid price limits and can be competitive. Despite being free to set your pricing, it’s imperative to avoid price gouging.
When you’re registered, you need to list the exact type of service included in your offerings. You’re also subject to certification audits (another cost).
You don’t endure this process when you’re Unregistered, which gives you more flexibility.
Working with Unregistered NDIS Providers
Participants plans are either:
Not all plan types can use Unregistered NDIS Providers.
Self-managed participants and Plan-managed participants have the most freedom.
They can use Registered and Unregistered Providers for most services.
This is especially useful if you’re in a rural area with less workers. It also gives more options when a Registered provider has a long waiting list.
There are exceptions though, as only Registered NDIS Providers are available for:
- specialist disability accommodation
- supports or services that may involve a regulated restrictive practice
- some specialist behaviour supports
- Plan Management.
Participants with NDIA-Plan Management have less flexibility. They can only choose from Registered Providers.
Choosing an Unregistered NDIS Provider
When selecting an Unregistered NDIS Provider, consider:
Credentials and Experience
Research all prospective workers in detail.
Inquire about their qualifications and experience in the disability service market.
Don’t feel rude asking your potential provider a few questions. You deserve to feel confident you’re engaging quality services from a trusted provider. Put your personal care above all else when making your decision.
Referrals and Testimonials
Ask for referrals if you know someone who’s used a similar service.
Spend time reading testimonials and reviews on websites and social media.
Pay attention to an organisation’s responses to reviews, as client communication is revealing.
Check for any complaints from people using their service.
As a funded participant, this helps you engage safe services and choose the kinds of Providers you’re comfortable with.
Consider the quality and scope of services offered.
Ask yourself if the type of provider you’re considering meets your individual needs.
Think about whether your choice is effective for your situation.
Example: Can an aged care worker help you if you actually need a childhood approach?
Give yourself time to think about the types of community health services you need. Then, you can confidently make a service booking.
Always consider the cost of service delivery from each provider.
Unregistered support workers can charge whatever rates they feel appropriate for their services. It’s up to you to ensure your choice of worker is fair.
Risks and Considerations
Safeguards are in place to ensure consistency with workers, and to minimise the risk of using Unregistered NDIS Providers.
Complaints about disability service Providers – registered and unregistered – ought to be followed up.
First, contact the Provider.
Then, if needed, make a complaint to the NDIS Commission for investigation.
Report about compliance obligations, unacceptable risks, terms of quality or another concern.
NDIS Worker Screening
The NDIS Worker Screening Check is accessible to Unregistered NDIS Providers.
It provides a way for organisations to check applications for quality management.
When you receive applications from workers or contractors, use this service to assess their conduct.
A Worker Screening Clearance shows employers, and potential clients, your staff recruitment process is high quality. It also helps minimise staff turnover.
Note the NDIS Worker Screening Check is only available to workers providing NDIS supports and services to participants. Though it’s not mandatory for all workers, it’s essential for students who are also NDIS disability support Providers. The NDIS Worker Screening Database maintains a list of those who have cleared, and failed, the NDIS Workers Screening Check.
NDIS Code of Conduct and Unregistered Providers
Providers (Registered and Unregistered) and their workers must follow the NDIS Commission’s Code of Conduct. This ensures Providers consistently deliver quality standards, regardless of who they’re working with.
The seven elements to follow are:
- Act with respect for individual rights to freedom of expression
- Respect privacy
- Provide services in a safe and competent manner
- Have integrity, honesty and transparency
- Raise concerns promptly
- Refrain from violence, abuse and neglect
- Take reasonable steps to avoid sexual misconduct.
Unregistered NDIS Providers have the freedom to be a disability advocate, and support those in need, in a flexible way.
Business setup is fast, and the cost of being a provider is low. You can charge competitive prices and get clearance status for all of your staff.
Despite this, some believe there’s a risk for participants engaging with Unregistered services. This is because there are grey areas in the Unregistered Provider space.
Even so, Unregistered Providers tend to be ethical and trusted professionals. They provide services that better the lives of those with a permanent or significant disability, which is a lifeline for those in need.
Interested in becoming a registered NDIS Provider, but unsure how to start?Avaana provides expert advice to potential Providers. They specialise in helping eligible businesses get NDIS registered with ease.