As the number of deeds being entered into continues to increase, it is timely for OPA to update the Miscellaneous Services (MS), Support Coordination (SC) and Plan Management (PM) deeds. The changes will apply to deeds created on or after 9 May 2022 but do not affect existing deeds.
This page explains the changes that are being made to the MS, SC and PM deeds and associated processes. While OPA has endeavoured to draw attention to all substantive changes, providers should review the sample amended deeds in full (available for download at the bottom of this page) and seek independent advice as required.
We hope these changes will benefit all parties by ensuring accuracy in schedule details, allow for more efficient processing, increase flexibility for providers and make it easier to uphold responsibilities to participants. Any questions or feedback about the amended deeds can be sent to [email protected].
The amended MS and SC deeds set out warranties (promises) that service providers and support coordinators give upon signing the deed. The warranties are that they:
- have the skills, expertise and experience necessary to provide the services
- verified the start and end dates of the participant’s plan, and confirmed there is funding available for the total cost quoted for each support item listed in Schedule 2, prior to submitting the deed
- will only charge for the provision of services listed in Schedule 2 and provided between the start and end date of the participant’s plan, and
- will charge the participant in accordance with the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits and not more than the current price limit for the relevant item specified in the NDIS Support Catalogue.
These warranties reflect what providers should already be doing but they have been included in the deeds to:
- reduce the current rate of errors in Schedules 1 and 2 of submitted deeds and ensure deeds reflect participant support needs and available funding. Reducing these errors will allow the deeds to be processed and signed more quickly
- reduce any risks to the participant which may arise from services being provided outside the terms of the deed or their NDIS plan.
To draw attention to these warranties, providers will be asked to affirm them when filling out the deed form online.
The amended MS deed also sets out responsibilities on the service provider relating to communication with the participant and guardian, including to:
- keep the guardian informed of relevant changes to the participant’s situation; and
- listen to the participant’s and guardian’s feedback and work with them to resolve problems quickly.
These responsibilities are already included in the SC deed.
- New MS deed clauses2 ‘Service Provider warranties’ and 3.3 ‘Service Provider’s responsibilities’
- New SC deed clause2 ‘Support Coordinator warranties’
When a provider submits a MS deed, a copy will now automatically be emailed to the participant’s support coordinator, with instructions to review the plan dates and details of services set out in schedules to the deed. After reviewing the schedules, the support coordinator will either:
- forward the email to OPA to confirm the details are accurate, appropriate and compatible with the participant’s NDIS plan, or
- if issues are identified, contact the service provider and ask them to resubmit the deed with the appropriate
The guardian will sign the deed once the support coordinator has confirmed the details in the schedules. The provider, the support coordinator and OPA will then each receive a copy of the co-signed deed.
This change has been made to:
- reduce the current rate of errors in Schedules 1 and 2 of submitted deeds, which support coordinators are better placed than guardians to identify
- help support coordinators carry out their functions and responsibilities towards the participant (which, as confirmed by the NDIA, include helping the participant to set up service agreements that reflect their goals and needs and that fit within their NDIS plan budget).
To support this process change, reviewing submitted deeds has been included as a support coordinator responsibility in the amended SC deed.
- New SC deed clause 3.3.5 ‘Support coordinator’s responsibilities’
- MS deed Schedule 1 amended (support coordinator’s name and contact details to be specified)
Aligning the term of the deed to the NDIS plan - no more dates of service or automatic deed extensions
The term of all MS, SC and PM deeds will be aligned to the dates of the participant’s NDIS plan and will run from the plan start date or whenever the provider was engaged (whichever is later) to the plan end date, unless terminated sooner.
Dates of service will no longer need to be specified in Schedule 1. This change has been made to provide greater flexibility for the provider to provide services anytime between the start and end date of the participant’s plan, in accordance with any directions from the guardian and/or support coordinator.
The deeds no longer automatically extend at the end of the original service period. Accordingly, there is no longer the option of submitting a Deed Extension Schedule. A new deed will be required whenever the participant’s plan is amended or replaced. This change has been made to reduce the risk of inconsistencies between the details of services set out in Schedule 2 of an extended deed and the funding available in a participant’s new plan.
- Clause 1.1 – definitions of ‘Deed’, ‘End date’ and ‘Start date’ amended; definitions of ‘Automatic Extension End Date’, ‘Deed Extension Schedule’ and ‘Review Date’ removed
- Clause 2.1 ‘Term of Deed’ amended and clause 2.2 ‘Automatic Extension’ removed
- New clause 3.1.7 (acknowledgement by parties that new deed required for new plans)
- Schedule 1 amended (dates of service removed)
Where the details of services set out in Schedule 2 of a MS or SC deed need to be altered during the operative period of the deed (during the current NDIS plan), the service provider now has the option of submitting a Deed Amendment Schedule. The Deed Amendment Schedule will then replace Schedule 2.
This change has been made it make it easier for providers to adjust the types and volume of services being provided during the operative period of the deed.
The provider should submit the Deed Amendment Schedule within 7 days of the agreed change. There is no limit on the number of times a new Deed Amendment Schedule can be made during the operative period of a deed.
- Clause 1.1 - definition of ‘Deed Amendment Schedule’ added
- New MS deed clause 7.1 ‘Amendment’
- New SC deed clause 8.1 ‘Amendment’
- New MS and SC Deed Amendment Schedules
A new termination clause has been included in the amended MS and SC deeds. It enables a participant to immediately terminate a deed by notifying the provider when, in the guardian’s opinion, continuation of the services would pose a risk to the participant’s safety or personal or social wellbeing.
In rare situations, it may be necessary for the guardian to take such action even though the provider has not breached the deed. This change has been made to ensure guardians can act when necessary to uphold their obligations and responsibilities towards the participant under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic).
- New MS deed clause 2.3 ‘Termination by the Participant’
- New SC deed clause 2.3 ‘Termination by the Participant’
Miscellaneous and minor changes include:
- further new or amended definitions in clause 1.1 (including ‘Guardian’, ‘Service provider’, ‘Support Coordinator’, ‘NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits’, ‘NDIS Support Catalogue’, ‘Personal Information’ and ‘Health Information’) and removal of redundant definitions
- in the PM deed, removing the clause permitting termination for serious breach of the plan manager’s responsibilities (clause 6.6) and incorporating it into the existing clause permitting immediate termination by the participant (clause 6.2).
- participant’s plan to be reviewed at least 10 weeks (rather than 6 weeks) prior to the end date of their plan (SC deed clause 4)
- some editing to improve clarity, remove duplication and align similar clauses in the MS and SC deeds, without altering the rights, interests or duties of any party.