Robertson Report released: Independent Review into NDIS Commission oversight and the death of Ann-Marie Smith

The Commissioner of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (the NDIS Commission), Mr Graeme Head, has today released the report from the Hon. Alan Robertson SC of his review into issues surrounding the death of Ms Ann-Marie Smith.

Ms Smith was an NDIS participant who died on 6 April 2020 in appalling circumstances in South Australia.

Mr Robertson SC is a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia, and was appointed by Mr Head to undertake the review in May 2020. The review involved consultation with a range of stakeholders and the public, and was undertaken independently of the NDIS Commission.

The Terms of Reference required that Mr Robertson consider, amongst other things, the actions of the NDIS Commission in response to Ms Smith's death, including its regulation of Ms Smith's service provider.

"The review did not identify any significant failings in the nature or timing of the steps taken by the NDIS Commission in response to Ms Smith's death, nor did it identify any actions of the NDIS Commission that were causally related to the neglect and subsequent death of Ms Smith," said Mr Head.

"In the course of his review, Mr Robertson has considered wider issues of safeguarding of people with disability who are particularly vulnerable. While Mr Robertson did not identify any fundamental flaws, he has made observations and recommendations regarding things that he believes would assist the NDIS Commission in taking earlier action. These observations and recommendations concern the NDIS Commission's processes and systems and its legal framework and will be valuable in considering ways in which protections for NDIS participants most at risk of harm could be further enhanced," said Mr Head.

"I thank Mr Robertson for undertaking this important review," said Mr Head. "The report and suggested actions for the NDIS Commission will be given careful and thorough consideration. The NDIS Commission has already initiated work with providers supporting people with disability in their own homes who have chosen to have a single worker, so those supports have appropriate and thorough oversight."

The report and a video of Mr Robertson delivering the summary of his report can be viewed on the NDIS Commission website. The report is published, subject only to redactions necessary to avoid prejudice to any legal proceedings or that are appropriate to protect the privacy of individuals, as determined by Mr Robertson.

Anyone can make a complaint to the NDIS Commission about the quality or safety of NDIS supports and services to people with disability. To make a complaint call 1800 035 544.