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SLES frequently asked questions
SLES is a reasonable and necessary (R and N) support and so is no different to the way other planning decisions are made. Planners should consider the aims of SLES along with the participant's goals and circumstances to determine whether SLES would be beneficial for the individual. Particular consideration needs to be given to whether the student is connected with, or would likely be eligible for, a DES.
Participants can be invited to bring along all relevant school information to planning meetings. This might include their transition or career plan as well as school assessments. Participants may also have had a Centrelink work capacity assessment (ESAT or JCA), which can be used to inform planning staff about the participant's eligibility to access a DES.
SLES does not necessarily need to be included as a stated support. However, if it is R and N to retain the support as stated, it is important to specify in the comments box the type of supports that are to be funded and the way in which they are to be provided. Stated supports may be specified where to do so would help ensure that the expected outcomes from the supports are attained by the participant. Such supports will have to be purchased in the way described in the statement.
No, SLES supports do not have to be agency managed however as SLES is a specialised support with reporting requirements, it is highly recommended that participants choose a provider that is registered with the NDIA.
Yes, participants can self-manage SLES funds. It is important to make sure the participant understands the risks and responsibilities involved self-managing SLES funding. We will be developing guidance around self-managing employment funding in the near future.
Based on continuous improvement findings, teachers are no longer completing the Functional Capacity Assessment (FCA) SLES is an R and N decision and should be based on all available information including known DES eligibility status, education reports, and information gathered during the planning conversation.
If the participant is in their final year of school and is not due for a plan review prior to leaving school, then a Section 48 Change of Circumstances (CoC) may be required to enable an unscheduled plan review, particularly if employment supports are likely to be included. Some participants may be able to immediately access a DES and as such, their current plan may not require a change. Where possible, SLES should be discussed during the planning conversation during the final year of school. Funding can be included in plans pro rata or alternatively, perhaps a 6 month or 9 month plan would be more appropriate according to the participant's school timeline.
While it will be a delegate decision to undertake the review, it is strongly encouraged that, if a review is agreed, it is treated as an agency initiated unscheduled review to avoid the participant having to complete a full Sect 48 CoC review request.
Yes. There would be two service bookings made, one for each provider, from which funds are drawn down. The participant can choose the amount in each service booking, as long as it does not exceed the total.
If a participant is in work then typically they would have engafged with a DES and be supported by the DES provider. The DES provider would have responsilbity to provide services to the participant and SLEs funding would not typically be used. Importanalty, even if the participant is not engaged with a Des provider, DES have a program called work Assist that will help people with disability who are struggling at work. In exceptionakl circumsntacesm, SLES funding may be used if the participants support requriements exceed what is typcailly available from a DES provider.
The agency is developing additional communication products that raise the profile of SLES. LACs play a key role in plan implementation to encourage the utilisation of SLES supports. It is also important for regional Provider Engagement teams to attract providers to register for and deliver SLES.
All participants of working age may be able to access employment supports through DES or gain skills through mainstream higher education. Just as the NDIA may provide SLES for participants who have an employment goal but are unable to access the mainstream Disability Employment Service (DES), older participants who are also unable to access a DES can seek access to R and N employment supports in a plan.
Determining the appropriate transition supports will ideally happen while the student is in their final year of school. This will ensure that the appropriate supports are available immediately post school and the participant and their family can start planning for the transition. It is important that the student maintains the momentum of an active, connected life when leaving school. If SLES is considered a R and N support, this can be added in the plan as a pro rata amount. For example a plan developed in May for a student leaving school at the end of that year might have up to 7 months SLES funding. (November to May). Further SLES funding would be considered when the plan is reviewed the following May.
After SLES, participants should ideally transition to a DES or into open employment.
SLES supports should help the participant to build their work-related skills, such as developing a working lifestyle, social skills, and independence. Supports should build the participant's confidence to try open employment. While mainstream services are available, they would typically not provide the level of pre vocational funding and support that SLES does. Some participants may choose to start TAFE or another type of activity, and then change to SLES later in the year. It is expected that most participants would start SLES straight after finishing school.
Supported employment is for participants who require high levels of onsite supervision and coaching to maintain employment. This is currently typically provided in an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE). Some participants who have accessed SLES may have demonstrated through the discovery process that they will require longer term support than what can be provided through a DES. Consideration of supported employment can be one of the post SLES pathway options.
From 1 January 2016 it has been possible for a person who is employed by an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE) to also be supported by a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider, as long as the ADE employee has a valid Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) or Job Capacity Assessment (JCA). Support from a DES while the participant is employed by an ADE enables the participant to trial open employment with support from a DES for up to two years, while not losing their employment place in the ADE. This can be particularly valuable in circumstances where a participant or their family is concerned about the risk of the participant losing their place in their ADE if they give open employment a try. DES will provide Post Placement Support (PPS).
Ideally, this would become known before the 2 years of SLES supports have been delivered. It is expected that the monitoring of plan outcomes during and at plan review would give an indication of how well the funding is delivering the desired outcomes. However there are many reasons why the expected outcomes may not have been met and this needs to be taken into account and influence the R and N decisions going forward.
The provider reporting tool is a key source of participant related information about SLES and the outcomes achieved. This information provides the NDIA with critical quantitative information to enable continuous monitoring and evaluation of SLES. Providers need to complete and submit provider reporting tool reports to the NDIA on a quarterly basis.
You can find a list of all registered providers in your state and then:
- Under the Registration Group Assist Access/Maintain Employ, search for the suburbs you want under 'Head Office Location'.
- You will then need to contact these providers to see if they offer SLES.
The full annualised funding of $21,407.52 (or pro rata for plans less than 12 months) and any applicable SLES extension as agreed by the agency can only be claimed when:
A full plan funding period of direct SLES service provision has been delivered;
During the plan period the participant commences open employment at award or supported wages;
The participants' primary employment supports funding moves from SLES to DES (no later than the commencement of the job placement);
The participant remains employed within 2 months of the scheduled plan end date
Is expected to move towards a sustainable outcome as per the DES outcomes guidelines.
The Regional Engagement Team and the Regional Employment Champion network maintain provider relationships. These networks should also work towards building the capacity of service providers.
SLES is designed as a post school support so it expected that utilisation will occur after, rather than during, Year 12. Students can use their time in Year 12 to interview and choose a provider for the following year.
One goal of the SLES initiative is to increase young people's confidence and aspirations when it comes to employment. This attitude shift starts in school and at home. Students' expectations are influenced by the attitudes of their support network, which includes parents, peers, and teachers. It is beneficial for teachers to be aware of the options for students with a disability after they leave school. This will have a positive impact on long term employment outcomes for young people with a disability.