Consultant Dr Ellen Schuler with two people either side of her sitting at a board room table

Who we are

Supporting the not for profit disability sector is in our DNA. It’s where we came from, and it’s written into our constitution.

Community Business Bureau (CBB) was established in 1995 as one of three entities arising from the restructure of the Spastic Centres of South Australia, alongside scosa and Cara. Over the last 25 years, we’ve evolved into a unique organisation with a clear mission to build the capacity and sustainability of our sector; our salary packaging and business consulting services provide support to over 600 client organisations Australia-wide.

What we do

Our NDIS consulting services support aspiring and existing providers to understand the disability sector, harness market opportunities, navigate growth challenges, strengthen the capability of their resources, and implement better business practices.

Since the initial NDIS rollout in 2014, we have supported over 100 organisations to transition to NDIS service provision across the country. Many of these organisations are based in regional and remote areas, so we understand the barriers that providers are facing in these communities.

CBB’s Business Consultants are specialists in the not for profit disability sector. Our wealth of knowledge stems from experience working in and with a diverse range of not for profit organisations and disability service providers. You can find out more about our Business Consultants and how they can support your organisation here.

Consultant Andrew Ellis writing on the white board in front of clients

Our methodology

Our Business Consultants take the time to fully understand your organisation, tailoring their approach and ensuring the right foundations are in place for you to respond to the NDIS market environment.

We aim to form a relationship with your organisation, not a dependency. Our Business Consultants work alongside your team, developing their ability to manage the organisation long into the future.

Our success isn’t just measured by the work we do as consultants; we focus on making an impact within your organisation. After all, one size doesn’t fit all – and we wouldn’t want it to.


What we offer

Already providing NDIS services, but facing a problem? Wanting to provide NDIS services, but don’t know where to start? Regardless of your status, aspirations, or challenges, CBB’s NDIS business consulting service is here to help.

Understanding the NDIS

The NDIS presents unprecedented opportunities, but these are often overshadowed by challenges and uncertainty.

Through discussions and meetings with your key people, we share our expertise to build your NDIS awareness and know-how.

For new providers, we share insights into the registration and audit requirements, administrative and financial processes, challenges that new providers commonly face, and strategies to successfully enter the market.

Existing providers may also benefit from this information to support their strategy and planning activities.

Feasibility assessment

If you are already providing NDIS services or are intending to start, our consultants can equip you with the skills and tools to effectively harness NDIS growth opportunities.

Working alongside your team, we identify the market size and financial opportunity, analyse your competitors, and determine the strength of your own presence in the market. We then identify the resources you need in order to take your new service to market, and explore how it all stacks up financially for your organisation.

This collaborative process builds the capacity of your leadership and board to make better-informed business decisions for the market context, and provides a robust, realistic feasibility evaluation that supports the delivery of valuable services for your clients and communities.

Strategic service design

The NDIS offers new opportunities to serve your community, but it can be difficult to navigate.

We bring our strategy and service design expertise together to help you align your services with market needs, and with your mission and vision, all within the context of disability services.

To upskill your team, we work with your key people to identify viable ways to serve your community through NDIS service provision. This process leads into service design, considering your key customers, service delivery options and resourcing requirements, so you’re equipped to operate in the NDIS market. All the while, we’re considering how operating in the NDIS will help you to deliver against your strategy.

You can read more about how we can help your organisation create a greater social impact through strategy and planning here.

How to charge

The NDIS Price Guide governs the amount you can charge for services, but it is not always easy to work out its implications for your unique organisational service model.

Combining sector best practice with a strategic mindset, our Business Consultants work with you to determine your pricing considerations – ensuring you are claiming for all the items that you can, without missing out on revenue opportunities.

You’ll come away with an in-depth understanding of how to correctly charge for your NDIS services. Additionally, you’ll develop strategies to identify new opportunities to support your organisation’s sustainability.

Reporting and metrics

Your mission is what drives you, but how can your organisation measure the impact you are having in the lives of people with disability? The simple answer is: improved reporting, metrics, and KPIs.

We work with your team to establish measures that will maximise your outcomes, and create alignment up and down your organisational hierarchy. This works particularly well in the NDIS, where your services can directly influence positive impacts; we work with you to realise this potential.

Our whole of business approach ensures your people, mission, and operations are cohesively heading in the same direction. There’s more to reporting and metrics, so check out more information here.

Ready to unlock your NDIS potential?

Book a meeting with a CBB Business Consultant.

Client case studies

CBB’s NDIS business consulting service has played an important role in fostering greater choice and control for people with disability. Check out these case studies and read about some of our key outcomes:

About HCO

HCO is an independent not for profit specialist disability service provider based in Mount Barker, South Australia.

Working with children, adults and young people living with disability and their families, HCO offers:

  • Supported independent living
  • In-home support
  • Short-term accommodation
  • Community access programs
  • Support coordination

HCO’s mission is to work quietly in and with the community alongside people living with disability and their families, supporting them to exercise their own life choices and aspirations.

The beginning of the partnership

Community Business Bureau (CBB) first began working with HCO as part of their NDIS Readiness Program in 2017, when CBB was contracted by the Government of South Australia to work with providers during their transition to the NDIS environment. HCO was a long established and reputable organisation, who had the potential for strong growth as a result of the transition.

Following their initial involvement in the NDIS Readiness Program, HCO was then selected to be part of a smaller cohort of organisations to be more intensively supported by CBB. As part of this second stage cohort, CBB worked with HCO on their financial model, reviewing service pricing, organisational costs and overheads. Workforce planning and culture were also reviewed, with improvements made to onboarding procedures for new staff.

Continued support during HCO’s growth

Since the second stage of the NDIS Readiness Program was completed in December 2018, CBB has continued to strengthen the partnership with HCO, supporting them on a range of projects to further their success.

With their transition to the NDIS environment opening up a range of opportunities for the organisation, HCO engaged CBB to provide a market opportunity analysis, looking at opportunities for growth within HCO’s current market areas, as well as researching where HCO could expand to offer services to more NDIS participants.

CBB’s Business Consultants provided a detailed analysis which compared market data across different geographies, considering the market size and distribution of competitors, helping to inform HCO’s decision-making around priority areas for a proactive growth strategy. HCO’s leadership team used the insights from the analysis to begin putting in place the frameworks to progress their expansion.

The next project saw CBB’s Business Consultants working with HCO on their financial strategy, breaking down their business strategy into clear financial objectives and allowing them to more easily understand the impact on day to day operations. The strategy covered revenue targets, capital expenditure, future expansion and long-term cash reserves, ensuring a sustainable business model that could be easily managed by HCO’s leadership team moving forwards. Resources were also allocated to the recruitment of new staff to support HCO’s growing client numbers, ensuring that the care of their clients remained paramount.

Having seen growth in both client and staff numbers, as well as the recruitment of new Board members, HCO wanted to review the metrics and data provided to the Board to demonstrate how they were achieving strategic objectives. Initially, CBB worked with HCO leadership to review and update HR metrics and Board reporting, to better reflect performance measurement and risk management for the growing organisation. Later, CBB’s Business Consultants met with HCO’s CEO and Board Chair, as well as undertaking a detailed review of the current reporting process and strategic plan. They were then able to provide workable templates and make recommendations for how HCO can develop their Board reporting practices in the short and long term, giving their Board an accurate understanding of HCO’s performance against their strategic and financial objectives.

Given the amount of change and growth experienced by HCO within a relatively short space of time, CBB provided coaching to their leadership team to build the organisation’s internal capability in managing growth and change.

Giving HCO the power to make positive impact

Following their initial transition to the NDIS environment back in 2017, HCO have seen significant growth. Client numbers have increased, their service offering has expanded, and they have doubled in staff numbers, now employing key people with skills that further enhance HCO’s focus on quality and safeguarding.

The team at CBB are proud to have been able to support HCO with a range of consulting projects over the last three years and will continue to provide assistance whenever it is required. The partnership between the two organisations has allowed CBB’s Business Consultants to work alongside HCO’s team, giving them practical skills and tools that will support HCO’s success long into the future.

Thanks to the capabilities of their leadership team, not only are HCO well-positioned for their next round of strategic planning, they have the internal skills to expand across a larger geographic footprint and continue to build upon their core services. All for the benefit of the people and communities they serve.

 “It was important to understand our sector offering and be clear on our values that enable success in a NDIS environment. The CBB team helped us understand our strengths as well as how to identify opportunities across our operations and service delivery – and provided us with information needed to make changes for the better.”

Sue Horsnell – Chief Executive Officer at HCO

About Project Independence

Established in 2013, Project Independence (PI) is a social housing development that provides independent living and a new model of home ownership for people living with intellectual disabilities. PI’s housing provides a safe place for residents to grow their independence – both financially and socially – whilst living with a community of their peers and an on-site resident coordinator.

Providing a person-centred model of housing, Project Independence is a unique and innovative offering, giving residents freedom of choice and empowering them as they transition to independence.

The opportunity

By offering a truly unique service to people living with intellectual disabilities, PI was quickly inundated with applications, and had more people on their waiting list than were living in their accommodation.

Identifying skill gaps in some residents already living in PI’s housing, and recognising that adults don’t only require housing to live independently but also skills and coping mechanisms, PI set to work on formulating an idea for a new training program that they called ‘Pathways to Independence’.

The program aims to assist people with intellectual disability who already live independently – or plan to move into independent living – to build confidence, capabilities, and social skills.

The training program is a way to engage NDIS participants on the accommodation waiting list, as well as an opportunity to help build the skills of people with disability who are already living independently in the local community.

With staff already working at capacity, PI sought external expertise to help bring their concept for a new training program to life.

The solution

By providing a multidisciplinary approach to the development of the new ‘Pathways to Independence’ program, CBB’s Business Consultants were able to work with the team at PI to confirm that there was a need within the market, review the proposed structure of the program, design the service to be viable (within the current NDIS Price Guide), and then validate its sustainability with a financial cost model.

CBB’s consultants also provided practical tools that PI will be able to use for the future, like a budgeting tool that will help them adapt and succeed within the dynamic NDIS environment.

The journey

PI staff participated in CBB’s NDIS Success program and successfully applied for one of 16 grants which offered one to one support with CBB’s Business Consultants. We then assisted PI to prepare to pilot the new NDIS service ‘Pathways to Independence’.

’Pathways to Independence’ is designed to run as an NDIS Program of Support for approximately 8 weeks, delivered through a combination of 1 on 1 mentoring as well as group sessions of up to 6 people. Learning outcomes include skills and capabilities, such as how to take actions to meet ones needs, how to seek support and self-advocate, and how to live in harmony with others. Mentors assist participants to identify their strengths – and utilise them – when living independently.

With broad experience within the NDIS environment, CBB offered a multidisciplinary consulting approach to PI, with three Business Consultants working with them to provide the best possible skillsets for different aspects of the consulting support.

The project began with research into similar supports and services that were already available in other geographic markets. Then, workshops were run with PI staff to develop a detailed understanding of the NDIS business context and the needs of the training program’s target audience.

Service design was the next piece of the puzzle, looking at the overall structure, the desired outcomes and the format in which the training would be delivered. A review of the NDIS pricing rules together with the cost modelling of different scenarios and staff ratios helped to refine the service design and cost structure of the NDIS supports, forming a sustainable model.

With this work complete, PI ran a pilot of ’Pathways to Independence’ with a selected group before preparing to launch it more broadly into the market.

Looking forward

After being given the confidence to advance the project based on the pilot program and CBB’s support, PI is preparing to rollout their new NDIS Program of Support.

Since the conclusion of CBB’s consulting support, learning outcomes from the pilot regarding content, structure, and participant numbers are being embedded into the future program.

“CBB were amazing. Their knowledge of the NDIS space and expertise in business development was invaluable to us. The cost modelling tool they developed has really helped us to be agile with the evolving NDIS price list. CBB took the time to understand our organisation’s unique offering and tailor the solution to that. Previous contractors have given us a one size fits all approach. On top of all that, they are the nicest people to work with and very encouraging of our ideas.”

Susan Beaumont, Operations Manager at Project Independence.

In 2016, the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services tendered for consultants to support disability service providers to transition to the NDIS, having secured Sector Development Fund support for the South Australian disability sector. CBB successfully tendered for the contract and started to deliver the service in June 2017.

The challenge

Our NDIS Transition Program worked with disability providers across South Australia. Providers came from the not for profit, private and public sectors and included small, specialist providers and well known SA organisations.  Some of the providers were well advanced on their NDIS transition journey, others were just at the beginning.

The solution

The two key requirements within the DHS contract were to work with each provider to develop an NDIS action plan, and to provide mentoring support for transition. CBB developed a model that started with an extensive survey to assess each providers’ NDIS preparation; an initial meeting to get to know their consultant; an action planning workshop involving key staff; followed by a documented action plan. CBB then provided targeted support to address a key element of each providers’ action plan; and mentoring to support action plan delivery, address specific issues, or support individual staff and teams with NDIS transition.

Organisations could also apply to DHS for a grant, and a number of organisations used their grant to purchase additional support from CBB. Throughout the program, we worked with organisations on costing of services and scrutiny of non-chargeable time and overheads; planning their marketing to make the most of their marketing resources; implementing business processes for working with the NDIA; strengthening their customer service skills; developing their mission critical leadership skills and understanding their IT requirements. In addition to the one on one support to providers, we published a range of blogs on NDIS transition and shared updates on all things NDIS.

The outcome

By the time we completed the transition program in June 2018, CBB had completed action planning workshops and delivered action plans for 78 providers; delivered 76 targeted support projects and hundreds of mentoring sessions. 90% of providers responding to our exit survey said that they were better or much better prepared as a result of the program.

About Aboriginal Family Support Services

Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS) has been serving South Australian Aboriginal communities for over 40 years. First established in 1978 as the SA Aboriginal Child Care Agency Forum, AFSS now offers a broad range of family-based programs. Growing to become an organisation employing over 300 staff across 30 locations, AFSS services include family-based foster care, youth accommodation, residential care and family reunification (Stronger Families) as well as other region-specific services. Their focus is on working to ensure that Aboriginal children maintain their cultural links despite separation from their parents, and that wherever possible, Aboriginal families are reunited.

The opportunity

As an organisation dedicated to supporting Aboriginal Australians, AFSS recognised a need for more culturally sensitive NDIS services to help cater for Aboriginal children and young people. With limited NDIS experience in-house, AFSS engaged CBB to help support and guide the development of their NDIS business plans and service model.

The solution

CBB Business Consultant Andrew Ellis worked with AFSS to define the appropriate customer journey and create a sustainable business model based on detailed market analysis and an understanding of the AFSS NDIS business context. A business plan for their new services was then developed, with priorities and targets put in place to monitor progress over the next two years.

Finally, to ensure awareness of the new service, CBB worked with in-house specialists to facilitate the creation of a detailed marketing and communications strategy in order to better reach AFSS’s new NDIS audience.

The journey

Being a newcomer to the NDIS environment, AFSS established a cross-functional project team and recruited a Project Officer to assist with the setup of the new service. Realising that their team would need expert assistance to ensure the service would be viable and sustainable, AFSS staff participated in Community Business Bureau’s online NDIS Success program. After completing the first part of the program, AFSS was successful in applying for one of 16 grants which offered one to one support from CBB’s consultants to prepare a pilot for their new service.

With strong experience in the NDIS environment, CBB’s consultants knew how to support AFSS at the early stage of their NDIS journey, ensuring strong foundations were developed to provide long term sustainability.

CBB Business Consultant Andrew Ellis ran a series of workshops with the team at AFSS. The workshops helped the internal project team to develop their market by building on existing strengths. Using CBB’s consulting methodology of growing the capacity of client organisations, Andrew worked with the AFSS team to develop their knowledge of the NDIS environment and provide them with practical skills to support future endeavours.

Looking forward

Following their work with CBB, AFSS are well-positioned to achieve great success with their new service offering, now catering to an area of the NDIS market where there is great need. The knowledge and confidence of AFSS staff has grown through the project, and the team is now ready to support the needs of a new cohort of clients under the NDIS.

“To say the work we did with Andrew was helpful and informative would be an understatement, we appreciated his vast knowledge of the sector and his management skill set. Andrew was able to get to know us and the needs of our organisation very quickly and quite precisely.  We truly felt respected by Andrew, and it felt as though he was taking the opportunity to expand his knowledge of what we do as an organisation and his understanding of ACCO’s.

Andrew was keen to engage in culturally responsive practises and processes.  Andrew brought our knowledge base and business plan up to scratch and he was able to open our minds to the potential NDIS has on the overall size and impact of AFSS. Our ideas are now functional reality and we can’t wait for see how far we can go.”

Olivia King, Manager Residential Services Metro & NDIS at AFSS

Client testimonials

Free resources for NDIS providers

In addition to our NDIS consulting services, CBB offers a range of free resources to NDIS service providers.