Responsive Support Provision Under the NDIS


Published: 16 August 2021

Providers of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services need to ensure that they deliver supports that are responsive to NDIS participants’ needs and preferences.

So, how can this be achieved?

Responsive Support Provision in the NDIS Practice Standards

Responsive support provision is a requirement of the NDIS Practice Standards under Core Module 3: Provision of Supports.

This Practice Standard aims to ensure that NDIS participants receive responsive, timely, competent and appropriate supports that enable them to achieve their needs, desired outcomes and goals (NDIS 2020).

Continuity of Supports Quality Indicators

NDIS providers must meet the following quality indicators:

Supports Based on Least-Intrusive Options

The supports provided should be based on the least-intrusive options; in other words, supports should intrude on the participant’s autonomy and independence as little as practicable. This might involve providing the participant with aids that allow them to perform tasks on their own, or helping the participant to access community services instead of relying heavily on the provider (WAAMH 2021; NDIA 2019).

These least intrusive options should be based on contemporary evidence-informed practices, meet the participant’s needs and assist in achieving their desired outcomes (NDIS 2020).

Collaboration Between Providers

Providers may collaborate with other providers in order to share information and meet the participant’s needs, however, this must only be done with the participant’s direction, consent and agreement (WAAMH 2021).

In these cases, the participant’s support plan should outline the other providers who are involved in the participant’s care, and what role they are playing in the delivery of supports (WAAMH 2021).

Selection of Workers

responsive care diverse staff
Employing a diverse range of staff helps to ensure that providers are able to meet the needs of different participants.

Participants’ needs and preferences should be taken into account throughout the care planning process, including in the selection of workers who will be delivering care (WAAMH 2021).

Therefore, reasonable efforts should be made in order to allow participants to engage in the selection of the workers. This includes selecting workers of the participant’s preferred gender (NDIS 2020).

The benefits of appropriately matching workers to participants include:

  • Participants being able to receive care that reflects what’s important to them
  • Workers being able to ‘do what they are good at’, resulting in increased job satisfaction, decreased staff turnover, increased worker engagement and increased participant satisfaction
  • Providers being able to support informed decision-making when participants are helping to select workers.

(CareCareers 2016)

Employing a diverse range of staff helps to ensure that providers are able to meet the needs of different participants. Consider employing a range of staff who:

  • Are different genders
  • Are from different cultural backgrounds
  • Speak different languages
  • Have a variety of skills, knowledge and experience.

(WAAMH 2021)

It may also be helpful to engage two different staff members to regularly provide care to the participant. This ensures that in the event of a staff absence, the participant is still able to receive care from somebody they are familiar with (WAAMH 2021).

Consider regularly reviewing how well participants and staff members are connecting with each other so that any concerns or issues can be promptly addressed (WAAMH 2021).

Matching Workers to Participants

The matching staff tool may be useful in determining the most appropriate worker to support a certain participant. It considers the following four areas:

  1. Supports wanted and needed - What exactly does the participant require support with? What kind of tasks will the worker need to perform on a daily basis? It’s important to be specific when listing the supports required, for example, ‘Driving to and actively supporting the participant to participate in swimming
  2. Skills and experience needed - What skills and experience will the worker need in order to adequately support the participant? What skills are important to the participant? Which skills does the worker already possess, and what is the provider willing to provide training on?
  3. Personality characteristics - What kind of personalities mesh well with the participant? If there have been workers in the past who were a good match with the participant, what characteristics do they have in common? Are there any personality types that need to be avoided?
  4. Shared common interests - Are there any shared interests that would be desirable for the participant? These interests do not necessarily need to relate to the supports being provided, rather, they aim to build rapport between the participant and the worker. As it may not be possible to find a worker who possesses all of the participant’s desired qualities, it may be helpful to determine what the participant’s ‘non-negotiables’ are.

(CareCareers 2016)

responsive care matching worker to participant

Meeting Specific Needs

Some participants may have specific needs that require monitoring and/or daily support (WAAMH 2021), for example, a need to maintain some level of independence, which could be achieved by preparing and cooking food with supervision.

It’s crucial that all staff are appropriately trained on and understand these needs, as well as the participant’s preferences (WAAMH 2021).

Staff performance should be monitored and supervised, with performance management plans implemented if improvement is required. It may also be helpful to seek feedback from the participant and their support network (WAAMH 2021).

Additional Resources


Test Your Knowledge

Question 1 of 3

True or false: Participants should be able to provide input on the gender of staff delivering supports.


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