NDIS Support Planning


Published: 26 July 2021

Providers of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services must ensure that supports are appropriately planned, reviewed and updated in collaboration with NDIS participants and their changing needs and preferences.

Support Planning in the NDIS Practice Standards

Support planning is a requirement of the NDIS Practice Standards under Core Module 3: Provision of Supports.

This Practice Standard aims to ensure that:

  • NDIS Participants are involved in the development of their support plans
  • Supports plans take into account participants’ needs, requirements, preferences, strengths and goals
  • Support plans are regularly reviewed.

(NDIS 2020)

Support Planning Quality Indicators

NDIS providers must meet the following quality indicators:

Effective Assessment and Support Plan Development

With the participant’s consent, providers are expected to undertake an effective needs assessment of the participant’s care needs, together with the participant and their support network (NDIS 2020).

The assessment should be appropriate, evidence-based and multidisciplinary, taking into account:

  • The participant’s physical, emotional, spiritual, cultural, social, community and environmental circumstances and needs
  • The participant's abilities and difficulties
  • The participant's privacy, dignity, quality of life and independence needs
  • Information from a variety of sources.

(NDS 2020; Lifestyle Centred Services 2020a, b)

This needs assessment can then subsequently be used to inform the development of an appropriate support plan (NDIS 2020).

Examples of goals that NDIS participants may want to achieve include:

  • Developing skills and independence
  • Working or studying
  • Participating in social or recreational activities
  • Developing friendships or connecting with family.

(NDIA 2021)

support planning carer participant discussing

Performing Risk Assessments

All participants should have their support plans informed by a documented risk assessment, which is to be performed in collaboration with the participant (WAAMH 2021).

Providers are then expected to plan and implement risk mitigation strategies for each potential risk that has been identified (NDS 2020).

Potential risks in the delivery of services could include:

  • Hazards in the participant’s home such as other occupants, animals, weapons, tobacco use, or alcohol or drug use
  • Personal characteristics that increase the participant’s risk of abuse or neglect (e.g. isolation, complex medical condition, non-English speaking background, limited communication)
  • Performing higher-risk tasks such as peg feeding or administering prescription medicines, which may have serious consequences if done incorrectly
  • Delivering supports that require intimate personal contact (e.g. showering, toileting)
  • Delivering supports in an environment where there is limited external visibility or supervision.

(Cohealth 2021; DoSS 2016)

Reviewing Risk Management Strategies

Risk management strategies that have been implemented should be reviewed periodically. This aims to ensure that:

  • All risks are being appropriately addressed
  • Changes are made to the risk management strategies if required.

(WAAMH 2021)

Reviewing Support Plans

Support plans should be reviewed:

  • At least once every year, and
  • When the participant’s needs change.

(WAAMH 2021)

During these reviews, providers and participants should measure the progress that has been made towards achieving desired outcomes and goals. Progress should be evaluated at a frequency that is dependent on any identified risks, as well as the participant’s functionality and needs (NDIS 2020).

Ensuring that the participant’s goals are made using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) framework will assist with measuring progress (WAAMH 2021).

Changing and Updating Support Plans

In the event that expected outcomes and goals are not being achieved, or outcomes differ from those outlined in the support plan, the provider is expected to work collaboratively with the participant to change and update the support plan to better suit the participant’s current needs (NDS 2020; WAAMH 2021).

It may be helpful to regularly check in with the participant, their support network and staff so that any changes in progress can be identified early. Outlining changes in circumstances for staff to look out for may also be beneficial (WAAMH 2021).

support planning changing and updating support plans participant filling in form

Communicating Information to Others

Providers may need to share information about the participant’s support plan with other members of the participant’s support network, such as:

  • Family members
  • Carers
  • Other providers
  • Government agencies.

(WAAMH 2021; NDIS 2020)

This information must only be shared with others if the participant has given consent (NDIS 2020).

It may be helpful for all parties involved in the participant’s care to meet regularly to ensure that everyone involved is working towards achieving the participant’s goals (WAAMH 2021).

Additional Resources


Test Your Knowledge

Question 1 of 3

Which one of the NDIS Practice Standards does support planning fall under?


educator profile image
Ausmed View profile
Ausmed’s editorial team is committed to providing high-quality, well-researched and reputable education to our users, free of any commercial bias or conflict of interest. All education produced by Ausmed is developed in consultation with healthcare professionals and undergoes a rigorous review process to ensure the relevancy of all healthcare information and updates to changes in practice. If you have identified an issue with the education offered by Ausmed or wish to submit feedback to Ausmed's editorial team, please email ausmed@ausmed.com.au with your concerns.