Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme to be expanded from 1 November
- From 1 November 2017, DWES will expand to all Victorian disability services, including NDIS providers, registered with DHHS.
- By 1 December 2017, providers must update their recruitment materials with details on the Scheme, and establish checking processes for prospective workers.
- As soon as possible, providers must: nominate an Authorised Person to submit all checks and notifications; and advise all workers, seeking their consent.
- By 1 February 2018, providers must have completed all checks of workers who have provided their consent.
As of 1 November 2017, the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme (DWES) will be expanded to cover all Victorian disability services, including NDIS providers, registered with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The DWES currently applies to workers in direct support roles at registered disability residential services.
This initiative is one of a number of additional safeguards being introduced by the Victorian government in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services.
While many NDS members have called for extension of the Scheme for some time and NDS supports the Scheme as a valuable element in a safeguarding framework, we have concerns about the extremely tight timeframes imposed by the Department.
It is also noted that the DHHS views this as a short-term initiative which will be replaced by the National Quality and Safeguarding Framework to be implemented in Victoria in July 2019, as well as the proposed Victorian Worker Registration and Accreditation Scheme. We are now seeking member feedback on the practicalities of implementing these changes within the timelines. We will also be discussing the Scheme at the next NDS Workforce meeting on 14 November 2017.
From 1 November, providers registered with the DHHS will be required to contact every disability worker employed in their organisation, provide them with written advice about the expanded Scheme, and seek their consent in order to check them against the Disability Worker Exclusion List (the List) by 1 February 2018. Providers will also be required to nominate an Authorised Person in their organisation to be responsible for submitting all checks and notifications under the Scheme via the DWES Portal. The DHHS is encouraging providers to do this as soon as possible in order to have all checks completed by 1 February 2018.
By 1 December 2017, providers must update their recruitment materials to inform prospective disability workers of the requirements of the Scheme, and establish processes to check them against the List.
By 1 February 2018, providers must complete all checks of workers who have provided consent against the List.
Further information, including information specific to workers and providers, and relevant forms, is available here on the DHHS website.
The DHHS has advised that each disability service provider will receive written correspondence from the department outlining the new scheme and their obligations, and that information sessions about the Scheme for providers and workers is forthcoming.
If you wish to provide feedback on the Scheme, please contact Henry Newton on his details below.