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“What Good Looks Like”: A Workforce Capability Framework

The NDIS Workforce Capability Framework has finally been released. Here's what you need to know and what you can action today.

By Ann Drieberg

Updated 15 Apr 20248 Sept 2021

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (Commission) recently and without fanfare released the long-awaited NDIS Workforce Capability Framework (the Framework), together with a new website (https://workforcecapability.ndiscommission.gov.au/), online tool, and logo. Now what, exactly, does the logo represent? Well after some vigorous (and somewhat humorous) internal debate, the DSC jury is still out on that one. 

The Framework applies to any worker funded under the NDIS. It translates the NDIS Principles, Practice Standards, and Code of Conduct into “observable behaviours that service providers and workers should demonstrate when delivering services to people with a disability”. The NDIS Workforce Capability Framework provides a common language to describe “what good looks like”.

 

The Framework outlines a number of objectives, core and additional capability descriptors for workers, and some organisational capabilities for frontline managers, supervisors, and staff coordinators. You can download and read the (194-page) Framework here or use the online Framework tool by selecting the “Use the Framework” button on the NDIS Workforce Capability website.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW – KEY HIGHLIGHTS 

It’s a lot to read and apply when we are already stretched and just a little over the constant “new” stuff we need to implement. You know what I’m talking about: NDIS Quality Standards, Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework, High Intensity Skill Descriptors, Worker Screening and Sole Worker Requirements, all in a constantly changing and demanding COVID world. So, here are the highlights:

  • It’s not currently mandatory, but before you let out that collective yelp of excitement and dismiss it for a much later date, it might help your future self to get familiar with the language and “What you know” sections of the Framework. These sections list the expected knowledge for each staff group: what each needs to be trained in, but more importantly, understand and practice. These sections can be used as checklists across all your documentation, including ensuring recruitment, orientation, and ongoing staff development is embedded in principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
  •  The Framework is organised around five broad objectives (expressed in participant voice): Our Relationship, Your Impact, Support Me, Be Present, and Check In. Please refer to the diagram of the Framework below (p. 11).

  • Each objective has corresponding capabilities for each type of work: General Support Work, Advanced Support Work (think high-intensity and allied health), Ancillary Work (transport, gardening, and cleaning services), and Supervisors, Managers, and Leaders (including board members). See the diagrams below for more details (p. 16)

  • Tools and resources to support providers in embedding the objectives are still in the making. There is more on this under Framework Implementation.

 

FRAMEWORK IMPLEMENTATION

The Commission will be implementing the Framework over the next 18 months. Its implementation will focus on embedding the Framework in all aspects of NDIS workforce and management practice. If you would like to be part of the implementation, you can sign up by email or phone.

 

GOT FIFTEEN MINUTES? WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW!

While the Framework is not currently mandatory for providers, once implemented in 2023, these expectations might change. Before you put the Framework on the ever increasing “to read” or “to do” lists, here are three things you can do in the next fifteen minutes that could help you work on Framework implementation in the background.  

  1. Bookmark the new website, so you can go back at any time to review the tool and become familiar with the Framework.
  2. Add the Framework to your Continuous Improvement Register – and if you have a bit more than fifteen minutes, link it to any upcoming human resource, training, supervision, or meeting actions. This will highlight the Framework while reviewing or actioning feedback and continuous improvement suggestions.
  3.  Share the link with staff but be clear about your intentions – is it an FYI, something that will be talked about in future meetings, or a request for staff input? Make sure you let them know it’s not compulsory.

Authors

Ann Drieberg

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