Funded Support

The Services Assistance Development Panel (SDAP)

Help for smaller rural and remote aged care services.

The Commonwealth Government recognises that service providers face unique challenges in maintaining and delivering quality aged care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and to older people living in rural and remote locations.

What is SDAP?

SDAP is a free service that helps eligible providers access specialist aged care consultants with the experience and expertise to:

  • help improve service delivery and administration by addressing challenges such as clinical care, financial and workforce planning, governance and regulatory compliance.
  • provide personalised support through offsite and face-to-face training and mentoring to help maintain financial viability and meet regulatory obligations.

SDAP’s role is to take a more preventative and proactive approach and eligible providers are encouraged to seek SDAP assistance early.

Who Can Access SDAP Support?

Aged care service providers who deliver services in remote or very remote areas (as defined by Modified Monash Model 6-7), or those providing care to a significant number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be eligible for assistance. Rural providers (MMM 5) may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

This includes services funded under:

  • Residential Aged Care services
  • Home Care Packages Program
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Programme (NATSI Flexi)
  • Commonwealth Home Support Programme (in some cases)

Do you need SDAP support?

If you are unsure if your organisation needs SDAP assistance, consider the following questions:

  • Does your organisation have sufficient examples and evidence to demonstrate that it is meeting the Aged Care Quality Standards?
  • Does your organisation’s policies and procedures assist you to deliver quality aged care services or are there gaps?
  • Does your organisation’s financial management policies and procedures assist you to manage the financial aspects of delivering aged care or claim appropriately for the services that are delivered?
  • Does the senior executive or the Board fully understand their obligations and responsibilities as an aged care approved provider?
  • Does your organisation have its staff ratio and skills mix right?
  • Is the new or existing Aged Care Manager/Director of Nursing feeling overwhelmed and in need of assistance and support?
  • Are there any aged care reforms that have not been fully implemented or understood in your organisation?

What is the Benefit of Accessing SDAP Support?

The staff of rural and remote aged care programs are often immersed in the day to day operation of their services, leaving little time for the expansion or development of their service.

Responding to Quality Review visits become stress-filled events. The ‘urgent’ often overtakes the ‘important’. We know, because we’ve been there.

Those organisations who have accessed CDCS support through the SDAP program have received targeted and relevant assistance, including the development of tailored resources, training and mentoring that met their specific needs, and in some cases has been the difference between surviving or folding their service. CDCS has completed over thirty SDAP projects successfully since the inception of the SDAP.


“CDCS can help your organisation improve the quality of care delivered to your residents and give you the confidence to conquer the challenges ahead. As a small facility you will feel connected and supported to achieve your goals.”

~Chris Moran (Jallarah Homes)

The added benefit of accessing SDAP is that the support to the organisation is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. This allows your own valuable funds to be used to develop your service further as you put into practice and expand on recommendations arising from the project.

What Sort of Help Can You Get?

You might be seeking assistance across your service, perhaps to transition to a more effective and sustainable model or you may need help in one or two specific areas.

Some areas that we’ve assisted organisations to address include:

  • Improving business management practices to support viability
  • Improving financial management practices, including the development of costing models
  • Conducting a Governance review and developing resources / providing training to the Board, Executive and Senior Leaders
  • Providing operational and administration support and guidance
  • Assisting in the development of workforce plans, along with HR documentation and practices
  • Provision of staff and management training and mentoring
  • Improving consumer engagement, including the development of specific and tailored communication resources
  • Support for service planning, including risk management and succession planning
  • Assistance to identify and document CQI and compliance against the Standards

What Sets Us Apart?

CDCS specialises in developing culturally appropriate, tailored and sustainable solutions, working with you and your team to overcome identified challenges in a way that builds capacity and embeds ownership of the outcomes.

“Donna and Carrie helped us to get our heads around this new world of Aged Care standards, systems and reporting. They not only helped us to learn, but taught by assisting us. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. They share it with generosity and grace.  They continue to keep in contact and are accessible to be a sounding block and share resources beyond the confines of a contract of work. I often recommend them to others and continue to do so.”

~Sarah Brown (Purple House)

We’ve been here from the start

CDCS has been a member of the Services Development Assistance Panel (SDAP) since its commencement in 2011. Since then, we have assisted a large number of services improve their service, pass their quality reviews and develop innovative and relevant resources that meet the needs of their target client base.

What is the Process for Applying?

Read and complete the SDAP application form on the Department of Health’s website. For further information email if you have any questions or contact your local Department of Health office to discuss your support needs.

After you apply, the Department will let you know if you’re successful. They consider applications based on need and available funding.

If successful, they will:

  • ask panel members for a quote;
  • assess the quotes based on their ability to meet your needs and value for money;
  • let you know who the successful panel member is.

The panel member will contact you to discuss the project.

Can I Request CDCS as our SDAP Provider?

The Department of Health follows a competitive tender process. This means the organisation is not able to select a specific consultant from the panel. However, you can ask that CDCS is one of the organisations that is offered the opportunity to tender for your project.

Can we use CDCS resources even if we are assigned another SDAP Consultant?

You are able to purchase and use CDCS resources even where you have been assigned another panel member or you are using a different consultant. You may choose to have them tailor the content for your organisation as part of your contract. We simply ask that you make the consultant aware that the materials are copyright protected and do not circulate the materials to outside agencies.

We also realise that with the constant changes, even where services complete a successful SDAP project there is a need to constantly update resources including policies and procedures, client and staff resources and various forms.

To provide continuing support and up to date resources and information we have a range of resources to support your organisation.

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