DIA understands that final executive approvals have been given to commence the ‘test’ program on Monday 14th November 2022.

The NDIA have been developing a new CRM system based on Salesforce that they call “PACE”. The intention is that PACE will replace the current SAP based CRM system which we know has been far from ideal.

Whilst DIA supports the introduction of a new NDIA system, let’s be honest the current system is horrendous and does not befit a scheme of the scale or complexity as the NDIS, there are risks and DIA like many in the sector are very nervous given the risks.

The NDIA are conducting a “Test / Pilot” of the PACE system in Tasmania which commences on 14 November. Whist the NDIA calls this a ‘Test or Pilot’ it could be better described as a staged rollout of the new system, with no option for a participant or provider to ‘opt out’ of such testing.

Participants and Providers Included

  • From the 14th of November: All new participants to the Scheme in Tasmania will receive their first plan in the PACE system.
  • From the 28th of November: Existing Tasmanian NDIS participants will be migrated to the PACE system at the point of their natural / currently timed plan reassessment (plan review).

DIA is pleased to see the NDIA move to a slower and more gradual implementation process as this will limit the exposure should something go wrong.

Providers delivering supports to new participants and participants with reviewed plans from those dates will therefore be included in the “Test / Pilot”. 

Payment Portal

DIA understands that one element which is not changing during the “Test / Pilot” is that payment claims will remain through the myplace portal.

DIA also understands the current line-item codes will remain in place and will be “mapped” to the new Categories used in PACE in the background. On the one hand this is welcome as it reduces the need for providers to alter business systems to calibrate to new codes but also a leap of faith that the “mapping” will work seamlessly and flow correctly back to participants budgets.

One disappointing element of the “Test / Pilot” is the removal of the single claim functionality for transitioned and new participants in the myplace portal. During discussions between DIA and the NDIA, the Agency acknowledged the use and functionality of single claims but indicated that it is not the intention to reinstate this functionality in the new environment. As such all claims will need to be made via the Bulk Upload process.

Plan Manager and Participant Connection and Switching

In PACE Service Bookings are no longer and have been replaced by a “Participant Endorsed Provider” process. Essentially this process requires the Participant to notify the NDIA of their endorsed providers who will then be able to claim for the supports they deliver.

Changes to endorsed providers will be handled via the NCC (more on this later). Current providers with Service Bookings will be automatically rolled over to be endorsed providers, except for Plan Mangers! The participant will need to specify, via the NDIA, their plan management provider so they can act as the participants plan manager i.e. see budget details, claim as the plan manager on behalf of the participant and claim the (one-off) establishment fee and ongoing monthly fee.

Although there had been rumours swirling that Plan Managers and participants would be connected via an RFS process, this has been ruled out by the NDIA and is not in their plans for future releases.

This means that participants can endorse a plan manager at the planning stage or at any time during the course of their plan by calling the NDIA NCC.

The NDIA were less than committal on any guideline or documentation updates available to planners to facilitate the endorsement of a participant’s plan manger in the PACE environment.

The NDIA have outlined that participants can change / update their endorsed providers at anytime via the National Call Centre and this would take effect real-time. Endorsed providers would only be able to claim up to the date at which they were endorsed by the participant to deliver the support.

What isn’t clear is when a participant changes plan management providers where the former plan manger ceases and the new plan manager starts in relation to the responsibility of making claims on behalf of the participant.

The NDIA couldn’t provide DIA with a definitive answer as to whether this would occur on the date the participant makes the change, the invoice date or the support delivery date. This uncertainty raised the question of liability and compliance which the NDIA could obviously not answer.

Also, although unclear of where responsibility actually lies, the NDIA have stated that the previous plan manager would be able to claim against the participant plan for a period of 30 days after the participant has notified the NDIA of the change. There is a very real possibility that a participant could have two plan managers claiming against their budget with the “new” plan manager effectively blind for 30 days on any potential legacy claims, a difficult position to be in considering the compliance requirements placed on plan managers.

DIA has sort clarification from the NDIA on this important detail and will work with the NDIA to close this policy gap and requested that any compliance activities stemming from such a changeover situation to be paused whilst this policy issue is rectified.

Non-Registered Support Coordinators

Tasmanian Non-Registered Support Coordinators will need to create a PRODA account so that a participant can nominate them in the new Request for Service (RFS) process, which will now include non-registered support coordinators.

The NDIA have outlined a process of SMS notification to participants and or nominees which will be “gradually” implemented during the Test / Pilot in Tasmania.

Unregistered Support Coordinators will need to have a PRODA account so that participants can identify them through the RFS process. The NDIA have indicated that Support Coordinators without a PRODA account that a participant wished to nominated through the RFS process will be flagged and followed-up for setup.

This remains to be seen in practice, and DIA recommends all our Non-Registered members to be proactive and set up a PRODA account now. As a member if you require support to do this please contact DIA and we will support you to connect with the NDIA to set up a PRODA account.

Changes to the RFS Process

Notifications for RFS are not part of the initial release so providers will need to manually check for these “every couple of days” according to the NDIA.

This is extreamly disapointing as such notification functionaliy existed in the old system. This is really a step backwards in the hsort term.

The NDIA has indicated that this fuctionality is expected to be introduced in the mid-December PACE update/release.

Plan Managenment Funding Visibility / Bank Accounts / Fees

The NDIA have confirmed that quarterly releasing of funds will not be part of the PACE implementation. Further, the NDIA have said that it is not in their foreseeable plans to introduce quarterly releasing of funds. Annual funding visibility will remain.

The current limitation of one nominated bank account per provider will, unfortunately, remain at least in the short term. DIA’s Practice Standards recommends that plan managers have a Trust account setup for the receipt and disbarment of participant funds and a separate account for the payment of their own fees. DIA believes a separation of bank accounts will only increase transparency and good governance practices.

For a plan manager to claim either the Establishment Fee or the Monthly Fee, they must be an endorsed provider of the participant. The NDIA did not have a clear position on whether these funds should be classified as Agency or Plan Managed funds noting that although a legislative argument can be made that they lean more to Agency managed, having visibility and the ability to claim is very much in the Plan Managed space. The bottom line is you need to be participant endorsed to claim.

What happens if it all goes wrong (see the NDIA’s 2016 CRM launch)

The NDIA have indicated that they have a range of contingencies from micro individual interactions to a full pause / wind back of the Test / Pilot.

Again, we don’t have any visual confirmation (Guide, FAQ’s etc) of these contingencies so we will see the effectiveness of the Agency’s preparedness when issues arise.

Issues are to be reported as they are now, via the NCC or Payments with the NDIA saying that these areas have been sufficiently “trained up” on the release of PACE.

This will be closely monitored by DIA and we will work with the NDIA to resolve issues quickly.

Two systems running at the same time

A downside to a slower release structure is that two systems will be “live”  at the same time – PACE and current SAP System.

Tasmania (as it rolls out) and the “Mainland” will be running on different systems, an issue and inefficiency for organisations with national or multiple state reach. Employees of providers will need to be proficient at dual systems with limited learning and development opportunities before going live on the 14th November.

NDIA force sector to absorb development and implementation costs

Considering the price freezes that Plan Managers and Support Coordinators have experienced for the past three years, along with the requirement for Plan Managers and Support Coordinators to opperate peak efficiency to be viable, how the NDIA expects transition costs to be absorb by providers remains unanswered by the NDIA.

The implementation of PACE in Tasmania feels rushed which will result in the front-line intermediary support providers, one again, bearing the brunt of such change.

DIA continues to lobby for fair and resonable intermediaries pricing.

Resources and Information

The NDIA have agreed to make themselves available for information / feedback sessions that are facilitated by DIA for members. Stay tuned for details of upcoming sessions via email and social media.

The NDIA have released information on the “Test” for providers which can be accessed here: Provider Information – PACE Test / Pilot (Tasmania)

For participants here: Participant Information- PACE Test / Pilot (Tasmania)

All DIA members will be supported and should you run into any issues during the introduction of the PACE System please reach out to us for support.

All DIA members that operate in Tasmania will be supported and should you run into any issues during the introduction of the PACE System please reach out to us (info@intermediaries.org.au) for support. 

DIA is a members-based organisation. We are only able to do the work that we do because of the ongoing support of our members. Thank you to all DIA members that continue to support the work we do. If your a provider delivering Support Coordination or Plan Management are not yet a member, you should consider joining.