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Navigating the world of NDIS service provision involves understanding the key differences between registered and unregistered providers. Whether you choose to become a registered NDIS provider or operate as an unregistered one, each path comes with its own set of pros and cons. In this guide, we’ll explore these options and how to choose what’s best for you, whether you’re an established provider or you’re just starting an NDIS business.

What is a registered provider in the NDIS?

A registered provider in the NDIS is an organisation or individual that has been formally approved by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (QSC) to deliver supports and services to NDIS participants. To achieve this status, providers must meet specific quality and safety standards, demonstrate compliance with NDIS practice standards and undergo regular audits and assessments. 

Becoming a registered NDIS provider not only signifies a commitment to high standards of service delivery but also provides your business access to a broader market of NDIS participants. NDIS registered providers are authorised to deliver services to all NDIS participants, including those whose plans are managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), plan managers and those who self-manage their plans.

What is the difference between registered and unregistered providers in the NDIS?

The primary difference between registered and unregistered NDIS providers lies in their regulatory status and market access. Registered providers undergo rigorous assessments and audits to meet the quality and safety standards set by the NDIS QSC, allowing them to offer services to all NDIS participants. In contrast, unregistered providers are not subject to the same level of regulatory oversight and can only serve self-managing participants and those whose plans are managed by plan managers.

What NDIS providers need to be registered?

Under the NDIS’s unregulated provider obligations guidelines, NDIS providers that offer specific services must be registered. NDIS participants can only engage registered providers for:

  • Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
  • Supports or services involving regulated restrictive practices
  • Specialist behaviour supports involving assessments or plan development

Why become a registered NDIS provider

Benefits of being a registered NDIS provider

Becoming a registered NDIS provider offers several benefits, including:

  • Access to a broader market: Registered providers can offer services to all NDIS participants, increasing the potential for business growth and sustainability.
  • Enhanced credibility and trust: Registration with the NDIS QSC signifies that a provider meets rigorous quality and safety standards. This formal recognition increases the confidence that participants and their families have in the provider’s services.
  • Marketing advantage: Being listed on the NDIS website as a registered provider can serve as a powerful tool when marketing your NDIS business. It makes it easier for participants and their families to find and verify the provider’s services, potentially attracting more clients and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Access to funding: Some participants can only access certain funding supports if they engage with registered providers. By being registered, providers can access funding streams that may not be available to unregistered providers, expanding the range of services they can offer.
  • Professional development and support: Registered providers have access to resources, training and support provided by the NDIS QSC. This support can help providers improve their service delivery, stay updated on industry developments and navigate any challenges they encounter.

Drawbacks of being a registered NDIS provider

While being a registered NDIS provider offers numerous benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Compliance requirements: Providers must manage paperwork and reporting requirements and undertake ongoing training to stay updated with NDIS policies and practices. Meeting regulatory standards and administrative demands can be time-consuming unless NDIS businesses leverage care management software and learning management systems.
  • Financial investment: Initial costs and ongoing fees associated with registration might pose a financial challenge.
  • Increased accountability: With registration comes a higher level of accountability for service quality and delivery. Therefore, providers may face risks associated with legal liabilities and disputes.

NDIS unregistered provider requirements

When figuring out how to become an unregistered NDIS provider and whether this is the right path for your business, keep these requirements and guidelines in mind:

Can unregistered providers use restrictive practices?

Unregistered providers cannot use restrictive practices with NDIS participants. Restrictive practices are actions or measures that restrict a person’s freedom of movement or rights and are often used as a form of behaviour management.  According to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, only registered NDIS providers are allowed to use restrictive practices under specific circumstances and with appropriate safeguards in place. 

Does the NDIS audit non-registered providers?

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission does not directly audit or regulate unregistered providers. However, unregistered NDIS providers are still required to comply with relevant laws and standards, and complaints about their services can be made to the NDIS or other relevant authorities.

How do unregistered NDIS providers get paid? 

Unregistered NDIS providers bypass the NDIS portal. They can invoice participants directly, offering greater control over cash flow compared to registered providers whose payments typically flow through the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). However, this adds to the workload for NDIS participants, who have to pay unregistered providers directly before manually claiming these funds back through the NDIS portal.

Can you use the NDIS logo if you’re not registered?

The use of the NDIS logo is reserved for registered NDIS providers who have undergone the necessary registration processes and meet the NDIA’s requirements. Unauthorised use of the NDIS logo by unregistered providers may result in legal consequences.

Do unregistered NDIS providers need an ABN?

Unregistered NDIS providers typically need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to conduct their business legally. An ABN is required for invoicing clients, managing taxes and other administrative purposes.

How do you check if a company is NDIS registered?

The NDIS website is your key to confirming whether your company is an NDIS registered provider. You can view the full NDIS registered providers list and filter the results or use the registered NDIS provider search tool.

How to register as an NDIS provider

Registering as an NDIS provider involves submitting an application online and passing an audit and assessment. Complete the online application form provided by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, inputting your organisation’s details and selecting the relevant registration groups for your NDIS business. After completing a self-assessment against the NDIS Practice Standards, engage an NDIS-approved auditor to confirm compliance. Once you have passed the audit, the NDIS will conduct a suitability assessment. If successful, the NDIS Commission will send you your registration certificate, officially making you a registered provider. For detailed information about how to become a registered NDIS provider, visit the NDIS QSC website

By becoming a registered provider, you not only enhance your business’s credibility but also tap into a growing demand for quality personal care services. Whether you’re a registered or unregistered NDIS provider, your focus should be on the people you’re supporting rather than administrative tasks that can be streamlined with the right care management platform. If you want to increase your NDIS business’s efficiency and spend more time on what matters, request a demo of our NDIS software today.

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