The NDIS introduced us to some new roles and terminology; the one that appears to have confused most of us has been Plan Management and Support Coordination.
Whilst the titles themselves could be seen as slightly misleading, the expectation of the roles are also often assumed and not accurate. The key difference between Support Coordination and Plan Management is the Plan Manager is only able to assist you to manage the financial side of your supports.
They do not manage or organise your supports, they do not negotiate staff with providers; they simply manage and pay invoices from providers on your behalf and budget your NDIS funds. The benefit of having a plan manager is that it allows you to access services or supports that are not registered with the NDIS, giving you the flexibility to pursue smaller providers or services not typically registered with the NDIS to support yourself or the person in receipt of the NDIS plan.
On the other hand Support Coordination has three levels of support; Support Connection, Support Coordination and Specialist Support Coordination. Depending on the complexity of the participant, types of supports required and your needs, you might get none of these supports in your NDIS plan, you might get one or even two of these supports in your plan. Support Connection is a light touch support to assist in implementing your plan, connecting you with informal, community and funded supports.
Support Connection is typically only a few hours per month and therefore once the bulk of the work has been completed by assisting you to connect with your community and funded supports, your Support Connection supports will decrease to minimal communication with yourself until the end of your plan when they can assist you to prepare for your NDIS review. Support Coordination is a more involved support with the primary focus on helping you understand your plan and to build the skills to implement and manage your own NDIS plan in the future.
Support Coordination is typically a few hours per week, with the majority of this time used in the initial set up of your supports. Once your supports and Service Agreements are in place, the Support Coordinator will communicate briefly with you from time to time to ensure you are still happy with your supports and to ascertain if there is any additional supports required.
The communication might only be once or twice a month at this stage of your plan. Similar to Support Connection, at the end of your plan the Support Coordinator can assist you to prepare for your review, collate any reports from service providers and if desired can attend your NDIS review meeting with you. Specialist Support Coordination is the higher level of supports and is used for those more complex situations who might require the coordination of multiple government agencies or services to ensure your goals are being actively pursued. Specialist Support Coordination is only required when there is a high level of complexity with Specialist Support Coordinators needing to have degree qualified skill sets.
Author: Mr Shane Ferguson, Regional Manager