Practice guidelines - NDIS and mainstream services

The interactions of the NDIS with mainstream services will reinforce the obligations of other service delivery systems to improve the lives of people with disability, in line with the National Disability Strategy.

Download the Practice guidelines - National Disability Insurance Scheme and mainstream services interface (Word).


All governments have agreed that our vision is for an inclusive Australian society, that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens. To achieve this vision, all Australian governments, non-government organisations, business and the wider community have a role to play.

The Council of Australian Governments has developed 6 main principles, and also applied principles to define the funding responsibilities during the launch of the NDIS.

Principles for interaction between the NDIS and mainstream services

  1. People with disability have the same right of access to services as all Australians, consistent with the goals of the National Disability Strategy, which aims to maximise the potential and participation of people with disability.
  2. The NDIS will fund personalised supports related to people’s disability support needs, unless those supports are part of another service system’s universal service obligation (for example, meeting the health, education, housing, or safety needs of all Australians) or covered by reasonable adjustment (as required under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 or similar legislation in jurisdictions).
  3. Clear funding and delivery responsibilities should provide for the transparency and integrity of government appropriations consistent with their agreed policy goals.
  4. There should be a nationally consistent approach to the supports funded by the NDIS and the basis on which the NDIS engages with other systems. Note that, because there will be variation in non-NDIS supports funded within jurisdictions, there will need to be flexibility and innovation in the way the NDIS funds and/or delivers these activities.
  5. In determining the approach to the supports funded by the NDIS and other service systems, governments will have regard to efficiency, the existing statutory responsibilities and policy objectives of other service systems and operational implications.
  6. The interactions of people with disability with the NDIS and other service systems should be as seamless as possible, where integrated planning and coordinated supports, referrals and transitions are promoted, supported by a 'no wrong door' approach.

Applied principles and tables of support

Alongside the six main principles, the applied principles and tables of support further define the activities funded by the NDIS and other systems.

Practice guidelines - National Disability Insurance Scheme and mainstream services interface

Practice guidelines have been developed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Intended for frontline staff, the guidelines will support staff in building their knowledge and practice skills in working across the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and mainstream services.

The guidelines identify best practice for three mainstream service systems:

  • Health and aged care
  • Children youth and families 
  • Specialist clinical mental health services.

Based on a series of case scenarios, the guidelines outline the roles and responsibilities of practitioners working in the mainstream service system and the roles of key staff in the NDIA, in particular, the roles of local area coordinators and support coordinators.

For more information, see Practice guidelines - National Disability Insurance Scheme and mainstream services interface (Word).

Note: These guidelines are an initial source of detailed practice guidance and will be further developed based on feeback and the experiences of practitioners working with people with disability, their families and carers.