Understanding behaviour support and restrictive practices - for providers

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

Transitional arrangements under section 29 of NDIS (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 have now ended.

Any individual wishing to be considered suitable as an NDIS behaviour support practitioner can now apply in the Applications Portal and must be considered suitable before they can deliver behaviour support under the NDIS.

A fact sheet about the changes is available. On 7 July 2022, Jeffrey Chan, Senior Practitioner wrote to specialist behaviour support providers about the new application process.

NDIS behaviour support practitioners applying to be considered suitable 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 when completing practitioner suitability assessment and application process.

New applications will be prioritised as the s29 form and provisionally suitable outcome are no longer provided. Existing provisionally suitable behaviour support practitioners who have submitted their application remain provisionally suitable until they receive an outcome from their application. Read more about behaviour support practitioner suitability assessments.

Frequently asked questions

Our frequently asked questions page answers the most common questions 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.

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

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. 

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. 

Surveillance Technology Practice Guide

The Surveillance Technology Practice Guide aims to clarify what is considered ‘surveillance technology’ and assist in identifying circumstances where surveillance technology could be used as part of a regulated restrictive practice. The guide highlights the ethical, human rights, privacy and practice issues with the use of surveillance technology. It outline best practice considerations and safeguards when using surveillance technology with people with disability. This guide was developed for  registered NDIS providers including specialist behaviour support providers but may also be of interest to anyone who supports a person with disability.

Webinar: Update on the Practitioner Suitability Assessment Process

On 29.06.2022, the NDIS Commission hosted a webinar for behaviour support practitioners about how to apply to be assessed as suitable and to provide an update on the assessment process.

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'.

Practices proposed to be prohibited

The NDIS Commission has an important role in assisting the States and Territories to move towards nationally consistent minimum standards as set out in section 181H (f) of the NDIS Act (2013). The Practices proposed to be prohibited document outlines the practices that are either already prohibited or intend to be prohibited by all states and territories. These practices are associated with a high risk of adverse and catastrophic outcomes for NDIS participants. Under section 8, of the NDIS (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 registered NDIS providers must not use a restrictive practice in relation to a person with disability if the use is prohibited in the state or territory. The publication of an agreed list of prohibited practices will assist in promoting national consistency and improve the quality and safety of supports provided to NDIS participants.

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.

We have created a flow chart to help RAC providers to determine if the NDIS (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 apply.

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

Related resources

This Self-assessment Resource Guide complements the Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Capability Framework. Its broad purpose is to provide guidance to behaviour support practitioners (whether they are registered providers, or employed or otherwise engaged by registered providers) on how to assess their own capabilities against the PBS Capability Framework.

The Guide aims to:

  • build capability in the development of behaviour support
  • encourage progressively higher standards in behaviour support services provided to people with disability.

The Guide also provides a toolkit of resources that behaviour support practitioners can use to:

  • self-assess their capabilities against the PBS Capability Framework
  • develop a Portfolio of Evidence that may be used when applying to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner for a determination of their suitability to undertake activities that, under the NDIS Act, can only be undertaken by an NDIS behaviour support practitioner.

The NDIS Commission will contact behaviour support practitioners when they are required to undertake this process.

This guide explains what a restrictive practice is, and sets out information on the five types of regulated restrictive practices, being:

  • chemical restraint
  • environmental restraint
  • mechanical restraint
  • physical restraint
  • seclusion

It assists in identifying each regulated restrictive practice and provides practice advice consistent with a positive behaviour support framework  and contemporary evidence informed practice, intended to reduce and eliminate the use of restrictive practices. It also highlights the possible impacts and important consideration with the use of regulated restrictive practices and assists registered NDIS providers and NDIS behaviour support practitioners to meet their obligations under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act 2013) and relevant Rules.

An Easy Read version of the practice guide is also available.

This guide and the associated decision trees focus on the use of regulated restrictive practices (RRP) with children and young people aged under 18 years who are participants of the NDIS.

The resources aim to:

  • promote the rights of children and young people with a disability
  • identify special considerations and relevant safeguards
  • assist NDIS providers to meet their obligations under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and relevant Rules
  • provide practice advice consistent with contemporary evidence and a positive behaviour support framework
  • address the questions most frequently asked by families and NDIS providers.

An Easy Read version of the practice guide is also available.

The interactive decision trees present information contained in the Regulated restrictive practices with children and young people with disability: Practice guide in an alternate format.

This document responds to questions asked by providers about the use of restrictive practices. It includes questions asked by providers at a webinar held on 16 July 2020, in support of a notice issued by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner to some providers in NSW and SA.

This document outlines the practices that are either already prohibited or intend to be prohibited by all states and territories. These practices are associated with a high risk of adverse and catastrophic outcomes for NDIS participants.

This fact sheet outlines requirements for providers who use restrictive practices and providers who write behaviour support plans.

This fact sheet explains how implementing providers can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to facilitate the development of interim and comprehensive behaviour support plans related to the use of regulated restrictive practices.

The arrangements outlined in this flow chart apply to residential aged care providers who transitioned to the NDIS Commission from 1 December 2020.

New entry-level behaviour support practitioners applying to be considered suitable as an NDIS behaviour support practitioner may have limited portfolio evidence. This fact sheet provides guidance on how to complete the assessment process.  Ongoing professional development is required to ensure progression towards meeting all Core practitioner level capabilities. New entry-level behaviour support practitioners will have their suitability reconsidered 12 months later. The fact sheet includes a declaration to be completed and attached in the alterative assessment evidence tab in the applications portal.

Surveillance Technology Practice Guide