The Participant's Statement of
                                      Goals and Aspirations      
I'm sure you've heard how important NDIS Plan goals are, but do you know what the Participant's Statement of Goals and Aspirations is? 

Did you know it is a legislated right for Participants (with or without support) to prepare and write their own Participant's Statement of Goals and Aspirations?

In these early days of the NDIS roll-out, the significance of how a Participant's Statement of Goals and Aspirations (known as the Statement) is to be prepared is unfortunately often overlooked. But choice and control begins with Participant's rights to decide what is included in their Statement. A Participant's Statement tells the story of the Participant, their goals, their living arrangements, the people who are important to them, the support they have and need... and it is a crucial source of information when decisions are being made about what supports will receive funding from the NDIS.

The Statement can be provided to the NDIA during a Plan Meeting or anytime it requires updating in writing or verbally. If it is given verbally, the NDIA or LAC Planner is legally required to gain approval from the Participant (and/or their nominee) that they have accurately recorded the Participant's Statement of Aspirations and Goals.

A Participant Statement is to be accepted by the NDIA as long as it specifies:

  1. The goals, objectives and aspirations of the participant; and 
  2. the environmental and personal context of the participant's life, including;
    1. living arrangements; and
    2. informal community supports and other community supports; and
    3. the Participant's participation socially and economically

The Participant's Statement goes into the Participant's NDIS Plan and makes up the first section. If your circumstances change, or you goals change, changing a Participant's Statement is as easy as submitting a new Participant's Statement to your NDIA Planner and letting them know you'd like to update it. This is different from a ‘Plan Review Request’ as changing the Participant's Statement does not change the Participant’s funding in their Plan - outlined in the second part of a NDIS Plan called the 'Statement of Participant Supports’.

The 'Statement of Participant Supports' lays out the Participant's NDIS funded supports they can access during the life of their Plan. It also states when the Plan will undergo a review, and how the Participant's supports will be managed - whether by a NDIA Plan Manager, A Financial Intermediary (also known as Plan Managed), via Self Management or a specific combination of these options. This second part of a Plan is prepared with the Participant and the NDIA. Before it can take effect, it must be approved by the NDIA.

The Participant and their nominee/s have the right to choose how the Participant's Plan will be managed, this is called a 'Plan Management Request'. This request can be made at any stage during their Plan or before it is prepared. The NDIA is only legally allowed to deny a particular Plan Management Request if they 'are satisfied' that the requested self-management would create an 'unreasonable risk' to the Participant.

So why do we not hear more about the Participant's Statement of Goals and Aspirations?
In the early stages of the NDIS roll-out and in response to feedback that the Plan making processes were too complicated and confusing, the NDIS has made an effort to make Plan creation more accessible and to simplify the information provided. Unfortunately, we are hearing much feedback from Participants and families that the information they are given does not contain reference to these legally required steps in the process of creating a NDIS Plan... Amongst other things, this may be because the whole NDIS system is still very new and is undergoing many rapid changes as it expands and responds to all the different feedback coming in. The NDIA has contracted out much of its Plan creation process to Local Area Coordinators (LACs) who are often also new to these processes. 

But this doesn't mean you have to accept less choice and control over your or your loved one's NDIS Plan. The NDIS has processes in place for providing feedback, LAC's/Planners are required to listen to your concerns and if you do not get anywhere via these methods you can always contact the Disability Services Commissioner about any problems with Local Area Coordinators or other State disability service providers and they will provide you with assistance or advice.

As the NDIS continues to roll-out, it is important for us to know wherever possible how the NDIS works and where increased choice and control opportunities are available (or are hiding!) that can be taken up.

These early days of the NDIS are when the Scheme is young and learning, how it develops now and the feedback you give it will be a part of shaping the NDIS' future and with it, NDIS Participant's futures. 

DSV is here to support you along this journey. Get in touch via email at or via our NDIS phone option 9846 9600 and keep an eye out for more upcoming workshops and other DSV & the NDIS services.

Kayla Sharp, NDIS Coordinator, Down Syndrome Victoria