ARTICLE
18 April 2024

What should I put in my legal contracts when I start an NDIS business?

Key elements to include in your contracts when starting an NDIS business.
Australia Corporate/Commercial Law
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

As an NDIS business or provider, you might work with clients who receive funding under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If this is the case, you must have a written agreement in place. A service agreement outlines your obligations to clients, including how, when and what goods and services you will provide. Your contracts must meet standards under the NDIS, Australian Consumer Law, and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This article will explore key elements to include in your contracts when starting an NDIS business.

Services Being Provided

Your written agreement should clearly state the goods or services you will provide the participant and how, when and where. Some information you need to include are:

  • the qualification of the people delivering the services (e.g. occupational therapist);
  • a description of the services (e.g. report writing and home assessments);
  • when and how often the services will be provided (e.g. every Tuesday at 3 pm); 
  • how long the agreement will last or if it is an ongoing arrangement; and
  • how the services will be provided (e.g. via telehealth conferences, at your clinic or the participant's home).

The Price of Services

NDIS-registered providers must follow the NDIS rules and regulations regarding pricing. This means you must comply with the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Pricing Limits (NDIS Pricing Rules). The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) outlines specific pricing rules for services, consumables and assistive technology.

For example, from 1 July 2022, an Occupational Therapist cannot charge more than $193.99 per hour (or $271.59 for remote support and $290.99 for very remote support). If you are a registered provider or helping someone manage their NDIS plan, you cannot ask for more money than these amounts when you provide services to an NDIS participant.

A service agreement should also state whether you will charge for: 

  • consumables or assistive technology;
  • your travel expenses; 
  • short notice cancellation fees; and
  • GST (many NDIS supports are GST-free. In order to be GST-free, the ATO requires a written agreement between the provider and the participant. Further information on whether GST applies to your services can be found on the  Australian Taxation Office website).

Therefore, your written agreement should outline the price of your services and any payment methods you will use. A clear contract ensures your client is aware of any charges that may apply when they hire you for services.

Cancellation Policy

A written agreement should explain your cancellation policy clearly. If you plan to charge a cancellation fee, make sure the fees follow the NDIS Pricing Rules. 

In certain circumstances, it is legal to charge your clients the full fee if they:

  • do not show up for a scheduled support appointment within a reasonable time; or
  • give less than seven days' notice to cancel a scheduled service.

However, your client must agree to this policy beforehand.

Additionally, you might provide services in a group. If a participant cancels their attendance and you cannot find a replacement, you can charge them the agreed fee for the session they missed. In your cancellation policy, as well as outlining any  cancellation fees, you should also detail:

  • how the participant should provide you with notice of cancellation;
  • whether you can cancel scheduled support appointments; and 
  • what will happen should you cancel an appointment.

Responsibilities of the Parties

Your written agreement should also state both parties' responsibilities before and during the delivery of support services (if any). Your clients must treat you and your staff with respect and provide you with all required documentation. Likewise, if you deliver services in your client's home, they must provide you with safe and clear access to their premises.

The agreement should also say what will happen if either party is unable to meet the agreed-upon responsibilities.

For example, suppose your client does not provide you with safe and clear access to their home and is unwilling to receive the services elsewhere. In that case, you may specify your right to terminate your agreement.

Similarly, your contract should state how clients can end the agreement should they wish to and if there is a minimum notice period.

Complaints Process

The agreement must include how clients can express concerns or complaints to you. Details should contain:

  • your contact information for receiving complaints (name, number and email);
  • whether clients can raise complaints anonymously;
  • the timeframe in which you agree to respond to complaints;
  • the process you will follow to address or answer a complaint; and
  • a reminder that they can contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission if they are not satisfied with your response to their complaint.

Variation

You should also address whether the written agreement can be changed and how such changes may occur. Usually, service agreements have a clause allowing you or your client to make variations through a written agreement.

Key Takeaways

As an NDIS business or provider, ensuring compliance with NDIS rules and regulations is crucial for your written agreements with clients. A written agreement helps align expectations and clarify the details of the arrangement. Ensure your contracts are in plain language, easy to read and that your clients understand them.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
18 April 2024

What should I put in my legal contracts when I start an NDIS business?

Australia Corporate/Commercial Law

Contributor

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More