Behaviour support (NDIS Providers)

Behaviour support is about creating individualised strategies for people with disability that are responsive to the person’s needs, in a way that reduces the occurrence and impact of behaviours of concern and minimises the use of restrictive practices.

The new arrangements for behaviour support under the NDIS Commission focus on person-centred interventions to address the underlying causes of behaviours of concern or challenging behaviours, while safeguarding the dignity and quality of life of people with disability who require specialist behaviour support. This approach includes undertaking a functional behavioural assessment, then developing an NDIS behaviour support plan containing evidence-based, proactive strategies that meet the specific needs of the participant.

Transition arrangements

There is significant change involved for providers to transition to the new behaviour support and restrictive practices arrangements. As the NDIS Commission begins operation progressively across Australia, transitional provisions give providers time to meet the new requirements.

What action do providers need to take?

The NDIS Commission is currently only operating in New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA). It will commence in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria from 1 July 2019, and in WA from 1 July 2020.

For providers in NSW and SA:

Information about implementing behaviour support is available to assist you in understanding how the new requirements for behaviour support apply to participants you are working with. This page includes details on how to lodge a behaviour support plan containing a regulated restrictive practice, as well as the process for implementing providers on reporting the use of restrictive practices.

How the NDIS Commission oversees behaviour support

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 behaviour support practitioners and implementing providers who use behaviour support strategies and restrictive practices
  • provide best-practice advice to practitioners, providers, participants, families, and carers
  • receive and review provider reports on the use of restrictive practices
  • follow up on reportable incidents that suggest there are unmet behaviour support needs.

The role implementing providers

An implementing provider is any NDIS service provider that uses a regulated restrictive practice in the course of delivering NDIS supports to a participant. For example, support workers restricting a participant’s free access to the community due to behaviours of concern are implementing a regulated restrictive practice.

Implementing providers use who regulated restrictive practices must report monthly on this use to the NDIS Commission.

The role of behaviour support practitioners

Under the NDIS Commission, a registered provider of specialist behaviour support services must use a behaviour support practitioner whom the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner considers suitable to undertake behaviour support assessments and develop behaviour support plans that may contain the use of restrictive practices. This requirement is stated in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 (Rules).

A transitional approach is in place to support providers and behaviour support practitioners to understand and implement these new arrangements. From 1 July 2018, the NDIS Commissioner may consider behaviour support practitioners as suitable for a period, pending assessment against the Behaviour Support Capability Framework (currently in development). To be considered suitable, the registered specialist behaviour support provider must provide details of their behaviour support practitioners to the NDIS Commission.

Development of the Behaviour Support Capability Framework

The development of a strengthened Behaviour Support Capability Framework is currently underway. The framework will focus on the knowledge and skills that underpin contemporary evidence-based practice and standards. The intention is for the framework to reflect the diversity and variation of the sector’s capability in delivering behaviour support.

Through the capability framework the NDIS Commission aims to raise the bar with a view to strengthen the safeguards for the person receiving behaviour support. In doing so, we are committed to supporting providers to achieve higher standards of behaviour support practice.

Assessment against the Behaviour Support Capability Framework will form the basis for determining suitability once the framework is implemented. As at March 2019 the NDIS Commission has considered 1243 behaviour support practitioners as provisionally suitable to deliver behaviour support in New South Wales and South Australia.

Please contact us for further information.

How do I submit the details of a behaviour support practitioner to the NDIS Commission?

Download and complete the following form to provide details of behaviour support practitioners to the NDIS Commission:

Once completed, send the form together with any relevant documents by email to the NDIS Commission.

Understanding restrictive practice

'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 Rules, certain restrictive practices are subject to regulation. These include seclusion, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint and environmental restraint.

In the past, restrictive practices were often a first response to behaviours that caused significant harm to the person or others. It is now recognised that restrictive practices can present serious human rights infringements.

In 2014, state and territory governments responded to this by endorsing the National Framework for Reducing and Eliminating the Use of Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector.

Under the NDIS Commission, registered providers who deliver behaviour support are required to comply with the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, which is underpinned by the same high-level guiding principles, including human rights and a person-centred approach as the national framework.

Within the new arrangements, the states and territories continue to be responsible for the legislative and/or policy arrangements for authorisation and consent to the use of a regulated restrictive practice.

What if an NDIS participant needs a restrictive practice to keep themselves and/or others safe?

Where an NDIS participant’s behaviours of concern place themselves or others at risk of harm, and a regulated restrictive practice is required, a behaviour support plan must be developed and lodged with the NDIS Commission.

An implementing provider who uses regulated restrictive practice needs to provide monthly reports to the NDIS Commission.

The Rules outline the requirements for registration and monitoring of restrictive practices used in behaviour support plans for NDIS participants.

Behaviour support plans

An NDIS behaviour support plan is a document developed for a person with disability by an NDIS behaviour support practitioner. It is developed in consultation with the participant, their family, carers, guardian, and other relevant people, as well as the service providers who will be implementing the plan.

A behaviour support plan specifies a range of evidence-based and person-centred, proactive strategies that focus on the individual needs of the participant. This includes positive behaviour support to:

  • build on the person’s strengths
  • increase their opportunities to participate in community activities, and
  • increase their life skills.

It also includes any regulated restrictive practices that may be required.

Using restrictive practices as part of a behaviour support plan

For plans that contain a regulated restrictive practice, the use of that practice must meet NDIS Commission conditions and may also require authorisation or consent under the relevant state or territory legislative and policy frameworks.

As a registered specialist behaviour support provider, you must ensure that:

  • a behaviour support practitioner completes a functional behaviour assessment and develops the behaviour support plan in consultation with the participant, their family, carers, guardian, and other relevant people, as well as the service providers who will be implementing the plan.
  • a statement of intent to include a restrictive practice in the behaviour support plan is given to the participant and their family, carers, guardian, and other relevant people in an accessible format
  • the behaviour support plan contains:
    • strategies that are outcomes focused, person-centred and proactive
    • strategies that address the participant’s individual needs and the functions of the behaviour of concern
    • strategies to reduce or eliminate the use of restrictive practices with the participant over time
  • you lodge the behaviour support plan with the NDIS Commission to enable monitoring of regulated restrictive practices.

All providers using restrictive practices when delivering NDIS supports need to meet conditions of registration. These include:

  • A restrictive practice can only be used when it is part of a behaviour support plan developed by a specialist behaviour support practitioner.
  • If a restrictive practice is used, it must, among other things:
    • be the least restrictive response possible in the circumstances
    • reduce the risk of harm to the person or others, and
    • be used for the shortest possible time to ensure the safety of the person or others.
  • Where required, the implementing provider must obtain authorisation for the use of a restrictive practice from the state or territory.
  • The implementing provider must comply with monthly reporting requirements.

Provider obligations

Specialist behaviour support providers have certain obligations to deliver behaviour support under the NDIS. These requirements apply regardless of whether regulated restrictive practices are included in a behaviour support plan. Implementing providers who use regulated restrictive practices also have additional obligations which are detailed below.

Specialist behaviour support providers must:

  • Be registered for behaviour support (NSW and SA only until 1 July 2019) with the NDIS Commission
  • Use behaviour support practitioners considered suitable by the NDIS Commission
  • Specify in the NDIS participant’s behaviour support plan that person-centred strategies must be applied first, with restrictive practices used as a last resort, in response to a risk of harm to the person or others, and in line with any state or territory authorisation and consent requirements
  • Lodge behaviour support plans that contain regulated restrictive practices with the NDIS Commission
  • Understand how NDIS policies and procedures support participants with behaviour support needs
  • Help your staff, NDIS participants, their families, and other decision-makers to understand the NDIS Commission’s behaviour support function

Implementing providers must:

  • Be registered with the NDIS Commission for the type of support they are providing
  • Submit monthly reports to the NDIS Commission on the use of restrictive practices. The NDIS Commission will notify you of your reporting requirements and procedures
  • Ensure staff are appropriately trained to implement positive behaviour strategies or use restrictive practices
  • Notify the NDIS Commission in the event of any unplanned or unapproved use of a restrictive practice through the reportable incident process
  • Understand how NDIS policies and procedures support participants with behaviour support needs
  • Help your staff, NDIS participants, their families, and other decision-makers to understand the NDIS Commission’s behaviour support function

How to lodge a behaviour support plan with the NDIS Commission

Note: This information is specific to providers operating in NSW and/or SA only. For other areas of Australia, see the start dates for information on when your state or territory will transition to the NDIS Commission.

To lodge a new behaviour support plan (developed after 1 July 2018) with the NDIS Commission, please download and complete the relevant form listed below:

Once you have completed the form and you have agreement from the implementing provider to follow the plan, you can email it directly to the NDIS Commission or submit it using FilePoint.

Next steps

When the NDIS Commission receives your lodgement, we will:

  • advise the implementing provider that the plan has been lodged
  • request the implementing provider provides details of consent and authorisation once obtained
  • provide the implementing provider with the monthly restrictive practices reporting form.

Privacy and data security

There are inherent risks associated with the transmission of information via email and over the Internet. If you have concerns about privacy and data security, the NDIS Commission can obtain and provide information using other methods, including mail, telephone and our secure file transfer system, FilePoint.

For advice on how to use FilePoint, please contact the NDIS Commission on 1800 035 544 during business hours. Outside of these hours, please email the NDIS Commission for information on how to lodge a form through FilePoint.

Once the NDIS Commission receives information from you via email or any other means, the information you have provided is stored in a secure environment. The NDIS Commission will not release personal information unless permitted by law or you grant us permission.