Factsheet: NDIS Commission then and now snapshot - February 2019

A snapshot of how the NDIS changes the way people with disability access services and support, before the NDIS and with the NDIS.

The NDIS changes the way people with disability access services and supports

The NDIS gives people with disability more choice and control by changing the way funding is provided, opening up the market for service providers and creating a national approach to quality and safeguards.

How funding is delivered

Before the NDIS

Government programs funded organisations to deliver services and supports to people.

People with disability accessed supports through funded service providers.

With the NDIS

NDIA planners work with people with disability to determine what is reasonable and necessary to support them achieving their goals.

Government funds go directly into NDIS participants’ plans.

People with disability choose their services provider and the type of service they need.

The market

Before the NDIS

Only select providers delivered specialist disability services and other supports funded by Government programs.

Governments were starting to introduce individualised funding programs, however, there were strict rules to access supports from other places when people had

individualised packages.

This meant that people with a disability were restricted in the choices they could make about who provided their services and supports.

With the NDIS

Any business or individual can become registered to deliver disability services, provided they prove they are suitable and meet national practice standards.

People who are managing their own arrangements can buy services and supports from anyone they choose (not all providers need to be registered).

This opens up the market and promotes competition between providers, encouraging them to offer better value services to people with disability.

Quality and safeguards

Before the NDIS

Quality and safeguards for disability services and supports were managed by each state

and territory, which meant there weren’t consistent standards or checks for all people with disability.

With the NDIS

The NDIS creates the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

The NDIS Commission regulates the NDIS market, provides national consistency, promotes safety and quality services, resolves problems and identifies areas for improvement.

This means there is more consistency and a central place for people to report issues.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

Since 1 July 2018, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has been operating in New South Wales and South Australia and will be progressively rolled out nationally by December 2020. From 1 July 2019, it will operate in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. From 1 December 2020, it will operate nationally with the inclusion of Western Australia.

The Commission manages:

  • provider registrations,
  • complaints,
  • reportable incidents,

The Commission sets national standards for:

  • practice standards,
  • workers screening and
  • behaviour support.

The following shows the comparison between how quality and safeguards were regulated before and after the Commission began in New South Wales and South Australia.

Provider registrations

Before the NDIS Commission

Providers registered with the NDIA.


Providers were required to meet NDIA Terms of Business and NSW Quality and Safeguards Working Arrangements and Guide to Suitability, and the NSW Disability Service Standards.


Providers were required to meet the NDIA Terms of Business and to be on the Disability Service Providers Panel.

With the NDIS Commission

The NDIS Commission registers providers in NSW and SA.

Registered providers are required to comply with the NDIS Practice Standards, the NDIS Code of Conduct and reportable incidents, complaints management, worker screening and behaviour support arrangements.


Before the NDIS Commission


Complaints about disability providers were made to the NSW Ombudsman.

NSW-funded providers were also subject to complaints oversight by the Official Community Visitors (OCVs) Scheme.


Complaints about providers on the Disability Service Providers Panel could be made to Department of Human Services.

The Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner handled and investigated complaints about disability services.

In all states and territories, people could make complaints about the NDIA or issues with their plans to the NDIA or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

With the NDIS Commission

Complaints about the quality or safety of NDIS supports and services can be made to the NDIS Commission.

Complaints about the NDIA or participant plans continue to be made to the NDIA or to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Registered providers are required to have effective and proportionate complaint management and resolution arrangements in place.

Reportable incidents

Before the NDIS


Some services must notify the Ombudsman of reportable incidents under the NSW Disability Reportable Incidents Scheme. The scheme covered support accommodation and centre-based respite and day program services.


Providers report any critical client incidents and serious care concerns to SA Department of Human Services for consideration and resolution, which could include investigation.

With the NDIS

Registered providers must report reportable incidents to the NDIS Commission.

Registered providers are required to have effective incident management systems in place.

Practice standards

Before the NDIS


Providers met NSW Disability Service Standards with requirements to have a quality management system in place.

Commonwealth-funded providers met National Standards for Disability Services.


Providers were required to follow DHS’s safeguarding policies, and engage in formal quality management improvement.

Registered NDIS providers also met the National Standards for Disability Services.

With the NDIS

Registered providers must meet relevant NDIS Practice Standards.

Registered providers must be audited against these Standards.

All providers and workers in the NDIS must meet the new NDIS Code of Conduct.

Worker screening

Before the NDIS


Registered providers were required to have referee and criminal record checks of workers before they were employed.


Providers and their workers had to undergo an occasional screening assessment through SA Department of Human Services, including a criminal history check.

With the NDIS

All states and territories transition to a nationally consistent Worker Screening Check for employees of registered providers who have more than incidental contact with people with disability.

States and territories will be able to set their own additional requirements.

Behaviour support

Before the NDIS


Providers followed the NSW Government’s Behaviour support policy for behaviour support and restrictive practice activities.

Restrictive practices were monitored and authorised through the NSW Restrictive Practices Authorisation Mechanism.

Providers in NSW had to submit a Declaration Statement to provide behaviour support services in the NDIS.


Providers followed the SA Government’s behaviour support and restrictive practices policies, including its Safeguarding People with Disability – Restrictive Practices Policy.

The Restrictive Practices Reference Guide set out the restrictive practice requirements of service providers.

With the NDIS

Providers who use or are likely to use restrictive practices, or who develop behaviour support plans must be registered with the NDIS Commission. They must also meet additional requirements of the NDIS Practice Standards.

The NDIS Commission approves behaviour support practitioners using a competency framework.

Providers must lodge behaviour support plans with the NDIS Commission and notify it of the use of restrictive practices.