SupportAbility Roadmap

In the interests of providing greater transparency regarding planned enhancements and new features, details of the current SupportAbility Roadmap are updated here for the benefit of our subscriber base.  

The roadmap lists the key changes we plan to make to SupportAbility over the next 12 months. It is not designed to be a complete or a final list. Instead, it is focussed on providing information regarding upcoming changes that will affect the way our subscribers use the product for the purpose of forward-planning. 

For further details on the process that SupportAbility utilises to determine this roadmap, please view our knowledge base article  The Roadmap Process at SupportAbility


IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL ITEMS ON THE ROADMAP ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

6 Month Roadmap


Client Funding Module Rebuild

History

Since the initial release of SupportAbility in 2011, the funding and regulatory landscape for Australian disability service providers has been undergoing fundamental and revolutionary change.

In 2011, the majority of service providers where operating under various block funding models or in some States, Individual Support Plans (ISPs).  In this era, it was not uncommon for service providers to be funded under 5-10 various Federal, State and local government funding streams, each with their own unique intricacies, compliance and reporting requirements.  In the years following the launch, SupportAbility continued to enhance these (non-NDIS) funding management facilities to allow providers to manage this diversity. However, long before these features reached a sense of maturity, in 2013, the NDIS was introduced in the form of a 3 year trial.

Given that all Australian disability service providers would be transitioning to the NDIS in the following years, it was imperative SupportAbility focus on providing tools for our subscribers to manage NDIS funding and claims, first and foremost. Providing this NDIS funding functionality during the trial, meant that constant adjustments were required to SupportAbility's funding module as the rules and requirements were in a state of flux. As the NDIS ecosystem continued to grow and evolve, new NDIS services emerged. Of particular importance was the growing number of Plan Managers (FPM's) under the Scheme. SupportAbility provided features to support Plan Managers, but this functionality was limited and not at the desired level of sophistication it is required to be. 

The benefits of our early commitment to the NDIS and the trial process has resulted in:

  • our Customer Success and Engineering teams having a thorough understanding of the NDIS, how it has evolved over time and how providers are required to work within it, and
  • our subscribers are able to meet their compliance requirements under the NDIS and process payment requests in a more efficient and accurate manner.

The foundations of the Client Funding module in SupportAbility are being rebuilt so that a more sophisticated NDIS funding management feature can be provided for NDIS service providers and Plan Managers alike. After years of constant modifications, adapting to the NDIS under trial, the state of the SupportAbility Client Funding module did not provide adequate foundations to develop the latest functionality required hence requiring a significant overhaul.

The first release will be focussed on providing better tools and information around budgets, expenditure and utilisation.  Following this initial release, we we extend these foundations to provide improved alerts in situations where clients have either exhausted all of their NDIS funding, or are likely to do so given their expenditure patterns. 


NDIS Funding Types
Our primary goal with this rebuild, is to improve the usability of NDIS Funding and provide a better overview of client funding budgets, expenditure, balances and utilisation for both direct service providers and financial plan management organisations.

The two NDIS Funding Types are being introduced to more clearly identify and allow providers who offer both of these services to better manage their client NDIS Funding plans. 

  • Direct Funding: designed for NDIS service providers to manage NDIS funding, budgets and claims for supports delivered directly to the client (eg. via Activities). 
  • Plan Managed Funding: designed for NDIS Financial Plan Management organisations, to manage the client funding plans they are responsible for managing, process provider invoices, and claim plan management fees.

Improved Interface
Separating the NDIS Funding Types allows us to focus on the specific requirements and workflows of direct service providers and plan managers. This specialisation allows us to provide interfaces that are purpose built for each case; avoiding the clutter and confusion of the present system.

The new interface controls will also deliver improved funding configuration and control options to help you 

Better Privacy and Security
Separating the NDIS Funding Types allows to provide finer controls around which staff have access to see Plan Management Funding information vs. Direct services Funding information.

Improved Reporting and Visibility
As part of the Client Funding Rebuild, the following reporting enhancements are being developed:

  • Improved Client Funding search facilities, including Tags,
  • Improved Client Funding Statements for NDIS and Non-NDIS Funding Types.
  • Detailed NDIS budget utilisation information for each Client Funding record


Non-NDIS Funding
As part of the Client Funding rebuild, Non-NDIS funding records will be simplified to contain only a singular Total Funding Value field, as opposed to all the various valuation methods used to calculate this value. These records are being updated to align with the new format and functionality of the Client Funding records. 

The following items will be removed as part of the rebuild:

  • The 'Valid Within' funding setting, used to validate funding dates and calculate the prorated Total Funding Value
  • The Non-NDIS pro-rata adjustments for Financial and Single year funding periods,
  • The Hours Valuation Method,
  • The Planned Valuation Method (we will still support Non-NDIS funding types having a custom rate card that overrides the standard rate cards in system preferences),
  • The management fee funding setting, used to deduct a percentage of the Total Funding Value 
  • The Non-NDIS funding utilisation graphs, and
  • The Non-NDIS service budget allocations. 

Whilst a lot of the existing functionality for Non-NDIS funding is being removed, this is required to make way for further enhancements scheduled for an overhaul of this area, increasing the available functionality for providers to generate invoices  and managed funding outside of NDIS. 

Removal of Award Categorisation Functionality

All  Award Categorisation functionality will be removed from the SupportAbility product in the very near future. We recommend that providers utilising this current functionality,  firstly understand its flaws and limitations, and secondly start planning and making alternative arrangements to utilise other tools for the purposes of processing Time Sheets in alignment with awards.

There are several payroll solutions in the marketplace which provide comprehensive and specialist award interpretation and payroll functionality, over and above anything SupportAbility could ever hope to offer. Disability services require sophisticated payroll functionality to manage their compliance obligations under the SCHADS award and SupportAbility is not the right product to deliver that functionality. 

Before Award Categorisation is removed from SupportAbility, we will be adding functionality to allow providers to configure attributes related to Staff Time Sheets (e.g. Sleepover, On call, Breaks, etc.). This information can then be included in Time Sheet Batch exports for various Payroll systems where applicable to ensure Award Interpretation can be performed as accurately as possible. 

In the same way that SupportAbility sends invoice data to the organisation's finance system to manage the responsibilities around invoice distribution and accounts receivable, SupportAbility will only export pure Staff time and attendance data for payroll systems to perform award interpretation and generate payroll.

To clarify our reasoning for this, we will begin by providing an overview on the history of this feature. Not long after the SupportAbility Activities module was released back in March 2015, we were asked by a Victorian based provider to develop a simplified version of Award Interpretation for time sheet data against the SCHADS award. Initially, this most basic level of level interpretation, which we labelled 'Award Categorisation', was designed to meet the award interpretation needs of this singular provider who only operated in standard business hours and did not have requirements around managing allowances, shift loadings and penalties under the award.

As our subscriber base grew, we realised that other providers across the country shared this requirement, and so we released the Award Categorisation functionality as standard functionality. However, since then we have become aware of issues with the way in which SupportAbility's Award Categorisation functionality categorises time according to the SCHADS award. We undertook an extensive research project and engaged consultants to help us understand the complexities and intricacies of the SCHADS award and the scope of work required to fix the issues.

The result of this research project highlighted that the problem was infinitely more complex than SupportAbility's Award Categorisation was ever designed to solve. What was originally designed to act as a quick solution for providers, was going to take our Engineering team over 6 months to bring into compliance with the award. Furthermore, award interpretation and payroll generation is primarily the role of the Payroll system, not SupportAbility which is a first and foremost a Client Management System.

We are notifying providers well in advance to allow them to find, review, pilot and implement alternative solutions to solve these issues and their requirements.


12 Month Roadmap

Adjust NDIS support allocations for a single client in a Signed Off group Activity

NDIS Service Providers often encounter an issue where the myplace provider portal rejects a specific line item in a Bulk Payment Request that relates to a Client's participation in a group Activity.  Unfortunately, SupportAbility does not allow providers to make support amendments once the group Activity has been Signed Off.  

Furthermore, even if the Invoice was deleted for the Client in question, the Activity Sign Off cannot be removed if other Clients have been invoiced for their participation in the Activity.  This causes a serious issue for Providers.  In response, we are looking at range of options that would allow Providers to adjust NDIS support allocations for a single Client within a group Activity, even if that Activity has been Signed Off and contains other participants that have been invoiced. 

Export Document Management System (DMS) document list

Provide an ability to export the list of documents (and their related meta data) in a CSV format from the DMS Document List screen after performing a DMS Document Search

SupportAbility Client Portal

SupportAbility is currently working on a client portal for providers designed specifically for disability service consumers and their families. The Client Portal is currently undergoing beta testing prior to its release for all. 

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