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Quality and Safeguarding September Update

Jess covers all the Q&S happenings in her latest update.

By Jessica Quilty

Updated 15 Apr 20248 Sept 2021

Well, it has been a busy month of Q&S updates, with the NDIS Commission dropping new big-ticket items as if it were Christmas. Here’s what you might have missed.

 

NDIS Commission Activity Report 2020–21

The NDIS Commission has published its 12-month activity report covering the period of 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. In this reporting period, 1,952 corrective compliance activities were undertaken. A total of 2,711 NDIS providers were subject to compliance activity, and a number of banning orders, suspensions and revocations of registrations, infringement and compliance notices, and refusals of registrations were determined. 

In the same period, the NDIS Commission received 7,231 complaints about supports and services provided through the NDIS and 1,044,851 reportable incidents. Of these, 98.7% related to the use of an unauthorised restrictive practice (URP), with 93% of the URPs relating to chemical or environmental restraint. 

The Commission reports that despite extensive compliance action undertaken during 2020–21, the rate of URP use continues to rise, and significantly – there were 302,690 reports for the 2019–20 period, which shot up to a whopping 1,032,064 reports in the 2020–21 period.The Commission says only some of the increase is explained by the transition of Western Australia and the NDIS Commission’s oversight of some residential aged care providers.

“We are accelerating our compliance activity where there is ongoing use of URPs where providers are not moving to obtain authorisation, or have failed to put in place a behaviour support plan. The focus of that compliance activity is to move regulatory oversight of the use of restrictive practices to one that focuses on positive behaviour supports, that promote practice that protects the right, freedom and dignity of any person with disability by reducing the use of these arrangements and ultimately work to eliminate them,” said the Acting Commissioner, Samantha Taylor. “As well as ramping up compliance action on this critical issue, I will also be publishing a full analysis of the use of restrictive practices and behaviour support plan activities by the end of 2021 to expose the issues in practice.” You can read the full media release here.

 

NEW NDIS PRACTICE STANDARDS

The NDIS Commission is in the final stages of developing three new NDIS Practice Standards. 

  • Mealtime Management Practice Standard:providing guidance and ensuring compliance in relation to safe and quality practice by registered NDIS providers in the delivery of mealtime management to people with disability (Schedule 1 – Core Module, Part 5 – Support provision environment).
  • Severe Dysphagia Management Practice Standard: providing guidance and ensuring compliance in relation to safe and quality practice by registered NDIS providers in the delivery of severe dysphagia management to people with disability (Module 1: High Intensity daily personal activities); and
  • Emergency and Disaster Management Practice Standard: strengthening guidance to NDIS providers on complying with their obligations to ensure the health, wellbeing, and safety of the NDIS participants they support during COVID-19 or future emergencies or disasters (Schedule 1 – Core Module, Part 5 – Support provision environment). 

The Standards are in the final stages of development, and before they are released the Commission is required to consult with state and territory ministers. Information about transition periods and details of the new Practice Standards, including resources to support their implementation, will be made available on the Practice Standards page of the Commission’s website in September 2021.

 

Own Motion Inquiry into aspects of supported accommodation in the NDIS

The Acting Commissioner has initiated an Own Motion Inquiry into aspects of supported accommodation in the NDIS. The inquiry will examine the experiences of participants living in supported accommodation through examining reportable incidents and complaints that have occurred in connection with services provided by a small number large of NDIS providers of supported accommodation. The inquiry will also identify any available models for the delivery of supported accommodation that demonstrate best practice. 

The Acting Commissioner appointed Mr Arthur Rogers PSM as Inquiry Lead in August 2021. At the end of the inquiry, the NDIS Commission intends to publish a report setting out its findings. Learn more about the terms of reference and structure of the inquiry, including who will take part, here.

 

Regulator performance framework self-assessment report 2018-19

Regulatory agencies are required to undertake an annual self-assessment against the Regulator Performance Framework as part of the Australian Government’s commitment to reducing unnecessary and inefficient regulation. The Framework measures the performance of Australian Government regulators, giving confidence to businesses and the community that regulators are managing risk with the minimum of impact necessary to achieve regulatory objectives.

 The NDIS Commission has undertaken a self-assessment of its performance against the Framework. The self-assessment report describes how the Commission has performed against each key performance indicator and individual performance measures based on its evidence metrics.

The report also provides self-assessment ratings of the NDIS Commission’s overall performance. The ratings were “achieved”, “substantially achieved,” or “achievement

progressing”. Here is a summary of the self-assessment:

Compliance & enforcement priorities

The NDIS Commission has released its compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021–22. These are:

  • Prevention of harm
  • Incident management and response
  • URPs
  • Safeguards for NDIS participants receiving assistance in their homes
  • COVID-19 preparedness and response
  • Quality and safety in mealtime supports
  • Management of conflicts of interest

  

Disability worker registration now open in Victoria

We were recently contacted by the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria with this exciting message for Victorians. 

 The registration of Victorian disability workers is now open. It is the first of its kind in Australia, and applications are being received from disability workers and practitioners from across the state. Registration is individual to the worker and acknowledges the crucial work that they perform. By registering, disability workers can demonstrate their commitment to their work in disability and enable people seeking services to find workers they know have been independently assessed as safe, skilled, and professional.

There are three standards that must be met for registration: a criminal history check that is consistent with the NDIS worker screen criteria; competency in English; and Continuing Professional Development (CPD), although CPD is not a requirement in the first year. 

For the first registration year (1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022), there is no registration fee. Disability workers that register by October will also be able to have prior experience recognised, even if they don’t have a qualification. In future years, workers will be required to hold certain qualifications. Workers can register under two different divisions – registered disability support worker or registered disability practitioner.

Registration can be completed online and takes approximately 45 minutes. A full list of all the information and documentation required during the registration process is available at www.vdwc.vic.gov.au/registration/how-to-register. A public register will be available on the Victorian Disability Worker Commission website, providing a quick and easy way to find a registered worker online.Registered disability workers will be issued with a registration certificate. They will be able to use the distinctive registration mark in a variety of ways to promote their registration.

You can find out more about disability worker registration on the Victorian Disability Worker Commission website www.vdwc.vic.gov.au/registration, and questions about registration can be sent to  [email protected].

Stay informed by subscribing to the VDWC newsletter and following the VDWC on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook

 

Workability eLearning quality & compliance program

WorkAbility Queensland has just released a free NDIS Quality and Safety Compliance e-learning program for disability service providers who are new or entering the NDIS.

Modules include:

  • Choice and Control
  • Quality and Safeguards in the NDIS
  • NDIS Quality & Safeguards Framework
  • Overview NDIS Quality and Safeguards Practice Standards
  • NDIS Quality and Safeguards Practice Standards Core Modules
  • Quality and Safeguards Practice Standards Supplementary Modules
  • Regulated Quality and Safeguards
  • NDIS Providers First Quality and Safeguards Audit

 

NDIS Workforce Capability Framework

And to wrap things up, the NDIS Commission has finally dropped the NDIS Workforce Capability Framework. To find out more about this brand spanking new Framework, head over to my colleague Ann Drieberg’s article to get the low down. 

Authors

Jessica Quilty

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