Usually the NDIA asks Support Coordinators to provide reports about the progress of participants in building capacity and achieving the goals set out in their plan. In this article we will discuss why these reports are required and what Support Coordinators should consider when developing them.
The NDIA Planners and LACs who develop plans may spend just a few hours with each participant. Support Coordinators by contrast have much more time in “the real world” to work with participants to understand the progress, barriers and challenges they experience.
The reporting timeframes for each participant are set out in the Request for Service document sent to the Support Coordinator or mentioned as part of the plan handover. The reports are usually requested at 8 weeks and 9 months if the participant has a 12 month plan. If a participant has a plan duration of less than 12 months or their circumstances are more complex the NDIA may ask for more regular reporting.
Reporting shouldn’t be just a bureaucratic activity. They provide an opportunity to prompt participants to reflect on their progress.
It’s important to recognise that your reporting can influence how the NDIA views your organisation. Ensure you submit reports on time, ensure they are concise and factual and free of emotional language or advocacy.
What information needs to be included?
8 week report
The NDIA use this report to check that the Support Coordinator has accepted the request for service and met with the participant, and a plan has been established for how the participant and support coordinator will work together.
This report needs to include:
• confirmation that contact has been established with the participant. Any delays in connecting and starting to implement the plan should be acknowledged.
• progress to date. Several meetings may have occurred with the participant to discuss the plan and priority for implementing the supports. These could include development of a service agreement for support coordination, assisting the participant to access the participant portal, explanation of the review process. This will vary for every participant depending on what their priorities are for their plan implementation.
• the priorities among supports that have not yet been implemented.
• information on assessment/s that have been completed or are in progress.
• information on any links to community and mainstream have occurred for the participant.
• any other critical information the NDIA may need to know, for example if any of the participant’s complexity or risk have changed and how this is being managed.
After submitting the eight week report Support Coordinators will usually only be contacted by the NDIA if the planner requires further information.
The 9 month report and Plan Review
The plan review meeting can occur up to 12 weeks before a participant’s plan is due to expire. This is why the NDIA ask Support Coordinators to submit their second report at the 9 month mark. This report is a major input to the review process and can have a significant influence on the participant’s next plan because it details support needs, goals and barriers and risks.
It is up to the participant and their key decision makers to decide whether the Support Coordinator joins in the review meeting. The Support Coordinator may or may not be at the meeting meaning a quality 9 month report even more critical.
If it is not possible to submit this report to LAC/NDIA prior to the review meeting it is essential to ensure the participant has a copy ready to take into the review meeting.
When planning the use of Support Coordination hours remember to set aside some hours to gather information from the participant and to complete this report.
The 9 month report should include:
• the participant’s progress towards goals. If the goals for the next plan are different, document any new goals that have emerged for their next plan.
• details of successful linkage to mainstream services and outcomes. If there were barriers detail what they were.
• any increased community connection and the benefit to the participant.
• any barriers to plan implementation. For example, if the support was unable to be purchased as this could be a sign of a thin market or alternatively if the support was not required as the participant increased their capacity.
• what supports in the plan the participant is benefiting from and evidence of outcomes achieved.
• what level of support they will require to implement their next plan.
Reporting is an important part of the Support Coordination role and should not be regarded as an afterthought. Quality reporting should be a central aim for all Support Coordination organisations as it ensures strong connection between the real world where plans are implemented and the formal information gathering processes of the NDIA. This can only lead to better outcomes for NDIS participants.