Behaviour support

Behaviour support is about creating individualised strategies for people with disability that are responsive to the person’s needs, in a way that reduces and eliminates the need for the use of regulated restrictive practices.

Behaviour support focuses on evidence-based strategies and person-centred supports that address the needs of the person with disability and the underlying causes of behaviours of concern, while safeguarding the dignity and quality of life of people with disability who require specialist behaviour support.

Both specialist behaviour support providers (who engage NDIS behaviour support practitioners), and providers who use regulated restrictive practices (implementing providers), must meet the requirements outlined in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018.

The role of the Senior Practitioner

The Senior Practitioner leads the NDIS Commission’s behaviour support function. It is the role and responsibility of the Senior Practitioner to:

  • Oversee NDIS behaviour support practitioners and implementing providers who use behaviour support strategies and regulated restrictive practices
  • Provide best practice advice to practitioners, providers, participants, families, and carers
  • Receive and review provider monthly reports on the use of regulated restrictive practices
  • Follow up on reportable incidents that suggest there are unmet behaviour support needs

Notification of behaviour support practitioners

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 (the Rules) state that the condition of registration of a specialist behaviour support provider is that they must use an NDIS behaviour support practitioner.

An NDIS behaviour support practitioner is a person whom the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner (NDIS Commissioner) considers suitable to undertake behaviour support assessments (including functional behavioural assessments) and to develop behaviour support plans that may contain the use of restrictive practices.

To assist compliance with this requirement, section 29 of the Rules requires that specialist behaviour support providers notify the NDIS Commissioner of their behaviour support practitioners within one month (or a longer period allowed by the Commissioner) after a State or Territory in which they are providing services comes under the NDIS Commission’s jurisdiction.

The notification can be made by using the Notification of Behaviour Support Practitioners (s29) – online form (s29 form).

The NDIS Commissioner will make an initial determination of the suitability of behaviour support practitioners based on information collected in the notification form. Behaviour support practitioners will be considered provisionally suitable as NDIS behaviour support practitioners for a limited period, and the provider and practitioner will be advised of this in writing. The provisional status will remain in place until the behaviour support practitioner undergoes an assessment against the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework.

NDIS behaviour support practitioners should review the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework (2019), the Self-Assessment Resource Guide for the PBS Capability Framework (2020), and the NDIS (NDIS Behaviour Support Practitioner Application) Guidelines 2020 to start preparing for the practitioner suitability assessment and application process.

The NDIS Commission will coordinate a national implementation program from January 2021 to begin practitioner suitability assessments against the PBS Capability Framework. This will occur using a phased approach for participating jurisdictions and will change the way that behaviour support practitioners are considered suitable to deliver behaviour support services in the NDIS. Read more about behaviour support practitioner suitability assessments.

The Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework

The Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework focuses on the knowledge and skills that underpin contemporary evidence-based practice. It reflects the diversity of and variation in the sector’s capability in delivering behaviour support and provides a pathway for recognition and professional progression for behaviour support practitioners. 

Currently, behaviour support practitioners whose names were provided to the NDIS Commissioner under the s29 form are considered ‘provisionally suitable’ as NDIS behaviour support practitioners until a practitioner suitability assessment is completed against the PBS Capability Framework. The ‘provisional suitability’ process is changing as the national implementation program for the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework starts in January 2021.

In the interim, the s29 form will continue to be available. The ‘provisionally suitable’ practitioners will be contacted by the NDIS Commission as to when they are required to complete the suitability assessment process.

Read more about the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework here.

Information for behaviour support practitioners and specialist behaviour support providers about how the practitioner suitability assessment will be implemented is available here.

Which restrictive practices are regulated and what providers are required to do

A restrictive practice means any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 certain restrictive practices are subject to regulation. A restrictive practice is a regulated restrictive practice if it is or involves seclusion, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint and environmental restraint. Read more about restrictive practices and provider obligations.

The Regulated Restrictive Practices Guide was developed for registered NDIS providers and NDIS behaviour support practitioners supporting NDIS participants. It may also be of interest to anyone who supports a person with disability. The guide supports a contemporary positive behaviour support framework.

The guide explains what a restrictive practice is, and sets out information on the five types of regulated restrictive practices. It also highlights possible impacts of, and important considerations for, the use of regulated restrictive practices. It will assist registered NDIS providers and NDIS behaviour practitioners to meet their obligations under the NDIS Act 2013 and relevant Rules.

The Regulated Restrictive Practices with Children and Young People with Disability: Practice Guide focuses on the use of regulated restrictive practices with NDIS participants aged under 18 years. It aims to promote the rights of children and young people with a disability, identify special considerations and relevant safeguards, highlight the obligations of NDIS providers and provide advice consistent with contemporary evidence and a positive behaviour support framework. The guide was developed for registered NDIS providers and NDIS behaviour support practitioners. It may also be of interest to participants, their families, and others supporting children and young people with disability. 

Compliance activities

Webinar: Unauthorised restrictive practices (16 July 2020)

This webinar provides information relating to a notice that was issued on 6 July 2020 by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner to registered providers in New South Wales and South Australia that have used one or more restrictive practices in the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. The notice requested information on the provider’s use of unauthorised restrictive practices in circumstances where the use is not in accordance with:

  • an authorisation and there is an authorisation process in relation to the use of the restrictive practice; and
  • a behaviour support plan for the NDIS participant.

Responses to questions asked by providers at the webinar, as well as others we have received about the use of restrictive practices, are contained in the document, 'Unauthorised use of restrictive practices: Questions and answers'.

For practitioners: how to lodge behaviour support plans

NDIS behaviour support practitioners develop written plans in a document, and upload them into the NDIS Commission Portal using the specialist behaviour support provider’s own template. NDIS behaviour support practitioners can also download and fill out the NDIS Commission templates:

Where State or Territories require a specific template to be used, this template can be uploaded to the NDIS Commission Portal.

Details about the participant and regulated restrictive practices are entered into the NDIS Commission Portal. A PRODA account is required to access the NDIS Commission Portal. For detailed information about the Portal, please see the NDIS Commission Portal User Guide for Behaviour Support.

For implementing providers: how to report on the use of regulated restrictive practices

Implementing providers will require a PRODA account to access the NDIS Commission Portal. Upon logging in for the first time, plans that have been lodged can be accepted. The next step is to submit monthly reports via the NDIS Commission Portal.

For detailed information about the Portal, please see the NDIS Commission Portal User Guide Monthly Reporting of Restrictive Practices.

For Practitioners: Behaviour Support in the NDIS Commission

For Providers: Behaviour Support in the NDIS Commission

Transitional Arrangements for Western Australia

Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 (Behaviour Support Rules), there are special arrangements for NDIS providers in Western Australia who transitioned to the jurisdiction of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) on 1 December 2020.

Under section 26 of the Behaviour Support Rules, registered NDIS providers in WA are exempt from having to comply with sections 9 to 15 of the Behaviour Support Rules if:

  • a behaviour support plan containing a regulated restrictive practice existed prior to 1 December 2020; AND
  • the regulated restrictive practice had been authorised in accordance with Western Australia’s authorisation process at the time of transition (being 1 December 2020); AND
  • the registered NDIS provider used the s26 form to notify the NDIS Commission of existing behaviour support plans, the regulated restrictive practice(s) contained within the plan and the plan expiry date, no later than 28 February 2021.

In these circumstances, the registered NDIS provider in WA, has no further reporting obligations under the Behaviour Support Rules in relation to these behaviour support plans or the regulated restrictive practices contained, until the earliest of the following events occur:

  • the existing behaviour support plan is reviewed for any reason (including being directed to review it by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner); OR
  • If the NDIS Commissioner gives written notice that the exemption from sections 9 to 15 no longer applies; OR
  • From 1 December 2021, being 12 months after the transition time.

Registered NDIS providers in WA who did not submit a s26 form to the NDIS Commission on or before 28 February 2021 are not eligible for the special arrangements as outlined in section 26 of the Behaviour Support Rules. They are required to comply with sections 9 to 15 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 now. For more information about the requirements see the Fact Sheet: Behaviour support and restrictive practices.

For further information about the authorisation process and requirements in WA contact ARP@communities.wa.gov.au

Transitional Arrangements for Residential aged care (RAC) providers

Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 (Behaviour Support Rules), there are special arrangements for RAC providers who transitioned to the jurisdiction of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) on 1 December 2020.

Transitioned RAC providers are exempt from having to comply with sections 9 to 15 of the Behaviour Support Rules for a period determined under section 30(2) of the Rules if on 1 December 2020:

  • They were using a regulated restrictive practice with an NDIS participant, AND
  • The use of the practice was not contained in a behaviour support plan, OR
  • They did not have an authorisation (however described) in relation to the use of the practice (whether or not there was an authorisation process for such practices in place at the time of transition (see section 30 of the Behaviour Support Rules).

The exemption only applies to transitioned RAC providers who submitted an s30 form to notify the NDIS Commissioner of the regulated restrictive practice used in relation to an NDIS participant, by no later than 1 January 2021. 

Section 30(4) of the Behaviour Support Rules also requires that transitioned RAC providers that do not have:

  • Authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice in relation to the participant (where there is an authorisation process in the State or Territory in which the supports or services are provided), must take all reasonable steps to obtain authorisation by 1 March 2021
  • A behaviour support plan for the participant, must take all reasonable steps to facilitate the development of an interim behaviour support plan by 1 March 2021, and a comprehensive behaviour support plan by 1 June 2021

View information about reasonable steps.

The exemption period for a RAC provider is from 1 December 2020 until the earliest of the following events occur:

  • 1 December 2021
  • If the RAC provider did not notify the NDIS Commissioner of the regulated restrictive practice used in relation to an NDIS participant by 1 January 2021
  • If the NDIS Commissioner gives a written notice to the RAC provider that the exemption from compliance with sections 9 to 15 no longer applies.

More information about the transitional arrangements is available on the RAC provider page.