Quality & Safeguarding

Audits: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Paula Spencer

At DSC, we often get asked questions about preparing for NDIS audits and complying with the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators. So, we decided to put the answers to the most common questions in one place. Here are the top 5:

1. How much does the audit cost?

The NDIS Commission does not prescribe how much an auditing company can charge, and there can be some very significant differences in quotes. So, shop around.

The cost will largely be determined by the size of the provider and the supports or services they wish to be registered to deliver.

Once you have completed your online assessment, the NDIS Commission will forward you an Initial Scope of Audit. Potential auditors then use this to provide you with a quote. This ensures everyone has the same information when quoting.

A very broad guide of what to expect is that an audit to the Verification modules of the NDIS Standards may cost around $1,000-$2,000- though that really is an approximation. Whereas for the Certification modules the lowest price would be around $3,000 and up to tens of thousands.

It’s a good idea to confirm if the quote includes travel and both the stage 1 and stage 2 audit.

2. Do I have to use the same auditor or audit company for each audit?

No, you don’t. There are advantages to staying with the one - the auditor is already across your systems, and you both know what to expect.

However, if you don’t believe they are the right fit, or are not available when you need them, you may change auditors. One upside is that you will have a different eye across your systems and get a different perspective on where improvements can be made.

3. Do I need to be audited for modules which I am registered to provide, but am not currently providing?

Yes, you do. For example, you may be registered to provide the Implementing Behaviour Support Plans Module but do not currently support any participants with approved restrictive practices in their plans. While you won’t be able to show evidence of how you have addressed each indicator in practice, the auditor will audit your documented processes.

4. I have run out of time and the audit is just around the corner – where should I start?

Start with documenting where the gaps in your system are and what you plan to do to address them. Then, if time permits start working through closing off as many as possible. This shows that you understand the NDIS Standards and what is required, and that you have a plan in place to address any shortfalls.

It’s also a good idea to allocate some time to address the anticipated audit nonconformities.

5. Once I have completed the audit, how long until I hear back about the outcome from the NDIS Commission?

We hear reports that this can vary considerably. As a guide, you can have a look at the NDIS Commission Quality Performance Report, which lists the days it took in the last reporting period.

In the October to December 2023 report, it stated that the median number days for a new provider being assessed to the Verification modules was 112 days, with 92 days for a renewal. For Certification it was 308 days for new providers and 172 for a renewal.

If you still have questions or would like to know more about the process to be audited, Charmaine and Paula are running a Get Audit Ready online workshop on the 8th of March. This course includes some tools and templates to get you started, as well as free access to some of our great e-learning courses.

Note this is designed for providers who are being audited to the Certification modules of the NDIS Standards. We are also working on a e-learning module to cover getting ready for Verification audit, which will be released soon.

Author

Paula Spencer

Paula has extensive experience developing risk and WHS tools and management systems. Her expertise include researching and writing policies, frameworks, procedures, and training material that is tailored to an organisation’s size, scope and culture. Paula knows her way around a risk matrix...

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