Understanding Plan Manager & Support Coordinator Roles

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While both Plan Manager and Support Coordinator roles involve supporting Participants, there is a clear distinction between their scope and responsibilities. In this article, we outline the two roles, how they work together to support Participants, and look at how Planability can help facilitate this.

Plan Managers

Plan Managers are a unique role to the NDIS. Consider them an accountant for a Participant’s plan budget. With a Plan Manager, Participants have the flexibility of self-managing their plan, without the stress of paying the bills and managing the budgets. Plan Management is available for NDIS Participants with no out of pocket costs. The service is fully-funded by the NDIS, and can be accessed by requesting to include a Plan Manager in your plan.

The core function of a Plan Manager is to manage the financial aspects of a Participant's plan. This includes:

  • Receiving invoices and paying providers for their services
  • Tracking supports and funding budgets
  • Claiming funds through the NDIS portal
  • Adhering to the NDIS Price Guide
  • Managing financial reporting for NDIS plan reviews and audits
  • Being an expert in NDIS funding matters
  • Giving Participants access to both NDIS registered and non-registered service providers
  • Helping choose the right support provider(s) for a Participant’s needs (if requested)

There are no conditions for having funding for plan management included in your plan. If it is requested during a planning meeting, the NDIS should allocate additional funding to include Plan Management.

Support Coordinators

Support Coordinators help you implement all other supports needed. Initially, Support Coordinators will operate a few hours per week to help you set up your supports. Once those supports and Service Agreements are in place, your Support Coordinator will continue to touch base to ensure you’re happy with the supports or if any adjustments need to be made.
One of the primary roles of Support Coordinators is to provide guidance and support to participants. A Support Coordinator will:

  • Help navigate and understand an NDIS plan
  • Help choose supports and providers to meet participant’s goals
  • Manage Service Agreements, including changing or ending an agreement
  • Arrange assessments
  • Connect with mainstream and community services
  • Assist in preparing for a plan renewal and/or plan review
  • Work with the Plan Manager to ensure budget is available and monitor monthly spend.

Support Coordinators also play a critical role in advocating for participants. They work with service providers and other stakeholders to ensure that participants' needs are met and advocate for system changes when necessary. Support Coordinators also help participants advocate for themselves and to speak up for their rights.

However, not everyone is eligible to receive support coordination. The NDIA assesses each case individually to identify who is eligible for this type of service. 

Both Plan Managers and Support Coordinators roles can occasionally cross over, and in an ideal world they work cohesively to support a Participant in utilising and administering their plan. However, as only about 45% of Participants are receiving Support Coordination*, this role occasionally falls to the Local Area Coordinator or Plan Manager to help Participants and their Carers understand which supports they’re eligible for and make connections.

Planability helps Plan Managers and Support Coordinators work together

In Planability, Plan Managers can allocate dedicated Support Coordinator access levels, allowing them to view all Planability Participants with one easy login. With Participant consent, Support Coordinators can receive:

Unique Portal Access
This allows them to easily manage multiple Planability Participants and their plan budgets, claims and invoices and “Real-time” summary reports. Viewing the live budget makes it easier to understand the exact funding position.

Monthly Statements
Receive emailed statements with a summary of spend, detailed information, and invoices processed during that month.

Improved Communication
Automated and relevant notifications about a Participant’s plan, including invoice approvals, plan spending and low budget warnings, and end-of-plan notifications. Keeping everyone updated is vital when working together to support Participants.

Profile Management
Support Coordinators have control over their own user details, security settings and opt-in settings of their own profile, as well as the levels of support offered for Support Coordination. 

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*NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Own Motion Inquiry into Support Coordination & Plan Management Aug 2023, page 5.