The general principle is that nominees should only be appointed where it is not possible for participants to be assisted to make decisions for themselves.

Nominees may either be appointed as a plan nominee, or a correspondence nominee; each involving specific duties and actions.

A person’s status as a nominee may be cancelled, with the means of cancellation dependent on the way in which the person was originally appointed.

Plan nominee

The Agency may appoint a plan nominee at the request of the participant or on the initiative of the Agency. [s88] An appointment may limit the actions which the plan nominee may fulfil and how long the person can act as the participant’s plan nominee. [s86]

Plan nominee appointments

The Agency may only appoint a person as a plan nominee with the written consent of the person to be appointed and after taking into consideration the wishes of the participant. [s88 (2)]

The Agency must consider whether the person to be appointed is able to comply with the duties under the Act [s80] and whether there is a person who:

  • has guardianship of the participant; or
  • is a person appointed by a court, tribunal or board who has power to make decisions for the participant [s88 (4)].

Necessity of a plan nominee?

If a participant requests the appointment of a plan nominee, a nominee should ordinarily be appointed. [Part 3.12 Rules – Nominees]. However, if the participant has requested that a particular person be appointed as nominee, the Agency is to have regard to the principles under [Part 3.13 Rules – Nominees].

If the participant does not request the appointment of a nominee, the Agency will take a range of factors into account in deciding whether to appoint a nominee including whether a participant would be able to participate in the NDIS without having a nominee and the principle that a nominee should only be appointed as a last resor, and subject to appropriate safeguards. [Part 3.14 Rules – Nominees]

All measures to enable the participant to contribute should be explored [s17(a)] and a nominee’s appointment can be limited to those matters and length of time considered necessary. [s86] Tip

The Agency’s decision to appoint a nominee can be reviewed. See further: Whether a nominee should be appointed.

Who should be a plan nominee?

The Agency must not appoint a person under 18 years of age, the Agency, or any individual associated with the Agency other than in their personal capacity, as a plan nominee of a participant. [Part 4.4 Rules – Nominees]

Before appointing a nominee, the Agency must take into account the matters contained under [Part 4.6  Rules – Nominees] – [Part 4.8 Rules – Nominees].

The Agency’s decision to appoint someone as a nominee can be reviewed. See further: the nominee appointed.

Plan nominee actions

Unless specifically restricted in the appointment instrument [s78] the participant’s plan nominee may take those actions that may be done by a participant under the NDIS Act relating to:

  • the preparation, review or replacement of the participant’s plan; and
  •  the management of the funding for supports under the participant’s plan.

A nominee may not manage the participant’s plan funding if they are to any extent insolvent under administration [s44 (1A)] or to a particular extent, present an unreasonable risk to the participant.

The criteria the Agency must apply when determining whether a nominee is insolvent or a risk to the participant is found in [s44 (2A)] and [Part 3 Rules – Plan Management].

If the participant’s nominee was appointed on the initiative of the Agency, the plan nominee may only do one of the above acts in relation to the participant’s plan if the nominee considers that the participant is not capable of doing the act. [s78 (5)]

Plan nominee duties

The Agency may require the plan nominee to notify the Agency of any change or likely change in circumstances which would affect the nominee’s ability to act as a nominee. [s83]

The Agency may give the nominee a notice that requires the nominee to account for payments made by the Agency to the nominee on behalf of the participant. [s84]  

The plan nominee must act in a manner that promotes the personal and social wellbeing of the participant. [s80 (1)] The NDIS Rules prescribe additional duties owed by the nominee to the participant as:

Correspondence nominee

The Agency may appoint a person to be the correspondence nominee of a participant at the request of the participant, or on the initiative of the CEO, provided the appointment is made in compliance with [s88]. An appointment may specify that it is to be limited to a specific duration. [s87]

Correspondence nominee appointments

The Agency may only appoint a person as a correspondence nominee with the written consent of the person to be appointed and after taking into consideration the wishes of the participant. [s88 (2)]

The Agency must consider whether:

Necessity of a correspondence nominee?

If a participant requests the appointment of a correspondence nominee, a nominee should ordinarily be appointed as per [Part 3.12 Rules – Nominees]. However, if the participant has requested that a particular person be appointed as nominee, the Agency is to have regard to the principles under [Part 3.13 Rules – Nominees].

If the participant does not request the appointment of a correspondence nominee, the Agency will take a range of factors into account in deciding whether to appoint a nominee including whether a participant would be able to participate in the NDIS without having a nominee and the principle that a nominee should only be appointed as a last resort, and subject to appropriate safeguards. [Part 3.14 Rules – Nominees]

All measures to enable the participant to contribute should be explored [s17(a)] and a nominee’s appointment can be limited to those matters and length of time considered necessary. [s87] Tip

The Agency’s decision to appoint a nominee can be reviewed. See further:  Whether a nominee should be appointed.

Who should be a correspondence nominee?

The Agency must not appoint a person under 18 years of age, the Agency, or any individual associated with the Agency other than in their personal capacity, as a correspondence nominee of a participant. [Part 4.4 Rules – Nominees]

Before appointing a nominee, the Agency must take into account the matters contained under [Part 4.6 Rules – Nominees – Part 4.8  Rules – Nominees].

The Agency’s decision to appoint someone as a nominee can be reviewed. See further: The nominee appointed

Correspondence nominee actions

A correspondence nominee may take any action that a participant is permitted to take under the NDIS Act, other than an action that relates to:

  • plan preparation;
  • plan review;
  • plan replacement; or
  • supports funding management. [s79]

Thus, the correspondence nominee is only authorised to handle the participant’s correspondence and interaction with the Agency.

The Agency is required to give to a participant’s correspondence nominee any notice that the Agency is authorised or required by the NDIS Act to give to a participant. [s81]

The nominee may accompany the participant during any NDIS requested assessment or examination if the participant wishes and the person conducting the assessment consents. [s85]

Correspondence nominee duties

If a notice is given to a participant’s correspondence nominee, the notice is taken to have been given to the participant and any requirement contained in the notice requiring the participant to do something, may be done by the correspondence nominee. [s82]

The Agency may require the nominee to notify the Agency of any change or likely change in circumstances which would affect the nominee’s ability to act as a nominee. [s83]

The correspondence nominee must act in a manner that promotes the personal and social wellbeing of the participant. [s80 (1)] The NDIS Rules prescribe additional duties owed by the nominee to the participant as:

Cancellation or Suspension of a nominee appointment

A nominee appointment must be cancelled by the Agency:

  • at the request (written or verbal) of the participant, if the person was appointed as a nominee at the participant’s request; or
  • at the request (in writing) of the nominee. [s89]

A nominee appointment may be cancelled or suspended at the discretion of the Agency:

  • at the request of the participant, if the person was appointed as a nominee on the initiative of the Agency [s90(1)];
  • if the nominee’s ability to act as a nominee is affected by a specified act or circumstance [s90(4) and [s83(1)]; or
  • if a nominee fails to comply with an agency notice [s90(4)], [s83], [s84)].

The participant should consider expressing his or her views to the Agency. Tip

The Agency is required to consider [Part 6.5 Rules – Nominees] when making a decision to suspend or cancel a nominee’s appointment.

A nominee appointment may be suspended by the Agency if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the nominee has caused or is likely to cause, physical, mental or financial harm to the participant. [s91] The nominee has 28 days to provide a statement of reasons why the appointment should not be cancelled. The Agency as soon as practicable after receiving the statement must decide whether to cancel the appointment.

A decision by the Agency to cancel or suspend, or to not cancel or suspend, the appointment of a nominee is a type of decision that can be reviewed. A participant or nominee can request review. See further: Decision on cancellation or suspension of a nominee


Last Modified: April 1, 2014