5.1 Service Agreements
A participant who chooses to engage someone to provide supports under an NDIS plan will generally enter into a written agreement with the provider (a Service Agreement). A Service Agreement will help to ensure that the participant and provider have an agreed set of expectations of what supports will be delivered and how they will be delivered. This agreement is a consumer contract between a participant and a provider, the NDIA is not a party to this agreement.
A Service Agreement should specify the outcomes to be achieved for the participant. It should also set out each party’s responsibilities and obligations and how to resolve any problems that may arise. The service agreement should be documented and in place before the services commence.
A sample Model Service Agreement (PDF) (DOC) is available for you use so you can work with your participants to create their own tailored Service Agreements. It can be used to inform discussions with participants and can be modified to include all matters that are relevant to the you and the participant.
Developing a Service Agreement is a collaborative process between the participant, any other nominated person (such as a participant’s family member or friend) and the provider. When developing a Service Agreement, it is important to remember that the NDIS aims to:
support the independence and social and economic participation of people with disability
enable people with disability to exercise choice and control in the pursuit of their goals and the planning and delivery of their supports.
Both participant and provider — or another nominated person (such as a participant’s family member or friend) and provider — will need to sign the Service Agreement once they have agreed on its contents.
The NDIS has developed an easy-English Guide to Service Agreements (PDF) (DOC) for participants to refer to when working with providers to make a Service Agreement. You can refer to this Guide to ensure you understand the process from the participant perspective.
Things that can be specified in a Service Agreement include:
- the supports that will be provided
- the cost of those supports
- how, when and where the participant requires the supports to be delivered
- how long the participant requires the supports to be provided
- when and how the Service Agreement will be reviewed
- how the participant and provider will deal with any problems or questions that may arise
- what the participant’s responsibilities are under the Service Agreement — for example, how much notice the participant must give you if they cannot attend an appointment
- what the provider’s responsibilities are under the Service Agreement — for example, to work with the participant to provide supports that suit their needs and how the agreed supports will be provided
- what notice is needed for the participant or provider to change or end the Service Agreement and how this is done — for example, by email or mail.
As a Provider, your responsibilities under the Terms of Business include:
- delivering supports in accordance with the established service agreement
- not charging more than the price caps set in the NDIA Price Guide (except for self-managed participants)
- not charging cancellation fees, except when specifically provided for in the NDIA Price Guide
- declaring relevant prices to participants before delivering a service (including declaring any notice periods or cancellation terms).
A Service Agreement is different from a participant’s plan, which is developed with an NDIS planner. A participant’s Service Agreement should reflect what is contained in their plan.
A “View Plan” function in myplace allows providers to see a participant’s plan where consent has been given by the participant, or nominee to share parts of their plan. Consent to view the plan information can only be given to providers with whom the participant has a service booking. Providers will automatically be notified that a participant has given consent to view parts of their plan via an electronic letter in the provider myplace portal.
The model Service Agreement contains paragraphs which are designed to assist providers to meet the GST-free requirements for supplying NDIS supports under the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999. However, use of the model Service Agreement itself does not ensure providers will meet the requirements of the GST legislation.
It is important to ensure that all requirements are met on a case-by-case basis, including that the types of supports provided under the Service Agreement are of a kind determined under the GST legislation to be GST-free.
Further information about the NDIS and GST can be accessed on the Australian Taxation Office website. Providers should seek independent legal or financial advice if they require assistance with tax law compliance.