The head of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has provided an update on the work of the new regulatory body saying around 10,000 providers of disability services and support have been migrated to a national system.
The new system is operating in NSW and South Australia and will be in place across the country from July 2020, Commissioner Graeme Head told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event.
Under the national system, the commission will take over registration and regulation of providers, as well as ensuring they adhere to a new code of conduct in which they will have to report incidents including abuse and neglect.
Providers in NSW and SA who have moved to the national system have been issued with certificates of registration and informed they will be required to undergo auditing within a specified timeframe in order to re-register, Mr Head told CEDA on Friday.
New screening checks
He also said work is progressing on the introduction of a national screening check for workers delivering services under the disability scheme.
“Worker screening is being progressed with the NDIS commission working with all Australian governments to introduce a new NDIS worker screening check,” Mr head said.
While states and territories will undertake screening, the commission will host a national database enabling people two work between jurisdictions.
In his speech to CEDA Mr Head said the commission was prepared to come down hard to protect people under the NDIS including banning and deregistering providers.
The new body would empower people by giving them a voice and enabling them to make complaints about providers operating under the $22 billion NDIS, he said.
“We’re able to take a range of actions including deregistration, banning orders or seeking the application of civil penalties so we really do have a comprehensive tool kit.
“We have comprehensive regulatory powers and functions, and real regulatory teeth.
“Icicidents that must be reported to the commission include the death of a participant, serious injury, abuse or neglect and importantly also the unauthorised use of a restrictive practice in relation to a participant.”
The commission aimed to reduce and “ultimately eliminate” restrictive practices, he said.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission was announced in the 2017-18 federal budget with an initial allocation of $209 million over four years to implement the Quality and Safeguarding Framework .
The framework covers all workers providing services under the NDIS, including self-managing clients who directly employ their own staff.
Mr Head has been tasked with leading it through its establishment phase during his three year term which began on July 1.
“It does represent a significant step change in how we approach the delivery of quality services to people with disability and how we protect and prevent neglect and abuse of people with disability,” Mr Head said.
“It represents a raising of the bar in significant in terms of how we think about quality and safeguards in this sector.”
What the NDIS Quality and Safety Commission will do
- Register NDIS providers and monitor compliance with national standards
- Respond to complaints and reportable incidents
- Oversee and enforce a new code of conduct for workers
- Issue penalties for breaches of the code
- Set a national screening policy for workers