1. What is the purpose of this Operational Guideline?

This Operational Guideline provides guidance when determining whether a person or organisation meets the criteria for approval to be a registered provider of supports in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

In addition, this Operational Guideline outlines the requirements for registered providers once they become registered, and provides further guidance on the circumstances in which a provider's registration may be revoked.

2. What is the relevant legislation?

3. Overview

Providers play a key role in delivering supports to participants. The capability and integrity of providers is essential to the success of supporting participants to achieve their goals, objectives and aspirations.

Each participant in the NDIS will have a plan which outlines, amongst other matters, the supports that will be funded or provided to the participant.

For each participant, someone (or more than one person) will be identified as managing the funding for supports under their plan. Funding can be managed by the participant, the NDIA, a plan nominee or a 'registered plan management provider' (see managing the funding for supports under a participant's plan).

If the funding for supports under a participant's plan is managed by the NDIA, only registered providers of supports can provide those supports (section 33(6)). Accordingly, a person or organisation seeking to deliver supports or services to participants whose funding is managed by the NDIA must apply to be a registered provider of supports.

Similarly, a person or organisation must apply to be registered provider of supports if seeking to provide registered plan management services to one or more participants.

Registered providers of supports are approved by the NDIA. There are two steps to be satisfied for approval to be given:

  • the person or organisation seeking approval (the applicant) makes an application in writing; and
  • the NDIA decides that the applicant meets the criteria for approval as a registered provider of supports.

After a person or organisation is approved as a registered provider of supports, they must continue to fulfil the criteria for approval, including compliance with the NDIA's terms of business. (External website) Registered providers must also comply with certain requirements described in the Registered Providers of Supports Rules (on this page).

In some circumstances, the NDIA may revoke the approval of a person or organisation as a registered provider of supports.

4. Making an application to be a registered provider of supports

An individual or organisation may apply in writing to the NDIA to be a registered provider of supports (section 69(1)).

An application to be a registered provider of supports can be in relation to either, or both of the following:

  • managing the funding for supports under plans (i.e. a registered plan management provider) (section 69(1)(a)); or
  • providing supports (section 69(1)(b)).

4.1 What constitutes a valid application to be a registered provider of supports?

A valid application to be a registered provider of supports must:

  • have been received by the NDIA;
  • be in the form approved by the NDIA (if a specific form has been approved for use) and contain the information required by the form (section 69(2)(a));
  • include any additional information or documents required by the NDIA (section 69(2)(b)).

If an application is not valid, the NDIA will do everything reasonably possible to work with the person or organisation who made the application to ensure that any requirements for making a valid application are met.

The NDIA is not required to make a decision until a valid application is received (section 197).

Further information on the application process, including the relevant forms approved for use, are located on this page.

4.2 What will the NDIA do when it receives a valid application to be a registered provider of supports?

Once a valid application to be a registered provider of supports is received, the NDIA will commence the process of determining whether the person or organisation meets the criteria for approval as a registered provider of supports (on this page).

The NDIS Act does not prescribe a timeframe within which the NDIA must decide whether a person or organisation meets the criteria for approval as a registered provider of supports. However, the NDIA will use its best endeavors to determine valid applications as soon as is reasonably practicable.

5. Criteria for approval as a registered provider of supports

Note, the criteria for approval outlined in this section continue to be important after a person or organisation is approved as a registered provider of supports as the failure to continue to fulfil the criteria is a basis on which a registered provider's approval can be revoked.

Accordingly, even though each criterion is expressed to apply to an applicant, the criteria continue to apply to a person or organisation after being registered (rule 3.6 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules).

5.1 What are the approval criteria to be a registered provider of supports?

An applicant who wishes to become a registered provider of supports must have:

In addition to this, the applicant must also:

  • declare its agreement to be bound by the NDIA's terms of business (External website) (external) as in force from time to time (rule 3.8 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • declare it complies with, and has mechanisms in place to ensure ongoing compliance with, all applicable employment and workplace health and safety laws that apply to it (rule 3.9 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • declare it has mechanisms in place to ensure any contractors engaged for the provision of supports or the management of funding for supports comply with all employment and workplace health and safety laws that apply to the contractors in that provision or management (rule 3.10 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • declare the applicant and its staff comply with, and the applicant has mechanisms in place to ensure ongoing compliance with, all applicable laws:
  1. that apply to the applicant and its staff in the provision of supports or the management of funding for supports (as the case requires); and
  2. the contravention of which is punishable by a criminal penalty (rule 3.11 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules).

The applicant must also declare that they satisfy the following criteria as applicable:

  • for an applicant for registration in relation to the provision of supports - the applicant is to be a suitable person or organisation to provide the kinds of supports that they propose to provide, having regard to the following considerations:
  1. the qualifications and approvals (External website) (external) relevant to the provision of those kinds of supports held by the applicant and the applicant's staff;
  2. the applicant's capacity to provide those kinds of supports;
  3. the applicant's experience in providing those kinds of supports;
  4. if the applicant proposes to provide supports to a particular participant - whether that participant has stated that he or she considers the applicant to be suitable to provide those supports (rule 3.12 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules)
  • for an applicant for registration in relation to managing the funding for supports under plans - the applicant is to be a suitable person or organisation to manage such funding, having regard to the following considerations:
  1. the qualifications and approvals (External website) (external) relevant to the management of funding for supports held by the applicant and the applicant's staff;
  2. the applicant's capacity to manage the funding for supports;
  3. the applicant's experience in managing the funding for supports;
  4. if the applicant proposes to manage funding for a particular participant -whether that participant has stated that he or she considers the applicant to be suitable to manage that funding (rule 3.13 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules).

To avoid doubt, if a person or organisation applies to be a registered provider of supports in relation to both the provision of supports and managing the funding of supports under plans, the criteria in both rules 3.12 and 3.13 apply.

Conflict of interest

If an applicant seeks approval in relation to both the provision of supports and managing the funding for supports under plans, the applicant is to have mechanisms in place for dealing with conflicts of interest when performing both of those roles in relation to the same participant (rule 3.15 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules).

6. Becoming a registered provider of supports

6.1 Applicants who meet the criteria for approval

The NDIA will approve an application to be a registered provider of supports where it is satisfied that a person or organisation (an applicant) meets the criteria for approval as a registered provider of supports.

A person or organisation only becomes a registered provider of supports within the NDIS once an application is formally approved by the NDIA.

6.2 Approval must be by written instrument and may contain limits

An approval of a person or organisation as a registered provider of supports must be by written instrument (section 70(2)).

The instrument may specify that the person or organisation is a registered provider of supports in respect of:

  • a class of supports specified in the instrument (section 70(3)(a)); or
  • a class of person specified in the instrument (section 70(3)(b)).

The instrument may specify that it ceases to be in effect on a specified day (section 70(4)).

If no end date is specified in the instrument, the registration continues indefinitely, unless it is revoked by the NDIA.

6.3 Applicants who do not meet the criteria for approval

An application to be a registered provider of supports will not be approved where the NDIA is not satisfied that a person or organisation (an applicant) meets the criteria for approval as a registered provider of supports on this page.

A decision by the NDIA to refuse to approve a person or organisation as a registered provider of supports is a reviewable decision (section 99(g)).

The NDIA must notify a person or organisation in writing of the decision to refuse to approve them as a registered provider of supports, including a statement to the effect that the person or organisation may request that the NDIA review the decision (section 100(1)).

Under the NDIS Act, a person or organisation who the NDIA determined did not meet the criteria for approval is not precluded from making a new application in the future.

6.4 Requirements for registered providers

To maintain their registration, registered providers of supports must comply with the obligations described in the Registered Providers of Supports Rules.

A registered provider of supports must notify the NDIA if:

  • a complaint has been made to a responsible authority (External website) (external) about the standard, effectiveness or safety of the provision of supports by the provider, or an employee or contractor of the provider, and the authority has taken action as a result of the complaint (other than a decision not to investigate the complaint)(rule 4.1(a) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider, or an employee or contractor of the provider, has been the subject of adverse action by a responsible authority (External website) relating to their provision of supports or management of the funding for supports, regardless of whether those supports are provided or funded under the Act (rule 4.1(b) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider, or an employee or contractor of the provider, has been the subject of adverse action by a responsible authority (External website) in respect of an approval (External website) held by the provider (rule 4.1(c) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider becomes an insolvent under administration (rule 4.1(d) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider becomes aware that it has failed to comply with an employment or workplace health and safety law that applies to the provider, including, for example, the Fair Work Act 2009 if that Act applies to the provider (rule 4.1(e) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider becomes aware that a contractor engaged for the provision of supports or the management of funding for supports has failed to comply with an employment or workplace health and safety law that applies to the contractor in that provision or management (rule 4.1(f) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules); or
  • the provider becomes aware that the provider or an employee or contractor of the provider has failed to comply with a law:
  1. that applies to the applicant and its staff in the provision of supports or the management of funding for supports (as the case requires); and
  2. the contravention of which is punishable by a criminal penalty (rule 4.1(g) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules)
  • the provider must notify the NDIA of the matter as soon as possible after becoming aware of the matter (rule 4.2 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules).
  • If rule 4.1(a) applies, the provider must also notify the NDIA of the action that the provider takes in relation to the complaint, for example to resolve or address the complaint (rule 4.3 of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules).

7. Ceasing to be a registered provider of supports

A person or organisation ceases to be a registered provider of supports on the earlier of the following:

  • if the instrument approving the person or organisation is revoked - the date on which the revocation takes effect (section 71(a)); or
  • if the instrument specifies that it ceases to be in effect on a specified day - that day (section 71(b)).

7.1 When can a provider's registration be revoked?

A provider's registration may be revoked if the NDIA is satisfied of one or more of the following:

  • the registered provider no longer meets the criteria to be a registered provider (section 72(1)(a)) (on this page);
  • the registered provider's application contained false or misleading information (section 72(1)(b)) (on this page); or
  • a circumstance exists that:
  1. is a circumstance set out in the Registered Providers of Supports Rules; and
  2. presents an unreasonable risk to one or more participants (section 72(1)(c)).

The NDIA will consider options to remedy concerns with a registered provider before considering formally revoking the provider's registration.

7.1.1 Revocation where a registered provider no longer meets the criteria for approval

Once a provider is registered, they must continue to meet the criteria for approval to be a registered provider of supports on this page.

Failure to do so is grounds for revoking registration (section 72(1)(a)).

7.1.2 Revocation where a registered provider's application contained false or misleading information

If a provider's application to be a registered provider contained information that was false or misleading in a material particular, the NDIA may revoke the provider's registration (section 72(1)(b)).

The NDIA should only form a view that the application contained false or misleading information based on sufficient evidence and findings of fact.

7.1.3 Revocation where a registered provider presents an unreasonable risk to one or more participants

If one of the prescribed circumstances outlined below is found to exist, and the circumstance presents an unreasonable risk to one or more participants, the NDIA may revoke a provider's registration.

The circumstances are as follows:

  • the provider contravenes the NDIA's terms of business as in force from time to time (the provider agrees to be bound by the NDIA's terms of business (External website) (external) as part of its approval) (rule 5.2(a) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider, or an employee or contractor of the provider, is the subject of adverse action by a responsible authority (External website) (external) relating to their provision of supports or management of funding for supports, regardless of whether those supports are provided or funded under the NDIS Act (rule 5.2(c) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider, or an employee or contractor of the provider, is the subject of adverse action by a responsible authority in respect of an approval (External website) (external) held by the provider or the employee or contractor (rule 5.2(d) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider is an insolvent under administration (rule 5.2(e) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider contravenes an employment or workplace health and safety law that applies to the provider including, for example, the Fair Work Act 2009 if that Act applies to the provider (rule 5.2(f) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider does not have suitable mechanisms in place to ensure that any contractors engaged for the provision of supports or the management of funding for supports comply with all employment and workplace health and safety laws that apply to the contractors in that provision or management (rule 5.2(g) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules);
  • the provider, or an employee or contractor of the provider, contravenes a law:
  1. that applies to the applicant and its staff in the provision of supports or the management of funding for supports (as the case requires); and
  2. the contravention of which is punishable by a criminal penalty (rule 5.2(i) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules); or
  • the provider contravenes one or more of the requirements for registered providers (rule 5.2(j) of the Registered Providers of Supports Rules) (on this page).

Whether an 'unreasonable risk' exists to one or more participants is a question of fact to be determined in the individual circumstances of each case.

Some factors which may be relevant are whether a participant or class of participants, could suffer material harm as a result of the circumstance and the vulnerability of the participant to harm that results from the circumstance.

7.2 Revocation procedure

Before deciding to revoke a registered provider's registration, the NDIA must give written notice to the relevant person or organisation advising that revocation is being considered (section 72(2)).

The notice must:

  • include the NDIA's reasons for considering the revocation (section 72(2)(a));
  • invite the person or organisation to make written submissions to the NDIA within 28 days after receiving the notice (submission period) (section 72(2)(b)); and
  • inform the person or organisation that if no written submissions are made within the submission period, revocation may take effect as early as 7 days after the end of the submission period (section 72(2)(c)).

In deciding whether to revoke a provider's registration, the NDIA must consider any submissions provided within the submission period (section 72(3)).

The NDIA must notify the person or organisation, in writing, of the decision in relation to whether or not their registration will be revoked (section 72(4)).

A decision by the NDIA to revoke a person or organisation as a registered provider of supports is a reviewable decision (section 99(h)). Therefore, where the NDIA decides to revoke a provider's registration, the notice issued to the provider must include a statement to the effect that the person or organisation may request that the NDIA review the decision (section 100(1)).

The written notice of decision must be given within 28 days after the end of the submission period. If notice is not given within this period, the NDIA is deemed to have decided not to revoke the provider's registration (section 72(5)).

To minimise the risk of disruption to participants, the NDIA may liaise with a provider, whose registration is to be or has been revoked, to determine the steps necessary to allow for a smooth transition and continuity of supports for any affected participants.

This page current as of
1 April 2019