Who We Are

We’re Athena Software and our goal is to help you help the people you serve.

Everything we do—from delivering new features and software updates to having real conversations with our customers when questions arise—is driven by our commitment to helping organisations like yours provide the best possible service to their clients. We know that with the right tools, social service providers and their staff can get more done in less time and improve client outcomes. That’s why we created Penelope, a comprehensive case management solution for nonprofit and social service organisations.

Our Journey

In 2001, Greg Stanley-Horn was working for a nonprofit organisation and was tasked with finding case management software to fit all of his agency’s reporting, compliance, and service tracking needs. After researching the market extensively, he realized that the solution he was looking for didn’t exist, so he decided to build it.

He enlisted the help of his wife, Diane, and his brother, Kevin, and together, they created Penelope and brought it to market. Now, almost 20 years later, Penelope is used by tens of thousands of people all over the world and Athena Software continues to grow.

Athena Software is based in Waterloo, Ontario and has remote offices in Australia, Europe, and the US. If you’re interested in learning more about us or even coming to work with us, check out our Careers page.

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

Growth of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Disability service providers have benefitted significantly from the new funding arrangements since it supports many disabled individuals across Australia. Some individuals receive NDIS support in addition to their Disability Support Pension or other disability payment while others are receiving this support for first time under the scheme. The NDIS has grown exponentially since it has been rolled out across the country with over 120,000 people expected to be employed by various service providers in 2020-21*. The number of providers will continue to grow as more participants enter the NDIS leading to increased competition and enhanced technological innovations.

Due to continued increase in government funding, the revenue for NDIS providers has grown significantly over the last five years. The revenue for NDIS providers is forecast to increase over the five years through 2025-26 to $32.3B as over 470,000 individuals are projected to receive NDIS support over the period*

The Covid-19 pandemic did not impact the NDIS rollout significantly since the service is being considered essential to users. However, due to the evolution in the service delivery models, there was a slight temporary slow down.

Who is using NDIS?

Although over four million Australians are expected to have to some form of disability yet only a fraction of them with significant disability that required long-term support are eligible for NDIS. An exception to this rule is children 0-6 who can be eligible for Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) programs for disabilities (such as autism).

Of the 470,000+ people that are projected to be eligible for NDIS, 400,000 are expected to be receiving NDIS benefits in 2020-21 and over 100,000 are expected to have receiving disability support for the first time*. Assistive technology and capital service providers are projected to expand strongly over the period as the number of individuals requiring these services is expected to rise. This trend is based on the fact that the population will be ageing, and technology innovations will allow for enhanced assistive technology enabling more individuals to enter the program.

 The funding varies based on the individual’s age and their disability type. Australians between 55-64 years of age absorb the maximum amount of funding on average since this age range covers multiple providers including assistive technology providers, disability support service providers and disability accommodation providers.

 Users with intellectual disabilities such as autism, down syndrome and developmental disorders are the industry’s largest segment. But over the past five years the segment of users with physical disabilities such as those conditions that limit their mobility, physical capacity, stamina, and dexterity (e.g., conditions like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or cystic fibrosus) has expanded.

Finally, there are other users who have disabilities that are not categorised as intellectual or physical such as neurological conditions, visual or hearing impairments.

Challenges for NDIS Service Providers

One of the most important priorities of any NDIS provider is their reputation or brand. Since NDIS participants have the right to change providers at any time, brand value is key to retain users. To ensure continuum on the brand value the providers have to warrant consistent customer service.

To ensure continued client satisfaction these service providers must ensure

  • Access and deployment of skilled workforce to comfort the users of quality and safety of the service provided
  • Availability and deployment of the latest and most efficient technologies or techniques such as electronic case management systems designed especially for National Disability Service Providers because these systems can allow users to manage reporting and payments, plan service delivery, track client outcomes and meet data collection and reporting requirements
  • Whenever and wherever possible, add and diversify their service offerings

Business interfacing with NDIS participants often deal with sensitive medical data. They must have sufficient cybersecurity practices in place to ensure compliance requirements surrounding data security and privacy. This is really critical because failure to comply with data projection and privacy can result in fines and tarnish service provider’s reputation/brand

Although there is an ample financial opportunity yet providing services within NDIS can be complex and overwhelming. It can evolve into a real challenge for any organisation especially as the agencies start expanding services or they start serving more clients. For service providers, managing NDIS along with servicing other programs for clients can be onerous.

It has the potential to lead into service reduction due to increased administration, higher chances of data entry error, poor reporting or negative client experience.

How can service providers overcome the challenges

One simple option is to choose a case management software designed to interface with the NDIS portal facilitating the transfer of data between the two systems. This will enable service provider’s staff to deliver consistent care, produce reliable reports and allows agencies and organisations to view a comprehensive picture of every client’s journey from start to end.

Penelope is a cloud-based case management platform that has a dedicated inbuilt NDIS module which integrates seamlessly with the remainder of its case management capabilities empowering organisations to handle requirements in line with their rest of their service delivery practices

Penelope’s integrated NDIS functionality enables service providers to: 

  • Manage Support Plans
  • Create and manage service agreements
  • Provide services to Clients who are self-managed, plan-managed and agency-managed
  • Oversee all agency NDIS Claims including:
  • Creating submission files to upload to the “NDIS” portal
  • Uploading and verifying successful claims and automatically marking claims as in error where they were rejected by the NDIA
  • Uploading and processing payment Remittance Responses from the NDIA
  • Meet NDIS auditing requirements
  • Reporting on NDIS Services
  • provide 100% Control of NDIS support items and packages you deliver and much more

Next Steps

Penelope case management software is designed for growth. That’s why expanding your business is rather easy with Penelope, since all the required features and functionalities are already available. With robust installation team of qualified and trained professionals layered with comprehensive training and support, expanding another service stream can all be managed inhouse within short time.

The big question is; why worry or waste time and human resources when there are options to improve service delivery and staff efficiency at the same time? Consider choosing a case management software that maximises your agency’s efforts and investment at a low cost to you.

If you’re a NDIS service providing organisation with over fifteen staff members, schedule a complimentary assessment with a Penelope expert and discuss how you can reduce or even eliminate NDIS reporting pains.

Resources

  • National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Productivity Commission
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • NDIS Overview - Penelope
  • NDIS 1 Pager - Penelope

*Data provided in IBIS world report “National Disability Insurance Scheme Providers in Australia” by Liam Harrison September 2020

Growth of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Disability service providers have benefitted significantly from the new funding arrangements since it supports many disabled individuals across Australia. Some individuals receive NDIS support in addition to their Disability Support Pension or other disability payment while others are receiving this support for first time under the scheme. The NDIS has grown exponentially since it has been rolled out across the country with over 120,000 people expected to be employed by various service providers in 2020-21*. The number of providers will continue to grow as more participants enter the NDIS leading to increased competition and enhanced technological innovations.

Due to continued increase in government funding, the revenue for NDIS providers has grown significantly over the last five years. The revenue for NDIS providers is forecast to increase over the five years through 2025-26 to $32.3B as over 470,000 individuals are projected to receive NDIS support over the period*

The Covid-19 pandemic did not impact the NDIS rollout significantly since the service is being considered essential to users. However, due to the evolution in the service delivery models, there was a slight temporary slow down.

Who is using NDIS?

Although over four million Australians are expected to have to some form of disability yet only a fraction of them with significant disability that required long-term support are eligible for NDIS. An exception to this rule is children 0-6 who can be eligible for Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) programs for disabilities (such as autism).

Of the 470,000+ people that are projected to be eligible for NDIS, 400,000 are expected to be receiving NDIS benefits in 2020-21 and over 100,000 are expected to have receiving disability support for the first time*. Assistive technology and capital service providers are projected to expand strongly over the period as the number of individuals requiring these services is expected to rise. This trend is based on the fact that the population will be ageing, and technology innovations will allow for enhanced assistive technology enabling more individuals to enter the program.

 The funding varies based on the individual’s age and their disability type. Australians between 55-64 years of age absorb the maximum amount of funding on average since this age range covers multiple providers including assistive technology providers, disability support service providers and disability accommodation providers.

 Users with intellectual disabilities such as autism, down syndrome and developmental disorders are the industry’s largest segment. But over the past five years the segment of users with physical disabilities such as those conditions that limit their mobility, physical capacity, stamina, and dexterity (e.g., conditions like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or cystic fibrosus) has expanded.

Finally, there are other users who have disabilities that are not categorised as intellectual or physical such as neurological conditions, visual or hearing impairments.

Challenges for NDIS Service Providers

One of the most important priorities of any NDIS provider is their reputation or brand. Since NDIS participants have the right to change providers at any time, brand value is key to retain users. To ensure continuum on the brand value the providers have to warrant consistent customer service.

To ensure continued client satisfaction these service providers must ensure

  • Access and deployment of skilled workforce to comfort the users of quality and safety of the service provided
  • Availability and deployment of the latest and most efficient technologies or techniques such as electronic case management systems designed especially for National Disability Service Providers because these systems can allow users to manage reporting and payments, plan service delivery, track client outcomes and meet data collection and reporting requirements
  • Whenever and wherever possible, add and diversify their service offerings

Business interfacing with NDIS participants often deal with sensitive medical data. They must have sufficient cybersecurity practices in place to ensure compliance requirements surrounding data security and privacy. This is really critical because failure to comply with data projection and privacy can result in fines and tarnish service provider’s reputation/brand

Although there is an ample financial opportunity yet providing services within NDIS can be complex and overwhelming. It can evolve into a real challenge for any organisation especially as the agencies start expanding services or they start serving more clients. For service providers, managing NDIS along with servicing other programs for clients can be onerous.

It has the potential to lead into service reduction due to increased administration, higher chances of data entry error, poor reporting or negative client experience.

How can service providers overcome the challenges

One simple option is to choose a case management software designed to interface with the NDIS portal facilitating the transfer of data between the two systems. This will enable service provider’s staff to deliver consistent care, produce reliable reports and allows agencies and organisations to view a comprehensive picture of every client’s journey from start to end.

Penelope is a cloud-based case management platform that has a dedicated inbuilt NDIS module which integrates seamlessly with the remainder of its case management capabilities empowering organisations to handle requirements in line with their rest of their service delivery practices

Penelope’s integrated NDIS functionality enables service providers to: 

  • Manage Support Plans
  • Create and manage service agreements
  • Provide services to Clients who are self-managed, plan-managed and agency-managed
  • Oversee all agency NDIS Claims including:
  • Creating submission files to upload to the “NDIS” portal
  • Uploading and verifying successful claims and automatically marking claims as in error where they were rejected by the NDIA
  • Uploading and processing payment Remittance Responses from the NDIA
  • Meet NDIS auditing requirements
  • Reporting on NDIS Services
  • provide 100% Control of NDIS support items and packages you deliver and much more

Next Steps

Penelope case management software is designed for growth. That’s why expanding your business is rather easy with Penelope, since all the required features and functionalities are already available. With robust installation team of qualified and trained professionals layered with comprehensive training and support, expanding another service stream can all be managed inhouse within short time.

The big question is; why worry or waste time and human resources when there are options to improve service delivery and staff efficiency at the same time? Consider choosing a case management software that maximises your agency’s efforts and investment at a low cost to you.

If you’re a NDIS service providing organisation with over fifteen staff members, schedule a complimentary assessment with a Penelope expert and discuss how you can reduce or even eliminate NDIS reporting pains.

Resources

  • National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Productivity Commission
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • NDIS Overview - Penelope
  • NDIS 1 Pager - Penelope

*Data provided in IBIS world report “National Disability Insurance Scheme Providers in Australia” by Liam Harrison September 2020

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