Whether you are agency, plan or self-managing, the NDIS does not require that you sign a service agreement with your NDIS service providers, unless they are providing Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). SDA requires a service agreement.
BUT Service Agreements are very important. They are especially important when you are paying someone for a service.
A Service Agreement is not just for a provider, in fact is more important to the participant! In this resource we will cover:
- The participant and provider have the same expectations of what supports will be delivered
- Both parties agree on how the supports will be delivered
- You get what you are paying for and
- You are protected against unexpected events
- a document
- use pictures or
- be a video
It depends on your circumstances and what is best for you to ensure you are able to understand it. Your provider may have their own standard service agreement that you may like to use, or you can create your own. Make sure you or your nominee read the service agreement carefully before you sign it and keep a copy in a safe place.
- the type of supports that will be provided
- the cost of those supports and total dollar value of service to be provided (Note: prices cannot be increased when NDIS rates increase unless specified)
- the payment terms (NOTE: you should never agree to pay in less than 7 days as it will take that long to claim your funds from the NDIS)
- consent for the creation of service bookings (you give the provider permission to create a service booking in the NDIS portal)
- how, when and where the participant requires the supports to be delivered
- for how long the participant requires the supports to be provided (weeks? Months?)
- when and how the Service Agreement will be reviewed
- how the participant and provider will deal with any problems, complaints or questions that may arise
- what the participant’s responsibilities are under the Service Agreement
- what the provider’s responsibilities are under the Service Agreement
- what notice is needed for the participant or provider to change or end the Service Agreement and how this is done
Note: the type of support along with the total cost and dates can be submitted as a ‘Schedule of Supports’ – see below to download a free template
- Delivery of Supports and Services: A Service Agreement sets out the rights and obligations of both the service provider and the participant. As a participant, you need to confirm exactly WHAT, WHERE and HOW services will be delivered. It’s best to have this in writing so everyone is on the same page – literally.
- Measure Outcomes: A Service Agreement should specify the outcomes to be achieved for the participant. It should also set out each party’s responsibilities and obligations toward achieving these outcomes.
This also helps you demonstrate how your outcomes have been achieved with your funding or if they haven’t what additional funding you need.
- Pricing: A service agreement sets out the fees that you have agreed to pay and states exactly what services are covered by these fees. This prevents you from getting any nasty surprises after a service period and supports the invoices that you submit to the NDIA for payment. It will also contains a pricing period so providers cannot increase their prices during the time of the agreement (unless stated in the agreement)
- Privacy: Protect your privacy: a service agreement states the way in which your provider will collect, use and disclosure your sensitive personal information.
- Cancellations and Changes: It’s important to specify what notice is needed to change or end a service that you don’t need or are unhappy with. You are also protecting yourself against changes made by a service provider.
Finally, when signing a service agreement, make sure you or your nominee read the service agreement carefully before you sign it and keep a copy in a safe place. If you don’t understand it, don’t feel pressured into signing it. Have someone check it out on your behalf first.
See the NDIS Checklist for creating a Service Agreement