Who are Local Area Coordinators (LAC) and NDIS planners and what do they do?
The NDIS is gearing up across Sydney and there are many questions to be answered. What seems to be confusing for many participants is the interchangeable term of “Planners” and “Local Area Coordinators”. Here at Northside, we believe that disability should be easy to access so we have described the difference and similarities of the two below. Should you have an appointment with either, you will know exactly how to be prepared.
Local Area Coordinator, also known as “LAC”
In NSW, the selected LAC providers during the NDIS transition are St Vincent De Paul and Uniting. They are responsible for provision of LAC services from now until June 2018.
The Local Area Coordinator will:
- actively work with you and members of the community, your carers and your family to assist you to build your community connections
- help you optimise how you best work with the NDIA
- assist you, your carers and community to access information on the NDIS.
- help you identify and access supports, and
- provide feedback on any barriers or ongoing issues you face with receiving services and supports
- Support, assist and consult with you accessing the LAC program in a way that promotes independence, empowerment and involvement.
NDIS Planner, also known as”planner”:
The NDIS Planners are employed directly by the National Disability Insurance Agency (Known as NDIA or Agency) to support you to build an individualised plan.
The NDIS planner should be:
- working closely with you to identify what current and future supports are required to progress your goals and aspirations and enable better outcomes. This will inform the development of a STATEMENT OF GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS for you.
- setting out the supports that will be provided or funded by the NDIS. This will inform the development of a STATEMENT OF PARTICIPANT’S SUPPORTS,
* These two statements make up the PLAN for you. The PLAN is owned by you and is based on what is regarded as reasonable and necessary to enable a good life. It could include one-off and/or ongoing funded supports.
- Completing plans for NDIS participants.
Q. IS THE PLANNER’S ROLE DIFFERENT FROM THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL AREA COORDINATOR (LAC)?
Yes, they are different. The LAC (which may have different titles in some area, however are LAC across Sydney) will assist a participant to navigate the mainstream, community and disability systems. The LAC is not involved in determining eligibility to the NDIS. It is anticipated that the LAC will act as a consistent point of contact for the participant, and will be available to provide as much or as little assistance as the participant requests.
Q. HOW WILL THE ROLES OF PLANNER AND LOCAL AREA COORDINATOR OVERLAP, IF AT ALL?
The NDIA believes it will be important that the NDIS planners liaise and work cooperatively with the LACs to ensure the successful implementation of the participant’s plan.
Q. IS THE PLANNER OR LOCAL AREA COORDINATOR INVOLVED IN CASE COORDINATION?
The NDIA recognises that some participants will require additional support to help coordinate the implementation of their PLAN. The Agency believes this will not be necessary for many participants. In exceptional circumstances, and with the agreement of the participant, the NDIA may appoint a case coordinator. This will be funded by the Agency and will be time limited.
Q. WILL THERE BE AN APPEALS MECHANISM?
Some of the decisions and actions of the Agency will be reviewable. These are listed in the NDIS Act 2012. In addition, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will establish an NDIS division and an independent expert panel to advise the Agency’s merits review process.
Find out more about our NDIS Support Coordination.
Northside is an independent not for profit with 30 years’ experience in supporting 90,000 people with disability, mental illness, older people and carers. Our unique service approach means that we assist people to choose their support needs through a range of direct and brokered services that best suit the individual’s goals, budget and lifestyle requirements. Northside coordinates and partners with a range of specialist and high quality services which gives people greater choice and enhances their independence and wellbeing.