You’ve found a provider you’d like to work with… what next? It’s important to make sure that you and your provider are on the same page when it comes to the supports they will be delivering, and other aspects of working together. Which is why having a service agreement in place can be a great way to clearly outline expectations for both you and your provider.
What is a service agreement?
A service agreement is written contract between a participant and their provider that details all the important information about the supports and services being provided, roles and responsibilities, and any other terms and conditions that should be adhered to.
Service agreements typically include:
Any supports provided under the Service Agreement
How much those support cost, including additional costs like travel
How, when and where those supports will be provided
How long the supports will be provided
When and how the service agreement will be reviewed
What to do if there are any issues that arise
Participant and provider responsibilities under the service agreement
What to do if changes need to be made to the service agreement
It is important to remember that you have choice and control over how your supports are delivered. Although many providers may have a prewritten service agreement, the process of developing a service agreement should be a collaborative process which means you have the right to request reasonable changes to the agreement if necessary.
Why they are important?
A service agreement isn’t just a piece of paper. It can help you make the most of your NDIS funding, assist in clear communication between you and your provider(s), and protect you if things go wrong or your circumstances change.
Although it may not be mandatory* for your provider to set up a service agreement, it’s definitely recommended.
Here are the top three reasons you should always have a service agreement in place:
Service agreements can help you to manage and maximise your NDIS funding as they will show the full amount (including any additional costs) that you would be charged if you use their services. This means you know exactly what funding will be spent and can have a better awareness of what funding you have remaining that can be used on other supports.
With a service agreement, you know exactly what is expected from you and what you can expect from your service provider. It helps to ensure that communication is clear and can provide key information about any terms and conditions, how to make changes or even how to cancel services
If there is ever a situation where you are having a dispute with your service provider, your service agreement is a written record of exactly how many hours of support were agreed upon, the price and how they would be delivered. Ultimately, a service agreement can protect you.
*NDIS registered providers must have a service agreement in place to provide NDIS participants with supports and services. However, providers who are unregistered technically do not have to set up a service agreement to provide supports. If you have an unregistered provider, you can request a service agreement be put into place.
Who can help you manage your service agreements?
Service agreements are managed by participants and the provider the agreement is with. However, if you have support coordination as part of your NDIS funded supports, then part of your support coordinators’ role is to manage your service agreements.
Although as plan managers we often recommend that participants share their service agreements with us, there is no obligation to share these agreements if you prefer not to. If you do make the choice to share them, all service agreements are kept strictly confidential, and they are only used to better help us keep track of your budgets.
Top questions to ask about service agreements
Here are some of the top questions you should consider asking your service providers when it comes to service agreements:
Do you have a service agreement? If not, can we set up a service agreement?
What is the start and end date of the service agreement?
How long after supports have been delivered will you send an invoice to my plan manager?
Are there any extra costs I should be aware?
What is the minimum and maximum amount of time each of your sessions are?
What happens if there are last minute changes to availability or the service being provided?
What is your cancellation policy?
Do I have to sign the agreement?
Can we make changes to the service agreement if circumstances change, or something is not working?
Remember, if you don’t understand the contents of the service agreement, you can speak with your support coordinator, LAC, or a trusted person to help explain the details. Alternatively, you can request that the service agreement be written in a simple and easy to understand format.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or email@example.com.