If you are a provider of services to NDIS participants, you’ve probably heard about the new NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Designed to protect people with disability, this Commission works with providers all around Australia to ensure they’re delivering a high level of service and support to NDIS participants.
At Plan Partners, we’re very familiar with the NDIS Commission, having implemented all Quality and Safeguards obligations in our organisation and successfully completed audits of our services.
In this article, we give an overview of what the NDIS Commission means for you.
What the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission means for you
The NDIS Commission is an independent agency that’s been created to ensure all NDIS service providers are providing high-quality supports to people with disability. It does this by:
- educating providers on NDIS regulations;
- helping them resolve any issues that arise; and
- enforcing penalties on those that don’t comply.
The NDIS Commission is separate to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and will essentially take over anything relating to service providers, leaving the NDIA to focus on managing a well performing scheme.
What does this mean for providers?
Service providers must now ensure they’re compliant with the NDIS Commission’s requirements, which are detailed in the next section. Providers that fail to meet these obligations can face disciplinary action, ranging all the way from simple education to being banned from the NDIS.
NDIS Commission Audits
The Commission will regularly ask service providers to get an independent audit done to determine whether they’re complying with the requirements. These audits can be an intensive process, requiring quite a bit of time, money and effort, but they also give some great insights into how you’re performing and what you can do to improve both the quality of your services, and the safety of your customers and staff.
Fortunately, for the majority of service providers there will be very little material change to their day to day operations, as these requirements simply formalise what many are already doing. In fact, the NDIS Commission simplifies things by setting out clear expectations that are standard all throughout the country.
What are my obligations?
Your obligations depend on:
- whether your organisation is registered with the NDIS; and
- the risks involved in the services you provide.
Obviously, for larger, high-risk organisations there are greater obligations and tighter scrutiny. There are four key obligations for service providers under the NDIS Commission.
The NDIS Code of ConductAll service providers and workers must adhere to the ‘NDIS Code of Conduct’. The Code of Conduct outlines seven guidelines or rules that must be followed when dealing with NDIS participants. Designed to ensure people with disability are treated ethically, the Code of Conduct covers things like respect of privacy, delivering supports with care, and acting on concerns around safety.
Complaints managementService providers must have a complaints management process in place to work with participants that have raised a complaint. This process needs to be easy to access, fully-documented, focused on and support the person making the complaint, and be regularly reviewed.
Incident managementService providers need to have a system in place to record all incidents that occur and take measures to prevent them from happening again. Serious incidents, such as the assault of an NDIS participant, need to be reported to the NDIS Commission within 24 hours.
Worker screeningService providers must ensure any staff that have any meaningful contact with NDIS participants have been appropriately screened. The NDIS Commission is developing a national screening database that providers can use to ensure that staff have the relevant clearance.