New website upgrades! What’s new

Quality and Safeguarding Updates

Here’s a run down on the latest quality and safeguarding updates.

By Jessica Quilty

Updated 15 Apr 20247 Jun 2020

Independent review

In a media release on the 26th May 2020, the NDIS Commission announced the appointment of the Hon. Alan Robertson SC to conduct an independent review into the NDIS Commission’s regulation of supports and services provided to Ann-Marie Smith. The full terms of reference can be viewed on the Commission’s website. Ann-Marie’s tragic death has raised a number of critical questions about the adequacy of quality and safeguarding and regulation in the NDIS, particularly for people with increased vulnerability who are isolated.

Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability

The latest issues paper published by the Disability Royal Commission on the 26th May focuses on the use and impact of restrictive practices on people with disability. The Royal Commission wants to know about the effects of restrictive practice and how laws, policies and practices around restrictive practices can be improved to better prevent and protect people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

An earlier issues paper was published by the Royal Commission on the 12th May that examines the experiences of people with disability in employment.

 On the 29th April the Royal Commission also published the Rights and attitudes issues paper to understand people’s awareness and understanding of the rights of people with disability. It seeks feedback about community attitudes and how well advocacy is working for people with disability, to prevent or help respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

You can find out more about the Disability Royal Commission on their website.

 

Community visitors scheme review

During the development of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, it was recognised that the community visiting schemes would continue to play an important role during the transition to the NDIS. A review would inform the Disability Reform Council about the ongoing role for the schemes once the NDIS had been fully implemented.

Subsequently, the Community Visitor Schemes Review was co-funded by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments in 2018. 

The Review recommends that Community Visitor Schemes (whilst having a broader scope than the NDIS) should be formally recognised within the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework.

The Review also recommends that Community Visitor Schemes, where they exist, continue to be provided by states and territories. The review recognises community visiting as a key mechanism to achieve independent oversight of institutional settings both within the disability service system and mainstream settings such as justice and health, and notes adequate funding is required. You can read the full report here.

Western Australia to delay transition

The WA government has announced that WA will delay it’s transition to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission due to the critical challenges facing providers due to COVID-19. Key points include:

  • Transition to NDIS Commission deferred from July 1 to December 1, 2020
  • Focus on critical support issues during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Current WA quality and safeguarding functions will continue until transition
  • $2 million to prepare the disability sector to meet Commission requirements

This comes in response to service providers having expressed significant concerns about the challenges of supporting vulnerable people through the pandemic while also implementing business changes to comply with the Commission's additional reporting requirements. The Minister confirming Western Australia is committed to transitioning to the Commission on December 1, 2020.

Behaviour Support updates

The NDIS Commission has released a document Easy Read: About the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework. It explains what behaviour support is, what the framework does, and who can provide behaviour support.

If you are still confused about the different roles in providing behaviour support, some summary information can be found in the Provider Information Pack.

The NSW Government Family and Community Services has updated it's mechanical restraint safe transportation guide. This information sheet is for NSW NDIS Service Providers to assist in identifying whether applying certain devices to people who display behaviours of concern in a vehicle are a restrictive practice or not. They have also updated their FAQ on the Restrictive Practices Authorisation in NSW.

 

Worker screening

The Queensland Government has launched a new Criminal History Screening site. In regard to the highly anticipated NDIS Worker Screening, we still don’t know when it will commence but the website states:

The Queensland Government has committed to implementing a nationally consistent worker screening scheme for people who provide NDIS funded disability services and supports. Progress is being made towards transition from the current Yellow Card Screening System to NDIS Worker Screening.

The implementation of NDIS Worker Screening represents an exciting new era in disability services sector screening in Queensland. Features of the new screening system include:

  • Cleared workers can deliver NDIS services and supports in any state or territory
  • A national database hosted by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) will allow NDIS employers to verify workers and check their clearance status online
  • A new simplified and efficient process for confirming the identity of an applicant
  • Reduced paperwork for employers and workers
  • Work is currently being undertaken to ensure the transition to NDIS Worker Screening in Queensland is as seamless as possible. The introduction of NDIS Worker Screening will coincide with the further development of online application processes to facilitate streamlined and automated processing. Support will be provided to ease the transition to the new scheme and online processes.

At this stage we can only provide limited information to you, as the details are still being worked through by the Queensland Government and are subject to final approvals and a parliamentary process. Stay up to date with progress towards implementation of NDIS Worker Screening by regularly checking in via the Latest News link.

 

COVID-19 updates

 NDIS Commission

The NDIS Commission put on this Provider Alert informing providers that the Australian Government Department of Health has published resources to assist NDIS participants, their families, support workers and carers, health professionals, and home care providers who support people with disability.

Key points:

  • The Australian Government Department of Health has created a webpage with COVID-19 advice for people with disability.
  • They have also developed ten new fact sheets to assist families of people with disability, support workers and carers, health professionals and home care providers.
  • The Commission encourages providers to read and share the relevant resources with the NDIS participants, their families and workers.

 The NDIS Commission put out this Fact sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Outbreak preparedness, prevention and management. This fact sheet contains information to support registered NDIS providers to:

  • ensure their workers take reasonable precautions to protect Participants and themselves
  • prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19
  • respond to suspected or confirmed cases in different types of service settings
  • manage an outbreak of COVID-19.

 The NDIS Commission also put out this Provider Alert: Advice for people with disability

 The Australian Government Department of Health’s new webpage explains how people with disability can protect themselves from COVID-19, manage their mental health, and access important services like telehealth and prescription medications.

 Key points:

  • The Department of Health’s new webpage helps people with disability exercise choice and control over their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They encourage providers to share the information on this webpage with their Participants
  • The Commission has also developed resources for people with disability, and will continue to share these, and resources developed by the Australian Government, with providers and Participants.

 The NDIS Commission has also put on this Provider Alert: Changes to student visa work conditions for workers of registered NDIS providers

 

Government COVID-19 Resources for Disability Service Providers

Some of the states and territories have put together information such as FAQs, fact sheets and contact details for disability support providers in COVID-19.

Queensland

Victoria

New South Wales

Western Australia

South Australia

Tasmania

Australian Capital Territory

 

An Easy Read version of the COVID-19 Plan for Keeping People with Disability Safe  was also released by the Department of Health.

 Summer Foundation

The Summer Foundation continues with its Reasonable and Necessary Podcast Series including “Holding support providers to account – with NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner Graeme Head”. Dr George Taleporos interviews the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner about some key concerns for the sector including provider obligations, the NDIS Commission’s approach, isolation and restrictive practice concerns and PPE.

Victoria disability worker registration

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria has decided to delay the commencement of voluntary worker registration until 1 July 2021. Visit the Sway website to see their video for more information.  

If you are keen more things quality and safeguarding we have a host of online training on offer at the moment. So hop on our website and take a look around.

Authors

Jessica Quilty

Explore DSC

Subscribe to the newsletter you’ll actually want to read

Learn from the humans obsessed with Australia’s NDIS. 50,000 readers strong.

Explore DSC Learning