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Wednesday 27 May 2020
Dear sector colleagues,
It has been a difficult week for our sector. As you will be aware, the tragic case of Ann Marie Smith has raised significant issues for the NDIS and DHS, and put a spotlight on the role of paid carers providing services to vulnerable South Australians.
This deeply concerning case is the subject of a police investigation, so there are limitations on details that can be discussed at this time.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner has announced the appointment of a former Federal Court judge, Hon Alan Robertson SC, to lead an independent inquiry into the adequacy of the regulation of supports and services provided to Ms Smith. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission registers and regulates NDIS providers and oversees the new NDIS Code of Conduct and NDIS Practice Standards.
The Premier has announced a Disability Taskforce to examine gaps in oversight and safeguarding of people living with profound disability in South Australia. More details of the taskforce are included below.
I want to reassure you that DHS and the State Government support the role of all quality carers in our community and acknowledge the strong commitment to your clients and care you take in your work. We trust that your services will continue to be provided during these difficult times with the greatest of care and diligence. I cannot stress enough the critical importance of having policies and procedures in place that ensure the wellbeing of your clients as the absolute utmost priority.
I also want to ensure that our critical frontline staff do not feel demoralised or stigmatised by these horrendous events, and I encourage you to get involved with the #SAythanks campaign for our direct care workers via DHS’s social media channels.
Meanwhile, our relative containment of COVID-19 has allowed the easing of some restrictions from Monday. You can read more details in the newsletter.
The DHS COVID-19 Response Team remains available to provide assistance and support to you during this time.
Acting Chief Executive