How to Make a Shortlist of NDIS Providers

You’ve got an NDIS plan; and that’s great. But ‘unlocking’ your plan and choosing the right support provider to get the ball rolling can feel like you’ve got over one hurdle only to be faced with another.

The best way to help you make the choice about which NDIS provider is right for you and your teen or young adult is to establish your priorities and assess prospective providers by having detailed conversations and asking lots of questions. But with so many providers to choose from, the first step is to establish a shortlist of providers.

Use this step-by-step guide to come up with a shortlist.

Step 1: Make a list of potential providers

Your Coordinator of Supports can help you with a list of NDIS providers that can provide the services in your plan, or you can visit the NDIS or Department of Communities (Disability Services).

Sometimes you can find out about good providers from friends and acquaintances or by searching social media.

Be sure to look at your options, there are many providers out there that offer the services listed in your plan – but they are not all the same, and not all providers will suit you and your family.

Establish if the prospective Provider is registered with the NDIS. Confirm if they provide the core services you need. Check if they work in your area and with people like your child. Find out how long the organisation has been around and how many people they currently support. Also have a look at any ‘quality reports’ carried out on the prospective provider.

Step 2: Check if the provider has experience with people like you: teens and young adults and their families

People at different phases in their life will have different needs and priorities. It’s really important to choose a provider that can relate to your child and that understands your family and the stage of life your child is at. Some providers specialise in supports for young children and some focus on supporting older people. You need to make sure that your provider understands the particular goals and considerations of young people.

A prospective provider’s website may have identified that they work with teens and young adults, but you should establish whether they have a specific interest and demonstrated expertise in supporting teens, young adults and their families.

For example, they should have experience supporting young people going through the transition from school to work or from the family home to their own place. The provider should understand the particular challenges and opportunities, and have experience supporting people to navigate through these testing yet exciting times. Ask them to demonstrate they can provide practical support to help your child get the life they really want.

If they can demonstrate a focus on teens and young adults consider if you can develop a relationship with the provider and the people working there, and if there is potential for trust. Can you see it working for your family in the long term? You need to make a connection – remember you’re relying on them to get your child the life they want.

Step 3: Check them out online

Once you have your list of the potential providers, look for evidence that will indicate if they are for you.

Check out the provider’s website – does it have the right feel and does it say things that resonate with you? Take a look at who the organisation leaders are and their background. Do you get the feeling they could be the kind of people you could get along with?

Check out their Facebook page, their blog and any other social media. Find out if they are actively writing and sharing useful information relevant to teens and young adults.

Step 4: Assess whether the provider can give you what’s important to your family

Talk with each provider on your shortlist and assess whether they can give you what’s important to you. Ask about their philosophy and approach to the provision of support and their values. Does this resonate with you? If not, it’s unlikely they will be a good fit.

Your provider should also be able to help your child get what they need as long as its within the scope of the plan and its budget. So ask if your provider can help you make changes within the scope of the plan.  

Final thoughts

Once you’ve got your shortlist, speak with these providers to get an idea of their approach and style.

When you’re speaking with your prospective provider, pay attention to whether they are happy to answer your questions. Are they respectful, patient and focused on you? Are they able to provide clear and informative answers that tell you what you need to know? Look for a provider that listens to you and is prepared to help you get there – no matter how long it takes.  

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