NDIS participants in residential aged care

Residential Aged Care providers supporting NDIS participants will be registered with the NDIS Commission from 1 December 2020

On 1 December 2020, residential aged care (RAC) providers delivering services to NDIS participants in their facilities automatically became registered NDIS providers. This means that as of 1 December 2020, RAC providers supporting NDIS participants are required to meet the obligations of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) and the NDIS (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018, in relation to the NDIS participants they support.

NDIS participants living in RAC are dual participants of the NDIS and aged care systems. The new regulatory approach affords NDIS participants coverage across all NDIS Commission functions, including reportable incidents and behaviour support. The approach is proportionate, recognising the existing regulation that RAC providers continue to be subject to under the Aged Care Act 1997.

RAC providers, like all NDIS providers, are required to comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct in supporting NDIS participants. From 1 December 2020, RAC providers who are registered with the NDIS Commission are also required to comply with relevant NDIS Practice Standards.

Transitional Arrangements for RAC Providers

The transitional arrangements that are now being implemented as residential aged care providers move to regulation by the NDIS Commission are set out in the National Disability Insurance Scheme Legislation Amendment (Transitioning Aged Care Providers) Rule 2020 (the Transition Rule). Transitional arrangements are in place for:

  • Registration of residential aged care providers as registered NDIS providers
  • NDIS Worker Screening; and
  • Positive Behaviour Support.

NDIS Provider Registration

RAC providers with NDIS participants at 1 December 2020 have been automatically registered as NDIS providers under the class of support (also known as registration group) 0115 - Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement.

RAC providers have been sent a certificate of registration from the NDIS Commission. The certificate of registration includes details of the registration, including the period for which the registration is in force and any conditions that apply to the registration.

Registration Renewal Requirements

RAC providers that have been automatically registered with the NDIS Commission are not required to immediately undertake the audit process against relevant NDIS Practice Standards that is required of new applicants for NDIS provider registration.

A phased approach is being taken to the date when each transitioned RAC provider is required to commence the NDIS registration renewal cycle, including undergoing a third party audit against the relevant NDIS Practice Standards. Transitioned RAC providers have been advised of their registration renewal date on the certificate of registration that they received from the NDIS Commission. Registration renewal allows an assessment of the suitability and capability of the RAC provider to maintain NDIS provider registration.

The arrangements for audit against the NDIS Practice Standards will take account of alignment with the Aged Care Quality Standards and minimise regulatory burden on providers, without reducing safeguards for NDIS participants.

Guidance material is under development to assist RAC providers to prepare for and undertake an NDIS audit.

NDIS Worker Screening

For the period from 1 December 2020 to 1 February 2021, registered RAC providers are required to ensure that workers (staff members and volunteers) in risk assessed roles have an acceptable aged care provider check ('aged care check') in accordance with the requirements of the Accountability Principles 2014. These requirements under Part 6 of the Accountability Principles 2014 include a police check and, if necessary, a statutory declaration stating that the person has not been convicted of certain offences. These aged care checks will be recognised for three years from the date the clearance is given.

From 1 December 2020, dual providers can satisfy their obligations under the Worker Screening Rules by ensuring that a worker engaging in a risk assessed role holds:

  • an acceptable aged care provider check; OR
  • an acceptable check in accordance with state and territory transitional arrangements; OR
  • an NDIS Worker Screening Check clearance (when it commences across Australia from 1 February 2021).

An acceptable aged care provider check will no longer be valid after three years having passed from the date the police certificate was issued (before 1 February 2021);

Compliance with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards – Worker Screening) Rules 2018 is a condition of registration for all registered NDIS providers under the NDIS Act 2013.

Behaviour Support in the NDIS

There are significant differences between the behaviour support requirements in aged care and those in the NDIS.

The transitional arrangements will help facilitate orderly processes for the NDIA to add funding for behaviour support to NDIS participant plans where required, for the development of positive behaviour support plans for participants, and to obtain state and territory authorisation for the use of regulated restrictive practices.

Transitioned providers will:

  • by 1 January 2021, have to notify the NDIS Commission regarding the use of a regulated restrictive practice for an NDIS participant (this does not replace the requirement of providers to report the use of an unauthorised restrictive practice as a reportable incident).
  • where no positive behaviour support plan exists for the NDIS participant:
    • by 1 March 2021, take all reasonable steps to obtain an interim behaviour support plan, and obtain authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice from state and territory bodies.
    • by 1 June 2021, take all reasonable steps to obtain a comprehensive behaviour support plan and obtain authorisation for the use of the regulated restrictive practice from state and territory bodies.

View information about reasonable steps.

Comprehensive positive behaviour support plans for NDIS participants who need one will need to be in place by 1 December 2021.

Any use of a regulated restrictive practice not authorised (however described, by the state/territory) and not in accordance with a behaviour support plan is an unauthorised restrictive practice and needs to be reported to the NDIS Commission as a reportable incident within 5 business days. More information is available on our incident management and reportable incidents webpage.

Notice of changes and events

It is a condition of your registration to notify us of certain changes and events, especially those that substantially affect your ability to provide the supports and services you are registered to provide.

More information about this requirement is available on our registered NDIS Provider notice of changes and events webpage.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA): Support and assistance for RAC providers

Under the Australian Government's Support for NDIS Providers grant program, the NDIS Commission has awarded a grant to Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA). ACSA will continue to assist RAC providers who support NDIS participants in meeting their provider registration responsibilities. More information can be found on the ACSA website.

Do you need further information or assistance?

If you wish to discuss your individual organisation's situation, please contact ACSA on 1800 860 640 or the NDIS Commission on 1800 035 544.