As a Support Coordinator, it is important to understand the concept of utilisation and how to use it to ensure that Participants' funds are being used effectively. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of utilisation, including plan days and utilisation variance. We will also look at how you can track utilisation with Astalty's specifically built Support Coordination Software.
Plan days are the number of days in a Participant's plan period. For example, if a Participant has a one-year plan, they have 365 days to utilise that funding. If a Participant has a three-month plan, they have three months to use that funding (pretty straightforward). It's important to understand the plan period and the length of plans to help track the amount of funding available to the Participant and to plan the use of services and supports.
Support Coordinators need to ensure that Participants have sufficient funding to cover the plan period and don’t exhaust their funding too early. This can potentially lead to a Participant going without support and services if they have used all of their funding.
Utilisation is a measure of the amount of funding that has been used to provide support to a Participant. It is calculated by dividing the amount of funding used by the total amount of funding available in the plan. For example, if a Participant has 24 hours of Support Coordination in their plan and has used 4 hours of their plan, their utilisation is 4/24 or 16%.
Another example is, let’s say, a Participant was funded for 25 hours of Support Coordination for a one-year plan at $100.14 per hour. This would amount to $2,503.50. If the Participant had been provided with 5 hours of service, that would amount to $500.70. Therefore to get their utilisation, you would divide $500.70 by $2,503.50, equaling $19.9%
The utilisation variance is the difference between planned and actual utilisation. The planned utilisation would be, for example, 50% of the way through the plan and 50% of the funding used. A positive utilisation variance means that more funding has been used than planned, while a negative variance means that less funding has been used than planned.
Utilisation variance should always be taken with a grain of salt, as it is quite rare to have absolutely perfect planned utilisation, especially when it comes to implementing a new plan. More often than not, you will be doing more work in the beginning to implement the plan; therefore, your variance may be ‘positively utilised’ or over-utilised at the beginning of the plan.
A Participant has planned to use 50% of their funding in the first six months of their plan, but their actual utilisation is 60%. In this case, the utilisation variance is 10% overutilised. A Participant has a 24-hour plan and has used only 8 hours of their plan in the first six months. This gives utilisation of 8/24 or 33%, which is lower than their planned utilisation of 50%. In this case, the utilisation variance is 17% underutilised.
Astalty's utilisation report can provide valuable insight into the utilisation variance and whether your Participants may be over or underspending. This report helps to identify trends and patterns within your business. It is important to regularly review the Astalty report to ensure that the Participant's funding is being used most effectively.
You can also set up utilisation notifications within Astalty at specific utilisation points. For example, you might set up a notification at 20% overutilisation, on the other hand, you could also set up to be notified when a Participant is 20% underutilising.
Plan utilisation is a vital aspect of NDIS Support Coordination, and the tools within Astalty play a crucial role in making sure Participants are effectively utilising their funding. By regularly reviewing the Astalty report, Support Coordinators can gain valuable insights into utilisation variance, identify trends and patterns, and take proactive steps to optimise funding utilisation. Through a focus on plan utilisation, Support Coordinators can ensure that Participants receive the full benefits of their NDIS funding and achieve their desired outcomes.