Department of Human Services

Tuesday 15 December 2020

An invitation to have your say on changes to restrictive practices legislation

Dear sector colleagues,

Today, we commenced consultation on the Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices) Amendment Bill 2020, representing an important next step in protecting the safety, welfare and dignity of South Australians with disability.

This follows this year’s State Budget commitment of $5.8 million over four years to establish a restrictive practices scheme, including the creation of a new restrictive practice authorisation unit within the department.

We are committed to working with our sector partners as we shape the policy direction ahead of the bill’s introduction to Parliament in the new year, and encourage all of our partners to review the proposed legislation and provide feedback via the YourSAy website.

The intent of the bill is to provide protection for NDIS participants of all ages while allowing NDIS providers to fulfil their duty of care to staff and ensure participants are not at risk of harm to themselves or others.

The proposed scheme will apply a risk-based authorisation process where:

  • low-level, less intrusive restrictive practices, such as environmental restraint and chemical restraint, may be authorised by an approved authorised officer within an NDIS provider; and
  • high-level, more intrusive restrictive practices, such as physical restraint and seclusion, can only be authorised by an authorised officer in the DHS.

Importantly, the proposed scheme will also deliver consistency across states and territories, making it easier for providers to streamline their processes.

A new restrictive practice authorisation unit within DHS will work with registered NDIS providers to provide education about processes and collect data on the use of restrictive practices in South Australia.

Understandably, any change of this kind can be quite challenging, however the department will ensure extensive education and training is delivered to providers, including regular onsite assistance to help providers meet their obligations under the new legislation.

While the new authorisation process will go a long way towards preventing confusion and supporting better outcomes for providers and clients, the South Australian Government remains committed to working collaboratively with our sector partners to reduce and eliminate the need for restrictive practices over time.

We invite you to share your thoughts about the proposed changes and encourage others, including clients with disability and their family members, to have their say.

Consultation has begun via yoursay.sa.gov.au and will conclude on 29 January 2021.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact DHSSADisabilityReformIGR@sa.gov.au.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 15 December 2020

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