When it comes to providing supports and services to NDIS participants, one of the most common questions we hear is whether it’s better for a provider to be NDIS registered or to remain unregistered. Get to know the ins and outs of the registration process, the pros and cons and how to decide what the best option is for you.
Difference between a registered and unregistered provider
The main difference between being registered and unregistered (other than the obvious of course!) is the different legal status they have when it comes to the NDIA and the supports and services they provide to NDIS participants. Providers who are registered with the NDIA must follow specific NDIS rules and regulations. Although providers who are unregistered are not held to the same legal status as registered providers, it is recommended that they adhere to the rules and regulations that help to ensure participants have choice and control over their NDIS plan and supports.
However, all registered and unregistered NDIS providers and their workers must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct which promotes the health, safety and wellbeing of persons with disability, by setting out acceptable, appropriate and ethical conduct for NDIS providers and workers delivering supports or services in the NDIS sector.
Pros and Cons
Before deciding whether registering or not registering with the NDIS is the right move for you and your business, you should consider some of the pros and cons of both.
Access to NDIA-managed participants
Participants may hold more trust in registered providers
Payments are handled directly through the NDIS portal
You can provide any type of service included in the support categories
Reduced risk when policies are implemented correctly
More paperwork to handle and higher costs
Less pricing flexibility and more competition
Maintaining operations and profitability can be harder for small businesses
Quality of service provided for participants becomes a legal matter
Not ideal for small businesses who want to stay small on purpose
Getting started is quick and requires minimal setup
Costs are related to the services provided only, no licensing or audit fees
You have a direct relationship with clients
Offering lower prices while maintaining profitability is easier to achieve
Ideal for local businesses who have a strong connection with their local communities
Participants may have less trust in unregistered providers
Building a reputation requires more effort
Won’t be listed on NDIA Provider lists
NDIS principles still apply when working with funded participants
No auditing from the Quality and Safeguards Commission could lead to lower quality or commitment in the long-term
If you choose to register…
If you decide that registering for the NDIS is the way to go, then you will need to go through the registration process.
There are five steps required to become a NDIS registered provider:
Step #1: Fill in an application form through the NDIS Application Portal
Step #2: Select an approved quality auditor
Step #3: Undergo an audit
Step #4: Application assessment by the NDIS Commission
Step #5: Receive your application and outcome
Successful applicants receive a certificate of registration outlining the services or supports you are registered to provide, the duration of registration and any conditions you must follow to keep your registration.
Unsuccessful applicants can contact the NDIS Commission to request a review within three months of the decision, which can be followed up with a review from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is the request is still unsuccessful.
If you choose to not to register…
If you decide that registering with the NDIS is not the right move for you and your business, you should still consider the best practices you can follow as an unregistered provider.
Some best practices include:
Getting an Australian Business Number (ABN) to ensure that your business is registered with the government and your ABN can be used to process your invoices smoothly and accurately
Review the NDIS Code of Conduct in depth as this still applies to you even as an unregistered provider
Unregistered doesn’t mean unregulated which means that you should still ensure you are providing fair and reasonable prices for the services offered
Ensure you have business insurance to help protect your business from unexpected liabilities
Have a system in place for receiving and handling complaints and feedback in a timely manner
Making a final decision
Making the final decision about whether to become a registered provider or remain unregistered comes down to what works best for you and your business, whether the application process and cost is worth it in the long-term, and whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
If you have a participant who is plan managed with First2Care, you can register your details with our First2Care team for quick and easy payment processing. Read more about First2Care Plan Management here.