A new world order: The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission commenced operation in New South Wales on 1 July 2018. The NDIS Commission has launched their website, on which you can access a complete list and summary of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Rules, a range of various fact sheets and details about NDIS Practice Standards Information Sessions.
NDIS registrations for existing providers in NSW have transferred across to the current to the NDIS Commission. However providers should be mindful of the end date listed on their registration certificate.
The NDIS Commission advised that they took a range of issues into consideration when determining the period of time that registration would be in force for transitioning providers. This included audit recency, but also the type of services and supports that NDIS providers are registered for.
NDIS-registered providers are required to submit an application for renewal of their registration by the end date of registration as listed on their registration certificate. The completion of that application can take a further nine months to conclude.
The commencement of the renewal involves NDIS providers:
- Satisfying the NDIS Commission as to their suitability (suitability assessment); and
- Undertaking a self assessment against the relevant practice standards. NDIS providers with current TPVs or equivalent will find the self assessment a more streamlined process, having contemporary evidence relevant to some of the standards.
As most providers are aware, the NDIS Commission requirements for registration are different from previous arrangements in NSW, and represent a new approach to quality and safeguarding for many NDIS services and supports. In particular, they introduce new requirements around high-risk services (by way of supplementary modules in addition to the NDIS Core standards) which will not have been assessed through previous state arrangements. The supplementary modules include behaviour support and early childhood supports.
The new audit scheme takes into account the types of supports that an organisation provides and the size and scale of an organisation. During the transition period, an important aspect of proportionality will also be how existing evidence of compliance is used, with approved auditors being expected to take into account the findings of recent audits, and to use existing evidence of compliance against relevant NDIS practice standards.
NDS has recorded a webinar for members which covered the roles and functions of the NDIS Commission and the operational implications for providers. NDS has also created a resource page hub for NDIS Quality and Safeguarding, on which a recording of the webinar is available.
Restrictive Practice Authorisation (RPA) in NSW
Under the Commission, the States and Territories still have responsibility for the authorisation of restrictive practices. FACS has released a policy and summary detailing the minimum requirements for the authorisation of restrictive practices for NDIS-registered providers and behaviour support practitioners supporting people under the NDIS. NSW now has definitions that are aligned with national categories of practices. This policy will be supported by an operational guide and a series of fact sheets. Further information is available on the FACS policy website and other information will be added, including FAQs.
The NSW Government and the Commission have delivered presentations outlining the changes in both Commonwealth and State expectations for behaviour support and the authorisation of restrictive practices. These will be posted on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website. Additional presentations are being scheduled across the state.
There’s a new contact point for all authorisation related questions: RestrictivePracticesAuthorisation@facs.nsw.gov.au.
Changing functions of the NSW Ombudsman
Of course, several of the NSW Ombudsman’s functions in relation to services and supports for people with disability have now moved to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This includes complaints and reportable incidents involving NDIS providers. The fact sheet available on this website provides details on the hand over.