What is Exploration and Design?

Exploration and design is about you finding the best living arrangement to suit you. To do this, the people working with you need to gather a lot of information. We recommend a minimum of 3 months for Stage 1, but you might need longer.

During this stage you will work with your family, friends, support coordinator and providers. This means there might be lots of meetings. 

Decisions about your ILO should be made by you. You should be supported to be involved and make decisions as much as possible. You should have a say in where you live and who you live with, and who else might come to your home to provide you with supports or services. 

Depending on your circumstances, Exploration and Design supports may include help to find suitable housing or linking with other services that can help with this.

During the Exploration and Design stage you will:

  • explore where and how you want to live, including helping others around you understand what you want and how this will work for you
  • understand your strengths and capabilities
  • learn what you can do to build your skills through your ILO supports
  • choose where you live, who you live with and how you’re supported
  • understand how supports from friends and family, community supports and paid supports can all play a role in your ILO
  • find out what’s possible and assess any risks in your preferred way of living
  • assess if an ILO is right for you, or if there might be other options that suit you better
  • design and make decisions about your ILO, with the people who support you.

At the end of Stage 1, you should have worked with your provider (or other help) to have:

  • reached a decision about your preferred home and living arrangement and the package of supports you need 
  • completed the Service Proposal that outlines how you want to live and who you want to support you.

Your Service Proposal tells us how you want to live and who you want to support you. It indicates how much your ILO supports will cost.

Your ILO and the supports you include will be specific to you. Everyone has their own needs and ideas about what is a safe and happy home environment.

Explore and Design funding 

There are 3 funding levels for Exploration and Design. 

These amounts are not usually added as additional supports on top of your existing funding in your plan. Actual funding depends on your individual needs and the NDIA may move some existing funding from your plan for exploring ILO. 

We’ll fund up to $3,000 to design your ILO if you:

  • already know what help you’ll need
  • want to move to a home not too far from where you live now
  • know the type of home you want in this location is available and is what you can afford
  • can make your own decisions, or you have other people who help you make decisions.

We’ll fund up to $5,000 to design your ILO if you:

  • aren’t sure what help you’ll need
  • want to move to a home in a different area, for example if you want to move to another town or suburb outside your local area
  • expect finding a suitable home you can afford will take some time
  • need some help coming to an agreed decision and other people involved in decision-making.

We’ll fund up to $10,000 to design your ILO if you:

  • need to work out what help you’ll need in many areas across your life
  • want to move to a home in a different type of area, for example if you want to move from a city to a smaller town
  • expect finding the home you need in the preferred place that you can afford may be difficult
  • have a lot of people involved in decision making for you who might have different views.

These amounts may be different if you live in a remote or very remote location. Further information on funding can be found in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits and the ILO Guideline .

Find out more about the Process for getting ILO supports in your plan.

How long does it take to do exploration and design?

Exploration and design is all about you and finding the best living arrangement to suit your needs and preferences. To do this, the people working with you need to gather a lot of information. The NDIA recommends a minimum of three months for the exploration and design stage, but it may extend over a much longer period.  

The information you need to design your ILO may include but is not limited to:

  • your goals 
  • your network and social community
  • what kinds of supports you already access 
  • details on what’s worked for you in the past 
  • what you want your life to look like 
  • if you are ready for a change.

If you are working with someone you have not worked with previously, there are likely to be a number of meetings. Depending on your situation and preferred living arrangement, you might trial an overnight stay or spending some time away from your current home. 

This page current as of
26 April 2022
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