The processes outlined below will need to be specific to your business processes and anything you use as part of your those processes e.g. client management software.
The NDIS wants to know:
- each participant has access to timely and appropriate support without interruption. You will need to have evidence of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the following:
- administrative procedures
- managing unexpected and planned staff absences
- new referrals
Administrative Procedure Manual or Standard Operating Procedures
You need to have a documented system to guide your administration team and minimise disruption in the event relief staff are required. This is a big job if you don’t already have SOPs in place. If you are a small business you may consider joining forces with a colleague and working on these together.
You can start by identifying what SOPs would be useful e.g.
- taking a new referral (using the New Participant Intake Checklist provided in Rights and Responsibilities as a starting point)
- billing procedure for an NDIS-managed participant.
Being diligent with documenting incidents on your Incident Register will help you identify and prioritise what SOPs are required. For example, if you are having incidents or complaints related to billing procedures, developing a SOP for that will be a priority. Prioritise the SOPs you need and make a plan to complete them over the coming year.
It is often good to get the person who is responsible for the task to develop the draft SOP. This gives them ownership and they will be more likely to comply with it and update it if changes occur.
SOPs will need to be reviewed at least annually to ensure they remain current. You will also need to show the auditor you have a system in place for reviewing SOPs.
SOP for Managing Unexpected Staff Absence and Planned Staff Absence
Participants are generally seen by the same practitioner within an organisation i.e. the person who conducts the initial assessment is the person who implements the Support Plan. You will need to be able to show the auditors how you manage staff absences, planned and unplanned.
This SOP must include keeping the participant informed and giving them choice e.g. wait for their usual provider to return or agree to work with someone else. It also needs to include:
- how you will match the relief provider to the participant’s:
- needs, through clinical skills and qualifications (see HR Register)
- how the provider will be able to learn about the participant so they can effectively provide the required supports.
Refer to the sample SOP1: Participant Management in Case of AHP Unplanned Leave as a starting point.
While many support services are not time-critical, you do need to identify any critical supports your business delivers and determine how these would be provided in the event of staff leave or unexpected emergencies (refer also to the Risk Management Register). This would be flagged as a ‘risk’ in the participant’s Support Plan with appropriate management strategies outlined.
SOP for New Referrals
It’s important to have a procedure for taking a new referral which includes understanding the participant’s preferences e.g. place and time of service and who they want present at their appointments. A New Participant Intake Checklist has been provided to help you get started. Evidence of meeting a participant’s preferences shows you listened and responded appropriately and the participant’s experience was consistent with their expressed preference. If, for some reason, you cannot meet the participant’s expectations, document conversations to show you communicated with them and gave them a choice of using another service provider or accepting what you can realistically do.
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