Update: The Guide to Suitability has been updated since this article was published and the qualifications to deliver Support Coordination have been removed (among other things). You can read more about this change here.
The Guide to Suitability is a seriously underrated NDIS resource. Many of the questions that I get from providers can be answered easily with a quick reference to this dense but insightful document.
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the Guide to Suitability is a resource in the Provider Toolkit which provides information to assist providers to understand their quality, safeguards and compliance obligations. The Guide to Suitability includes everything you need to know about NDIS registration requirements. Sounds scintillating, I know. But when you learn to read it, the Guide to Suitability becomes a really useful resource for finding out which professions can deliver which supports.
Before I go into the detail, let's look at the key organising concept of the Guide to Suitability: Registration Groups.
There are hundreds and hundreds of NDIS line items. In the Price Guide and in NDIS Plans, these are grouped into Support Categories (e.g. Assistance with Social & Community Participation) and Support Purposes (e.g. Core).
Registration Groups are a different way of grouping the hundreds of line items. Rather than grouping by life domain, Registration Groups are based the skills and compliance obligations required to deliver the support. The number of each registration group is reflected in the third set of numbers in a line item number.
If you are trying to find out which registration group corresponds to each number or the professions which can deliver it, you can search for the number in the Guide to Suitability. So in the example above, 0106 corresponds to Assistance in coordinating or managing life stages, transition and supports – [Assist-Life Stage, Transition] and can be delivered by:
Disability Support Worker
Aboriginal Health Worker
This is different to Specialist Support Coordination, which is part of Registration Group 0132, which is confusingly just named Support Coordination.
This support can only be delivered by people with a higher level of qualification, including:
Other allied health, developmental educator, social or health science professional
Try having a search for different groups or a scroll through the tables on pages 7 - 21 to become familiar with the information and how it is presented. This section also includes the expected professional registrations or certificates that certain professions are required to hold (e.g. AHPRA, AASW).
So why, after you are registered for the NDIS, would you need to consult the Guide to Suitability? Because it is not simply enough to demonstrate that you have these professions on staff at the time of registration, it is expected that these supports are always delivered by staff with relevant qualifications.
We have recently heard of the NDIA actively removing participants from organisations who were providing specialist supports with unqualified workers. This is particularly an issue in Specialist Support Coordination, where there seems to be a shortage of qualified Coordinators. However, Specialist Support Coordination delivered by an unqualified worker is not an appropriate use of these funds and providers using this approach are likely to have their payment requests denied.
Even after registering, It is important for all providers to be across the professional requirements for delivering NDIS supports and have a working knowledge of the line items they are registered to deliver. The Guide to Suitability is your resource for this purpose, helping to make sure the supports you deliver are all paid for and that participants receive the quality of support their funds are designed for.