National Resource Centre for Circles of Support and Microboards

Inclusion Designlab has received funds from the ILC (Information Linkages and Capacity Building) program of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) to establish the National Resource Centre (NRC) for Circles of Support and Microboards (COSAM). Inclusion Designlab is using this opportunity to support organisations that have recognised expertise in Circles of Support and Microboards, and to continue to foster this high quality, important community development approach.

This initiative acknowledges the value Circles of Support and Microboards provide to people with a disability and their families and the significant opportunity the NDIS presents to increase the profile and accessibility of Circle of Support and Microboard services through a channel such as the National Resource Centre portal.

Inclusion Designlab

Inclusion Designlab is Inclusion Melbourne’s engine room for research, innovation, communications and policy. Inclusion Designlab works alongside people with intellectual disability and in strategic partnerships with researchers, design thinkers, the not for profit sector and the wider community.

Our vision is to bring together people with a disability, community organisations, and the world’s leading disability researchers to develop cutting-edge models of practice, choice and citizenship that shatter glass ceilings and promote a more inclusive Australia.
To learn more about Inclusion Designlab, visit our website:

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) represents a fundamental change to how supports for people with disability are funded and delivered across Australia. In the past, the majority of supports were delivered through government agencies, and providers were ‘block funded’ by government agencies to deliver particular supports to a certain number of people with disability. In the NDIS, people with disability are at the centre of the system. People with a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to take part in everyday activities and those who would benefit from early intervention receive individualised funding to access reasonable and necessary supports. NDIS participants receiving funded supports and people who are not eligible for individualised funding can access community-based supports through Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (formerly called Tier 2).

Content taken from: NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework.

How do Circles of Support and Microboards align to NDIS outcomes?

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Choice and control

Circles of Support and Microboards can assist with engaging with a broader range of options for support.

John’s Circle members listen to what he wants/needs. They help John explore his options and support his decision-making.
Sally’s Microboard assist her to plan for her future and support her decisions, they find new support options for Sally to think about accessing.

Daily living

Circles of Support and Microboards can support an individual to improve their daily life through advocating for better control over supports, or by members working directly with the focus person to reach a goal.

Sally’s Microboard employs support workers directly so that she has full control over her supports.
John’s Circle supports him to plan and practice his regular transport routes. This means that John can travel independently to his regular destinations and use his transport allowance for irregular travel.


Developing and expanding a person’s network is a key function of Circles of Support and Microboards. Circles can also support existing relationships to develop.

John’s Circle members regularly invite John to social outings. John has developed a number of friendships through his network and sees his new friends independent of Circle members.
Sally and her partner decided to become engaged. Sally talked with her Microboard about marriage. Sally and a Microboard member make a time to talk with a counsellor about what marriage is and what it means.


Circles of Support and Microboards actively support and advocate for good housing options for the focus person.

Sally’s Microboard recently assisted her to buy a dishwasher for her apartment.
John does not get along with the people in his current Specialised Disability Accommodation home. John’s Circle is working with him to find a new home with friendly housemates.

Health and wellbeing

Maintaining good health and wellbeing is important. Circles of Support and Microboards play an important role in supporting people to maintain good health.

John feels comfortable with his Circle members to talk about issues that are affecting him. John’s Circle supported John to engage in mental health supports through his local health centre.
Sally’s Microboard members support Sally to get to all her appointments, and ensure that she understands what the health professionals are recommending.

Lifelong learning

Circles of Support and Microboards provide opportunities for the focus person to learn from other members, and explore formalised education options.

Sally is skilled in making clothes, and has a keen eye for fashion. Sally and her Microboard are exploring enrolling in a TAFE course for fashion and design.
John’s circle are supporting him to become ‘work ready’ by running their meetings like a business meeting, John is practicing his skills with taking minutes.


Meaningful paid or volunteer employment can help people feel valued as part of their community. Circles of Support and Microboards can be strong players in supporting their focus person to gain employment.

John worked in the past in an administration role, which he really enjoyed, and now is discussing applying for volunteer roles with his circle members.
Sally works at a local clothing business that makes their clothes on-site. Sally’s Microboard helped her to find the job and attend an interview.

Social and community participation

Circles and Microboards strongly support full citizenship. Participation in community and making a meaningful contribution to society are a keystone of COSAM meetings.

Sally’s Microboard supported Sally to achieve a fair and equitable wage at her workplace. Sally is much happier now that Sally knows she is paid the same as her colleagues.
John’s Circle has discussed the upcoming state election. John is keen to support his community and says it’s important to vote. John’s Circle is supporting John to put together a plan for what will happen at the polling booths on election day.