Statement: Actions taken by the NDIS Commission in response to the death of Ann-Marie Smith

The death of Ms Ann-Marie Smith was tragic and continues to shock and sadden many people across Australia.   

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) moved decisively to take action against Integrity Care, Ms Smith’s NDIS provider - fining the provider, revoking its registration and banning it from operating in the NDIS. The NDIS Commission has also banned Ms Smith’s carer, Ms Maione, who is the subject of a manslaughter charge. 

Ms Smith’s death remains the subject of criminal investigation by South Australian Police, and ongoing investigation by the NDIS Commission.

Background

The Government introduced the NDIS Amendment (Strengthening Banning Orders) Bill 2020, enabling the NDIS Commission to ban providers and workers who are not currently operating in the NDIS. These powers enabled the NDIS Commission to progress the ban against Ms Smith’s carer.

National worker screening arrangements came into effect on 1 February 2021. This ensures the people who are working, or wish to work, with NDIS participants do not present an unacceptable risk to people with disability.

The NDIS Commission has applied a condition of registration on more than 2,400 providers of personal care. This was the culmination of major compliance activities during 2020 to assess and monitor risks to NDIS participants. Compliance with the condition is enforceable, and the NDIS Commission is actively monitoring compliance. Information about the additional condition on registered providers can be found on our website. Consultation is now underway to inform how the issues covered in the condition might be reflected in the NDIS Commissioner’s Rules. 

Further legislative changes are being considered by the Government. 

The NDIS Commission revoked the registration and issued a banning order against Integrity Care for a number of contraventions of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act). 

A banning order has been made against Ms Maione, which prohibits her from providing disability supports and services, directly or indirectly, to NDIS-funded participants. The banning order has been made for a period of 5 (five) years to allow adequate time for an outcome to be reached in criminal proceedings. On the outcome of the criminal proceedings, the NDIS Commission will review the banning order.

The NDIS Commissioner appointed the Hon. Alan Robertson SC, a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia, in May 2020 to undertake an independent review into the adequacy of the regulation of the supports and services provided to Ms Smith, and the action taken by the NDIS Commission in the exercise of its regulatory functions.  

The report by Mr Roberson did not identify any significant failings in the NDIS Commission’s performance of its functions. He did however make recommendations for change to better support vulnerable or at risk NDIS participants. 

The NDIS Commission has continued to broadly promote information to participants, their families and the community about how to make a complaint - anyone can make a complaint to the NDIS Commission about the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services.

All NDIS providers, both registered and unregistered, are required to comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct.