The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has revolutionised the way support is provided to individuals with disabilities in Australia. One innovative approach within this framework is the NDIS Family Governance Model of Support. This model empowers families to establish a legal structure around the supports a person needs, allowing them to become the provider that employs the support staff. This arrangement not only facilitates succession planning but also grants families direct control over service delivery, ultimately leading to a better quality of life for the individuals receiving support.

Understanding the NDIS Family Governance Model of Support

At its core, the NDIS Family Governance Model of Support is designed to put families at the forefront of decision-making regarding the care and support of their loved ones with disabilities. By setting up a legal structure, families can create their own support organisation, which employs the necessary staff to meet the individual’s needs. This model ensures that the family has complete control over the recruitment, training, and management of support workers, thereby tailoring the services to the unique requirements of the person with a disability.

The Benefits of the Family Governance Model

  1. Autonomy in Service Delivery

One of the primary benefits of the NDIS Family Governance Model is the autonomy it provides to families. Traditional support models often involve third-party providers, which can sometimes lead to a lack of personalisation and flexibility in the services delivered. With the Family Governance Model, families have the freedom to design and implement support plans that are truly person-centred. This autonomy ensures that the individual’s preferences, routines, and aspirations are fully respected and incorporated into their daily lives.

  1. Enhanced Quality of Life

By having direct control over the support staff, families can ensure a higher quality of care. They can choose caregivers who are not only skilled but also align with the values and personality of the individual receiving support. This personal touch often leads to stronger relationships between the support staff and the individual, fostering a sense of trust and comfort. As a result, individuals with disabilities experience a better quality of life, with their emotional, social, and physical needs being met more effectively.

  1. Succession Planning

Another significant advantage of the Family Governance Model is the opportunity it provides for succession planning. Families can create a sustainable support structure that can continue to function effectively even as circumstances change over time. For example, if parents or primary caregivers are no longer able to manage the support arrangements, other family members or appointed guardians can seamlessly take over the responsibilities. This continuity ensures that the individual with a disability continues to receive consistent and reliable support throughout their life.

Implementing the Family Governance Model

  1. Establishing a Legal Structure

The first step in implementing the NDIS Family Governance Model is to establish a legal entity that will serve as the support provider. This could be in the form of a family trust, a non-profit organisation, or another suitable legal structure. Families should seek legal and financial advice to determine the most appropriate option based on their unique circumstances.

  1. Recruiting and Training Support Staff

Once the legal structure is in place, the next step is to recruit and train support staff. Families can advertise for positions, conduct interviews, and select candidates who possess the necessary skills and attributes. It is essential to provide comprehensive training to ensure that the support staff understands the individual’s specific needs and preferences. Ongoing professional development should also be offered to keep the staff updated on best practices in disability support.

  1. Developing Person-Centred Support Plans

With the right team in place, families can then develop person-centred support plans tailored to the individual’s needs and goals. These plans should outline the daily routines, activities, and supports required to enhance the individual’s quality of life. Regular reviews and updates to the support plans are crucial to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.

  1. Ensuring Compliance and Accountability

Families must also ensure that their support organisation complies with all relevant regulations and standards set by the NDIS. This includes maintaining accurate records, adhering to safety protocols, and providing regular reports to the NDIS. Establishing clear lines of accountability within the family governance structure is vital to maintain transparency and trust.

Challenges and Considerations

While the NDIS Family Governance Model offers numerous benefits, it is not without its challenges. Families must be prepared to invest time, effort, and resources into setting up and managing their support organisation. They must also be equipped to handle administrative tasks, such as payroll, rostering, and compliance with legal requirements. Additionally, finding and retaining qualified support staff can be a challenge, particularly in regions with a shortage of skilled caregivers.

It is also important to consider the emotional and relational dynamics within the family. The responsibilities associated with managing a support organisation can sometimes lead to stress and tension among family members. Open communication, clear role definitions, and seeking external support when needed can help mitigate these challenges.

Real-Life Success Stories

Many families across Australia have successfully implemented the NDIS Family Governance Model and witnessed transformative results. For instance, the Smith family in Melbourne established a family trust to manage the supports for their son, Alex, who has autism. By carefully selecting and training support workers who resonate with Alex’s personality, the Smiths have created a nurturing and stimulating environment that has significantly improved Alex’s social and communication skills. The family’s ability to tailor the support to Alex’s evolving needs has been instrumental in his overall development.


The NDIS Family Governance Model of Support is a powerful approach that empowers families to take control of the care and support of their loved ones with disabilities. By establishing a legal structure and becoming the provider of support services, families can ensure a higher quality of care, enhance the individual’s quality of life, and create a sustainable framework for future support. While there are challenges to consider, the benefits of autonomy, personalised care, and succession planning make this model a compelling option for families seeking to provide the best possible support for their loved ones. Embracing the Family Governance Model can lead to a more inclusive, person-centred, and fulfilling experience for individuals with disabilities and their families within the NDIS community.