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Quality & Safeguarding July Update

There’s been a lot on the go these past two months and Jess covers it all here.

By Jessica Quilty

Updated 15 Apr 20248 Jul 2021

Welcome to the July 2021 edition of quality and safeguarding updates. It’s been a hectic couple of months, so here is what you might have missed. 

 

New Practice Review Framework

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) has just a dropped a new Practice Review Framework and set of resources. 

So, what is a practice review? Here is what the NDIS Commission says:

A practice review is a reflective process that examines a provider’s engagement with a group of participants, and improvements that can be made to their experience of service, often with a focus on a particular practice area, a cluster of services, and/or a particular team of support workers.

Initiated and undertaken by NDIS providers, a practice review is focused on how a provider engages with participants, why workers make the decisions they make, and what can be done better to improve the service experience[1].

The Commission makes it clear that a practice does not replace or duplicate a registered provider’s regulatory incident management requirements. 

 

NDIS Worker Screening is Now National

The Northern Territory (NT) began the NDIS Worker Screening Check on 1 July. So, what is new for workers in the NT? A side-by-side comparison of the NT Work with Children Ochre Card and the NDIS Worker Screening Check can be found on the NT Police, Fire & Emergency Services website. Some of the key differences include:

  • The NDIS Worker Screening Clearance is nationally portable 
  • It lasts for five years
  • It is $50 more expensive than the paid Ochre Card
  • There is no actual card

NT workers can work on application once certain risk management criteria are met

There are transitional arrangements to phase in these cards, with risk-assessed workers required to apply three months before their Ochre Card is due to expire. However, if NDIS workers in risk-assessed roles provide support to children with disability, they will be required to maintain both clearances, so don’t overlook that one!

 

Residential Aged Care (RAC)

The registrar recently wrote to RAC providers about their concerns about compliance burden and describing what the NDIS Commission was doing to alleviate the pressure. The Commission has since put out a list of frequently asked questions for RAC providers.

On a positive note, on 15 June 2021, the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Requirements for Staff Members and Volunteers) Instrument 2021 (CTH) was registered, providing for the recognition of NDIS worker screening clearances in the aged care sector. This means that NDIS worker screening clearances are now recognised in aged care so RAC providers may have the opportunity to reduce duplication. Get all the details in this provider alert

 

Governance and Executive NDIS Resources Pack

Parkinson’s NSW was funded by the NDIS Commission to develop a range of resources and educational information that provide a structured approach to up-skilling both the governance and executive management levels of NDIS providers and those contemplating NDIS Approved Provider Registration, regardless of their size.

This Governance and Executive Management NDIS Resource Pack includes targeted strategies, processes, and resources to inform and up-skill provider governance and executive management so they can meet the conditions of NDIS registration. 

The packs contain strategic educational and management resources including:

  • Information sheets
  • Links and references to information, policies, checklists, tools, surveys, forms, and exemplars
  • Training materials and presentations
  • Feedback, data, reports, and other materials derived from consultations
  • The resources include materials in various formats and platforms

Check out this free resource on their website.

 

NDIS QSC Sector Readiness Project

The Western Australian (WA) Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) is running an NDIS QSC Sector Readiness Project. WAAMH is supporting the capacity building of WA psychosocial disability support services to operate in compliance with the NDIS Commission requirements. This is being carried out through a series of seminars and events, factsheets, information dissemination, practical support in the workplace, and resources. 

 

WA’S Individualised Services (WAIS) NDIS Commission Resources

WAiS is supporting service providers in regional and remote WA to transition to the NDIS Commission. This is in collaboration with NDS WA (with a focus on service providers in the metropolitan region) and WAAMH (with a focus on service providers providing supports to people with psychosocial disability, as above). This effort is being funded by the WA Department of Communities, Disability Services.

WAiS has put together a range of easy-to-understand downloadable resources that describe the role of the NDIS Commission and provider requirements. Even if you aren’t in WA, there may be something in them for you. 

 

Frontline Practice Leadership Resources

The Living with Disability Research Centre has developed a Frontline Practice Leadership Resource that looks at the five tasks of practice leadership. It is an online training resource for frontline supervisors, service managers, and experienced support workers. There are six modules, including videos, activities, and a workbook. It was funded by the NDIS Commission and is totally free, so get on it. 

 

Frontline Leader Role Clarity Project

Speaking of frontline leaders, Ability First Australia has undertaken a Frontline leadership role clarity project that defines the roles, competencies, and capabilities of the frontline leader. Spread over four stages, the project was designed to have a profound impact on the long-term viability of the NDIS: facilitating career pathways, informing recruitment practices, and increasing capacity for leaders to be successful in their roles. This project was funded by Department of Social Services, so it is also totally free.

 

South Australian (SA) NDIS Restrictive Practices Authorisation Scheme

The Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices—NDIS) Amendment Bill 2021 was passed on 11 May 2021. The bill creates a legislative framework for the use of restrictive practices by NDIS providers for NDIS participants. It establishes the new roles of Senior Authorising Officer and Authorised Program Officers, who have responsibility for reviewing and approving the use of restrictive practices.

The regulations and guidelines will provide more detail about the authorisation scheme, including:

  • the skills and qualifications of the new roles
  • level 1 and level 2 restrictive practices
  • prohibited practices
  • the processes of applying, implementing, reviewing, and reporting restrictive practices. 

The SA government is seeking feedback to ensure that the regulations and guidelines are clear, simple, and effective for NDIS participants and NDIS service providers.

To get involved, read the final Consultation Report on the bill and regulations discussion paper and have your say by:

The consultation will occur in three stages:

  1. Consultation on the regulations – June 2021
  2. Consultation on the guidelines – July and August 2021
  3. Consultation and feedback on the transition process – September to December 2021.

The consultation reports will be available at the end of each consultation stage. The legislation, regulation, and guidelines will begin at the end of 2021.

 

Laws on minimising restrictive practices in aged care

The Aged Care and Other Legislative Amendment (Royal Commission Response No.1) Bill 2021 was introduced in Parliament on 27 May 2021 and makes changes to current aged care legislation. The Quality of Care Principles 2014 have also been revised and outline the detail of the amended requirements relating to the use of restrictive practices, including the limited circumstances where a restrictive practice can be used.

An exposure draft of the proposed amendments to the principles is available to assist aged care providers to prepare to meet their enhanced responsibilities. The definitions of restrictive practices are very similar to the NDIS, with some subtle nuances to account for end-of-life care. There is also more detail about the primary purpose for a practice to be considered environmental restraint or seclusion. 

 

Victorian Disability Worker Registration

The Disability Worker Regulation Scheme (the Scheme) was established by the Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018 (Vic) and involves the regulation of registered and unregistered disability workers in Victoria.

The Scheme applies to all disability workers in Victoria, but registration is voluntary. It is administered by two independent statutory bodies: the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria and the Victorian Disability Worker Commissioner, both supported by the Victorian Disability Worker Commission (VDWC). Unregistered workers are still required to abide by a Code of Conduct, which is the same as the NDIS Code of Conduct. 

The VDWC believes registration could offer benefits to workers looking to raise the bar in their profession. A registered disability worker is someone who has been granted registration through the Scheme. In order to hold general registration, a disability worker must:

  • have been screened for safety (had a criminal history check)
  • have experience, training, or qualifications that satisfy the Board that the disability worker is professionally competent to practise as a disability worker
  • have successfully completed all supervised practice requirements OR all examinations and assessments required to practise safely and competently
  • be suitable in all other regards, such that the Board determines the disability worker is a suitable person to hold registration.

Registration can be renewed annually. Check out all the details on the VDWC website.

 

Behaviour Support Practitioner Suitability

The NDIS Commission has released a behaviour support practitioner suitability assessment and application process Frequently Asked Questions document. If you are not across what this is all about, here is a summary we prepared earlier. 

 

Registration requirements for the use of regulated restrictive practices

This flow chart and interactive decision tree have been developed to assist participants and their families identify the types of supports that only a registered NDIS provider can deliver. They also identify the options available when an unregistered provider is involved and using a regulated restrictive practice.

 

Prohibited practices

The NDIS Commission has put out this document which outlines the practices that are either already prohibited or intend to be prohibited by all states and territories. The Commission states that these practices are associated with a high risk of adverse and catastrophic outcomes for NDIS participants.

 

New NDIS Commissione

Finally, you may have heard that the inaugural NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner has stepped down after one term. The Registrar is currently acting in the role, so we are eagerly watching this space to find out who our new Q&S Leader will be! 


[1]https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021-07/what-practice-review_0.pdf

Authors

Jessica Quilty

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