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NDIS Quality and Safeguarding 2021 Update

Catch up on the latest quality and safeguarding information so far this year.

By Jessica Quilty

Updated 15 Apr 202410 Mar 2021

Welcome to NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Updates 2021! It has been a busy start to the year, so here is a run-down on some of the newish stuff that you might have overlooked.

 

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission activity report

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) has published its six-month activity report for the period of 1 July–31 December 2020. In this time the NDIS Commission received 3,731 complaints. There were 451,550 reportable incidents, almost 99% of which related to unauthorised restrictive practice.

Interestingly, there were 643 fewer registered providers than the previous six-month period, with the Commission noting that of the 3,337 registrations that lapsed, 92% were not active. 2,620 providers were subject to compliance activity in this period. You can read the media release and Activity Report on the Commission’s website.

 

NDIS worker screening

The National NDIS Worker Screening Check has commenced. More information can be found in this article. Some states and territories are starting to produce a host of resources to assist providers in understand their obligations, so make sure you get across those too.

Check out:

Victoria

Queensland

Western Australia

New South Wales

South Australia

Tasmania

If you are working across multiple jurisdictions, you may find this Acceptable state and territory checks under transitional and special arrangements table useful (or not, depending on your ability to unravel bureaucratic language).

 

NDIS Workforce Capability Framework

The design and development of the NDIS Workforce Capability Framework was completed last year. Over 600 stakeholders informed the consultation, including NDIS participants, members of their families or carers, workers, service providers, education and training providers, peak bodies, researchers, and sector experts. Implementation of the Framework is now said to be underway, with the focus on supporting the sector to embed the Framework into all aspects of NDIS workforce management practice. 

As part of that work, the Commission says a user-friendly, interactive version of the Framework will be officially launched in mid-2021. A range of support tools will be developed, including an interactive self-assessment tool, a capability-based recruitment guide and templates, and a workforce planning guide. The Commission says that all of this work will be conducted in close consultation with the sector to ensure the resources produced are realistic, practical, and useful!

 

Behaviour Support Practitioners Suitability

A pilot project for the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework was conducted in 2020, involving four specialist behaviour support providers from NSW, SA, and QLD. The pilot focused on the self-assessment and practitioner suitability application processes. The feedback and outcomes from the pilot project have informed the national implementation.

Specialist Behaviour Support Providers will have 12 weeks to prepare and submit their applications. The proposed dates for these applications are:

  • NSW: 15 January 2021 to 9 April 2021
  • SA: 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021
  • QLD: 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021
  • VIC: 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021
  • ACT, NT, TAS: 1 August 2021 to 31 October 2021
  • WA: 1 September 2021 to 30 November 2021

The self-assessment tools can be found here and there is more detailed information in this article.

 

Behaviour Support Plan Quality Audit

Last year, the NDIS Commission undertook a Behaviour Support Plan Quality Audit using the Behaviour Support Plan Quality Evaluation Scoring Guide II (BSP-QEII).

The findings were somewhat concerning and identified the following:

  • Around half of comprehensive behaviour support plans require marked improvement.
  • Only 24% of comprehensive behaviour support plans reviewed were rated as good or superior quality.
  • There was poor consultation with participants and advocates in the development of plans.
  • Plans were better at identifying behaviours of concern but generally poor at identifying strategies that could modify behaviours of concern.

The Commission says it will work with NDIS behaviour support practitioners to support the development of high-quality plans in collaboration with participants and their support networks.

 

Positive Behaviour Support Course

Monash University has produced an online professional development course entitled Engaging in Positive Behaviour Support Practices. The course is suited to educators, disability support workers, and allied health professionals. The university claims that the program will equip all participants with essential skills to implement positive behaviour support strategies with confidence and to meet part of the requirements for registration as a Core Behaviour Support Practitioner.

 

Participants with a sole worker

Last year the NDIS Commission wrote to participants (via providers) to advise them of a change to the conditions of NDIS provider registration. From 19 December 2020, a registered NDIS provider of Assistance with Daily Personal Activities must take certain steps if a participant chooses to receive personal support from only one single support worker if they live alone. The Commission has since produced this factsheet to explain some of the changes. 

 

Unauthorised use of restrictive practices

A number of providers have recently received follow-up compliance requests from the Commission in relation to reports of unauthorised restrictive practice. The NDIS Commission has released some FAQs about this process, including how to respond to a request. The Commission states that it is asking for additional restrictive practice information because:

  • It is moving away from an education, support, and encouragement approach and increasing their compliance activity.
  • This is a way to encourage providers who have reported the use of restrictive practices to focus carefully on whether they are meeting their obligations under the Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support Rules.
  • The information gathered may support further compliance action, where it is warranted.

 

New practice guides

The Victoria State Government has produced a range of practice advice for people who support people who show behaviours of concern. These include a range of nuanced situations that might be helpful to providers seeking to understand people’s rights and provider obligations in detail. 

The NDIS Commission has published a regulated restrictive practice guide. You can find a more thorough analysis here.

 The NDIS Commission has also recently published the regulated restrictive practices with children and young people with disability practice guide. This includes interactive decision trees to recognise restrictive practice and meet reporting requirements. We will look at this guide in more detail in the next edition. 

 

NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Participant Resources

Western Australia’s Individualised Services (WAiS) has released some new resources including a chatterbox, posters, and factsheets aimed to support WA in its transition to the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. These resources may be useful for both providers and participants inside and outside Western Australia.

The NDIS Commission has also released the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participant welcome pack and complaints factsheet.

 

South Australian restrictive practice authorisation

The South Australian government has announced that it will introduce a new authorisation process for NDIS providers, aligning South Australia with the national principles regarding restrictive practices.

The authorisation scheme will apply a risk-based process where:

  •  Low-level, less intrusive restrictive practices, such as environmental restraint (e.g., locked cupboards), may be authorised by an approved authorised officer within an NDIS provider; and
  • High-level, more intrusive restrictive practices, such as physical restraint, can only be authorised by the Senior Authorising Officer in the South Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) or by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT). You can find the full media release here and the proposed amendments and consultation process (which has now closed) here.

 

Royal Commission update

The Royal Commission has released its third progress report for the period of 1 July–31 December 2020. The Royal Commission will hold public hearings looking at NDIS and Service Providers during the weeks of 24 May and 31 May in Sydney. Stay current with the Disability Royal Commission by signing up for updates via the website.

That’s it for this month. Please make sure you are signed up to our dedicated Q&S newsletter to keep up to date with all things quality and safeguarding. Oh and if you have a Q&S topic you’d like us to explore in the newsletter, we would love to hear from you.

Authors

Jessica Quilty

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