Department of Human Services

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

The Commission is responsible for registering service providers, handling complaints, recording adverse incidents and monitoring the use of restrictive practices.

For a provider to be registered with the NDIA they have to go through a lengthy and somewhat costly process. This may not be viable for some smaller businesses or sole operators. It does not mean however that these unregistered providers do not have all the necessary skills to provide a quality service.

Unregistered providers do not have to adhere to the quality and safeguards requirements of the Commission, including worker screening and audits, although they are expected to adhere to the code of conduct. It is up to the participant to determine whether an unregistered provider offers a safe and quality service. Only self-managed and plan-managed participants are able to use unregistered providers. Participants who are Agency managed can only utilise registered providers.

The Commission needs to be a responsive and welcoming place for anyone to go to if they have concerns about the circumstances of an NDIS participant. Just as a participant, their nominee or their guardian needs a clear place to go to, so too do members of the public, relatives or any interested person. The Commission needs to have a mechanism to welcome and respond to notifications of adverse events that affect the welfare of participants.

The Commission only want to hear about providers not family members.

Sam Paior

What does get reported to the NDIS Commission is outrageous instances of neglect and abuse, what does not get reported is people sitting around all day in day options with nothing to do.

Richard Bruggemann

We don’t want to throw choice and control and dignity out in the name of safeguarding.

Sam Paior

Participants can self-manage (that is, take the funding in their NDIS plan and organise their services themselves or through a nominee) or plan-manage (that is, use a registered Plan Management agency to pay bills etcetera.). Then the risk when adverse events occur is treated as residing with the participant. Participants need to be aware of this risk. Reports of matters of concern by members of the general public are treated as complaints and the Commission looks to the participant or their nominee to make the complaint. If the participant is a vulnerable person then they are not likely to formalise a complaint and therefore the matter goes unreported. When a neighbour or family member is concerned about the welfare of a person with a disability they need to know where that can be reported without having to immerse themselves in bureaucracy. There also needs to be a clear process around what actions will be taken once a complaint is lodged, and how people can follow up their complaint. Additionally, the Commission does not routinely share information with the NDIA when participants may be at risk because a service provider is under investigation. This would allow the NDIA to contact and support affected participants.

The Commission does not deal with matters raised by individuals, except insofar as they reflect on the performance of a service provider. The Commission needs a clear, accessible process for anyone to register a matter of concern. The general public would look to a Commonwealth agency called “Quality and Safeguards Commission” as the natural place to approach with a concern about the health or welfare of a participant in the Scheme. However, the general population is unlikely to know of the existence of the Commission or how to approach it. The title “Quality and Safeguards Commission” may not be easily associated with where the general population would report abuse or neglect. For people with a cognitive impairment, understanding who and where to report matters is problematic. The Commission needs to reach out to these potentially vulnerable participants and not assume that the participant will know how to find the Commission when needed.

Safeguarding Gap 6

Participants and their families are unclear about how to raise matters of concern with the Commission and the Commission does not routinely undertake proactive inspections to vet the performance of service providers.

Safeguarding Gap 7

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission does not adequately consider the risk factors associated with the use of unregistered providers of personal support, particularly for potentially vulnerable participants.

Safeguarding Gap 8

The Commission does not explicitly require of all providers of personal support that there be at least two support workers for that individual (not necessarily at the same time) and that workers in participants’ homes have regular supervision.

Page last updated : 09 Oct 2020

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