Programs of Support

Following the inclusion of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, an additional feature is available from SupportAbility v6.21 (18th of August, 2020) to record the relevant Clients' participation as part of a ‘Program of Support’ (POS) in the Activities they are scheduled into. 

When set, Short Term Cancellations are not triggered for the applicable Support Items. Given Programs of Support are only relevant for specific Supports, this feature is configurable by Service in System Preferences as required.

This article presumes POS has been configured for the relevant Services and outlines how to set Clients' participation as being part of a Program of Support. It also discusses where this information appears in addition to the Activity record, as well as suggested approaches to utilising & managing Programs of Support specific to; the required agreement, the duration of the POS (12 weeks in general, 12 months for SIL), tracking progress toward the specific outcome of the POS using Client Goals and claiming for POS. 

Audience: All


Prerequisites

Programs of Support must be configured for the relevant Services in System Preferences before this will be available to select from for the required participants in the Activity record. 

The privileges required to manage Activities are required in order to set Client participation as being part of a Program of Support. 

It is also important to: 

  • Understand which NDIS Supports are applicable to deliver Programs of Support (as outlined further below), and that
  • Agreements are in place between your organisation and the relevant participants first. 


Summary

The following list summarises the content within this article. Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections:


Which Supports are relevant to Programs of Support?

On pages 24-25 of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, it is stated that:

'A provider of group-based supports in the Assistance in Shared Living Arrangements - Supported Independent Living section of the  Assistance with Daily Life Support Category, or in the Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation Support Category, including Supports in Employment, or in any of the Capacity Building Support Categories, can enter into an agreement with a participant for a “program of support”, especially where the program is towards the achievement of a specified outcome.

Under this approach, providers claim against the plans of all the participants who had agreed to attend an instance of support in the program of support as though they had attended (whether or not they did) - as long as the provider had the capacity to deliver the instance of support. Supports delivered as part of a program of supports are not subject to the short notice cancellation rules'.

Therefore, the Short term Cancellation rules will not apply when a Client's participation is set as being part of a Program of Support in SupportAbility for each of the Support Items in the following Support Categories:

  • Support Items in the 'Assistance in Shared Living Arrangements - Supported Independent Living' section of CAT 0001 Assistance with Daily Life Support Category
  • All Support Items included in CAT 0004 Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation Support Category, including Supports in Employment
  • All Support Items included in each of the Capacity Building Support Categories CAT 0007 - 0015


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How to set a Client's participation as being part of a Program of Support

When this has been configured to 'On by default' or 'Off by default' for the relevant Services in System Preferences, a new setting becomes available for each Client row in the Activities for this Service in cases where NDIS Funding is being used as the Client's Funding Source:

This allows Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities to indicate if the Client's participation is related to a 'Program of Support'. When indicated as such, this ensures that the Cancellation Reason and Claim Type usually required when Absent is selected: 

Is  not triggered for the relevant Support Items applicable to the Client in the case of Absenteeism:

N.B. If Supports have been allocated that are not allowable as part of a POS, then the Cancellation Reason and Claim Type will still apply in such a case. 

For example, Jessie has one hour of 01_300_0104_1_1_T allocated, in addition to 04_120_0136_6_1_T, therefore, when Absent it selected, the Cancellation Reason is required: 

However, this is only for 01_300_0104_1_1_T e.g: 

POS is only available to be selected by Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities when NDIS Funding has been set as the Client's Funding Source. 

The default state of this setting is determined by how this has been configured. It will either be 'Off by default': 

Or 'On by default': 

It is important to note when Programs of Support has been configured to 'On by default' this does not automatically switch this setting to on for all existing Client's in Activities for this Service where NDIS Funding has already been added as the Client's Funding Source: 

This must be updated manually as required for each participant due to an agreement needing to be in place beforehand and thus needing to be opted into when ready.  

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Where does this information appear in addition to the Activity record?

In addition to this setting in the Activity record, a new handshake icon appears in various places to indicate the Client's participation is related to a Program of Support. 

For example, in the Client::Activities tab: 

As well as in the Activity Client Report results: 

Programs of Support participation information has also been included in the Activity Client Report export: 

As well as the ability to search for Activity Client records by this search criterion: 

It is recommended to use a combination of search criteria in this report when searching for Client participation as being part of a Program of Support for the best results e.g. Activities for the relevant Service/s after the 1st of July, 2020, using NDIS Funding: 

For more information regarding this report, please review the  Activity Clients Report article linked below for reference.

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Program of Support agreement 

On page 25 of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, it is stated that:

'Providers who offer programs of support must enter into an agreement with each participant specifying the program of support, including its length, exit rules and intended outcomes'. 

'Providers and participants can agree to a new program of support at any time'.

Therefore, your organisation may wish to use Client Documents in SupportAbility to assist in managing these agreements. 

For example, Program of Support Agreement has been created as a Document Type so that Staff Members can upload these Agreements to the Client's Documents tab: 

The Due/Review Date has been set for the last week of the 'Home cooked meal prep' POS example, so that this will appear on Mimi's Dashboard as a reminder to get new Agreements in place as required for the next Program of Support if the participants choose to continue in this. 

The Document Search Report can also be used, to proactively search for Documents with a Due/Review Date by the Staff Member who is set to Notify: 

Thus providing a list of each of the Agreements due to be completed. 

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Program of Support duration

On page 25 of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, it is stated that:

'Programs of support can only be offered if the duration of the program is no longer than 12 weeks (unless specifically allowed for in the  Price Guide); and participants are able to exit from the program of supports without cost, subject to a notice period of no more than two (2) weeks'.

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Creating a Program of Support Activity Set

Due to the above, providers may wish to create separate sets of Activities for Programs of Support for a period of 12 weeks in order to track and manage these effectively. 

For example, our Day Services 'Home cooked meal prep' Activity is being facilitated as a Program of Support for three participants on a Monday afternoon for 12 weeks i.e. the 24th of August - 9th of November. The first Activity has been created for the 24th of August: 

Now let's replicate this for the required timeframe. To do so, select 'Replicate Activity':

If the Activities included in the Activity are facilitated on more than the one day per week, select the relevant days in the 'Repeats On Days' section. In this case, our POS is facilitated on Monday afternoon only. 

Open the 'Ends On' Date picker and select the relevant date i.e. 12 weeks from the Start Date e.g. 9th of November: 

Once selected, the date will populate as such:  

Select 'Replicate Activity' and then 'Show Proposed Replication Dates': 

This displays a preview of the dates the Activity Set will be created for: 

Noting that 11 replications are displayed (including the initial Activity on the 24th of August, this equates to a 12 week period). 

Ensuring this is accurate, select 'Replicate Activity' to create the set. This navigates you to the 'Related Activities' tab of the Activity record, with the green row highlighted indicating the current Activity record you are in, being the initial Activity in the set: 

A stand-alone 12 week Activity Set for the 'Home cooked meal prep' Program of Support has now been created. Journal entries may be added from the Activity record to record Client progress toward the expected outcomes of this as outlined further below. 

Containing these Activities to a stand-alone set for the POS duration may be preferential due to the guidance provided in the NDIS Price Guide so that participation and progress toward the POS outcome may be tracked and managed within this timeframe. 

N.B. It is understood that the 12 week duration limit is not applicable for Supported Independent Living (SIL) and that a 12 month Program of Support is acceptable to align with the participant's Roster of Care (RoC). 

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Creating an additional Program of Support Activity set

If an additional Program of Support Activity set is required following this, the Replicate Activity feature can be utilised to create a new Activity set, separate to the original set to achieve this. 

Let's use this example to demonstrate how to do this. If we want to create a new  Program of Support Activity set for the 'Home cooked meal prep' Activity and participants, to do this, navigate to the last Activity in the existing set. By, for example, selecting the 'View' target icon for the Activity on the 9th of November in the 'Related Activities' tab: 

Select 'Replicate Activity': 

Similar to the above, open the 'Ends On' Date picker and select the relevant date i.e. 12 weeks, but this time given we are creating an additional 12 week Activity set, the Start Date of the next POS must be included e.g. through to the 1st of February, 2021: 

Where an additional 12 week POS Activity sets is created from an existing set, it is important that the 'Replications are related to this activity' is deselected. 

Doing so ensures that the new POS Activity set created is separate to the set it is being created from and allows you to manage each POS Activity set independently: 

Noting above that 12 replications are appearing in the preview this time. The 'Start Date' of Monday the 9th of November is displaying, as this is the Activity we're creating the set from. However, given we have deselected 'Replications are related to this activity', this ensures that a separate Activity set is created from the 16th of November - 1st of February: 

Your organisation may wish to update the name of the Activity to something different in order to differentiate the POS', or Activity Tags could be used for this purpose alternatively. 

Let's update the name of the Activity to 'Home cooked meal prep - Asian inspired', in this example. Navigate to the 'Activity Details' tab of the initial Activity in the set, select the Replication For Set 'Settings' checkbox in the Replication Management Settings and then 'Save Activity': 

This will update the name of each Activity in the set. Be sure to turn off the Settings checkbox once complete. 

It is important to note that due to the nature of a Program of Support, this setting is replicated when the Clients Replication For Set setting is activated, regardless of whether the 'Exclude This Activity' setting is on. For more information regarding this, please review the Replicating Activities article linked below for reference. 

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Program of Support outcome

On pages 24 of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, it is stated that:

'A provider of group-based supports...can enter into an agreement with a participant for a “program of support”, especially where the program is towards the achievement of a specified outcome'.


Client Goals and Goal Strategies

Therefore, providers may wish to track Client progress toward the achievement of a specified outcome using Client Goals and Goal Strategies. 

For example, our Client Jessie is participating in the 'Home cooked meal prep' Program of Support. One of her Client Goals is '...to learn more about nutrition and making healthy meals for herself as part of increasing her independence': 

A Goal Strategy has been added to Jessie's Goal specifically for her participation in the 'Home cooked meal prep' Program of Support: 

The Start and Target End Dates entered align with the POS Activity. The 'Goal Strategy', 'Strategic Plan', 'Responsibilities' and 'What Success Will Look Like' fields have also been completed to outline the intended outcomes as a result of participation in the POS. 

Day Services has been added as the Applicable Service and in this case, no Strategy Tasks have been entered, however, this can be completed as deemed necessary to outline the exact components of the program for example (noting that this only appears in the Goal Strategy here for reference). 

Note that the Progress Evidence and Assessments section of the Goal Strategy is empty now. However, when Journals are recorded and linked to the Goal Strategy, these will be listed here. 

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Creating Client Journals linked to the Activity and Goal Strategy

Once the Program of Support Activities and the Client's Goal/Goal Strategies have been created, these may all be linked to Journal evidence provided this is created from the Activity record. 

For example, if we want to create a Journal for Jessie to document her participation in the Program of Support, select the '+' icon under the Journal column in the Activity record: 

Once a Journal is created from the Activity record, note that this is now linked to the Activity and the Site and Service is also automatically updated: 

Select the relevant Client Journal Type, in this case, a 'Program of Support | Outcome Progress' Journal Type and Template has been created for use when recording evidence related to participation as part of a POS: 

Once the correct Client Journal Type is in use, then the relevant notes may be entered and 1-3 Client Documents may be attached (provided they have already been updated to the Client's Documents tab): 

Scrolling down, the ability to link Standards, Client Goals and/or Journal Actions is available. In this case, we're going to link Jessie's Goal Strategy related to the 'Home cooked meal prep' POS. To do so, select 'Add Goal': 

Select the relevant Client Goal: 

Once the relevant Goal has been selected, navigate to 'Next: Goal Strategy': 

N.B. If no Goal Strategies are available, this will appear as 'Save' instead to link it to the Client Goal. 

Select the relevant Goal Strategy as required: 

Alternatively, if you don't wish to link it to the Goal Strategy choose 'Goal Strategy not required'. Once the required option is selected, click 'Save':

Once saved, the Journal is now linked as evidence toward this:

An Assessment score may be selected, along with additional notes regarding how this contributed toward the goal as required: 

Once saved, this information appears in the 'Progress Evidence and Assessments' section of the Goal Strategy on the Client's Goal record: 

As well as in the Client Goals Report: 

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Claiming for Programs of Support

On page 25 of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, it is stated that:

'Providers cannot pre-claim for programs of support. Each instance of support in the program of support has to be delivered before the provider can claim for that instance of support'.

With this in mind, the existing Activity Sign Off and Direct Bulk Payment (BPR) process in SupportAbility works well, as it means the Activity must be complete, Signed Off and then the BPR generated (which cannot be generated for a future date). 

It is our understanding that when a POS Agreement is entered into, that the NDIS Support Allocations agreed to be used for this require little to no adjustment on a day-to-day basis once this has been set up. 

In addition to this, given Short Term Cancellations do not apply, that No Charge would not be required under a Program of Support, hence a blue notification message appears to this effect if selected: 

Where an apportioned price is required to be entered, please review the Managing Fractions of Price for Group Supports article for more information regarding the currently available options for this, as well as the solution being developed to assist providers managing these new requirements. 

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