NDIS National Provider Forums - Quality and Safeguards Commission - Q&As
- Why is the NDIS Commission being set up?
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) will implement the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, which introduces a national approach to quality and safeguards in the NDIS.
The NDIS Commission will work to improve the quality and safety of NDIS services and supports, investigate and resolve problems, and strengthen the skills and knowledge of providers and participants across Australia.
The NDIS Commission will bring together various quality and safeguards functions into a single body for the first time, and will have a suite of education and regulatory powers that will apply across Australia. This will improve consistency in regulation and registration for providers in different states and territories, and give assurance to participants that the same standards of quality and safety will be expected wherever they receive their services.
- Is the NDIS Commission different to the NDIA?
Yes, the NDIS Commission is an independent Commonwealth body and is separate to the NDIA. The NDIS Commission will be responsible for the registration and regulation of NDIS providers across Australia, a function previously performed by the NDIA and states and territories.
When the NDIS Commission begins operations, the NDIA will continue to deliver the NDIS, providing individualised plans and support to people with disability, and coordinating service bookings, payments and access to plans for providers.
- What will the NDIS Commission do?
The NDIS Commission will:
- register and regulate NDIS providers and oversee provider quality
- monitor compliance with the new NDIS Practice Standards and NDIS Code of Conduct, which set out expectations for the quality and safety of services
- respond to concerns and complaints about NDIS services and supports
- advise providers on the need for an in-house complaints systems and how to support participants to make a complaint
- advise providers on the need to establish and maintain an incident reporting system and report serious incidents to the NDIS Commission
- monitor the use of restrictive practices and educate providers and participants about behaviour support strategies, with the aim of reducing and eliminating restrictive practices
- lead collaboration with states and territories to design and implement nationally consistent NDIS worker screening
- provide market oversight by monitoring changes in the market that need attention
- facilitate information sharing about quality and safeguards with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and other state, territory and Commonwealth regulatory bodies.
- When will the NDIS Commission begin in my state/territory?
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will start operating on:
- 1 July 2018 in New South Wales and South Australia
- 1 July 2019 in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria
- 1 July 2020 in Western Australia.
- I am currently a NDIS registered provider in NSW or SA, do I need to do anything?
Existing registered providers will have their information automatically transferred from the NDIA to the NDIS Commission. You do not need to do anything to have this happen. However, we encourage all providers to review your contact details and registration groups on the NDIA’s myplace provider portal to ensure the correct details are transferred. You should also review and update the staff members who have access to your organisation as these users will also be granted access to your organisation in the NDIS Commission portal once it is available after 1 July 2018.
If you have a pending registration application, you must finalise it before the date the NDIS Commission commences in your state or territory (from 1 July 2018 for South Australia and New South Wales) if you want it to be transferred to the NDIS Commission. Only approved registrations and registration groups will transfer to the NDIS Commission. Otherwise, you can submit a new application with the NDIS Commission after it commences.
- What happens if my registration application is pending?
If you have a pending application for registration as a provider in NSW or SA, or you are an existing provider applying to add new registration groups in these states, you should complete all registration requirements as soon as possible.
From 30 June 2018 the NDIA will no longer have the authority to approve applications for registration groups for NSW and SA providers.
Only completed registration groups applications that have been approved by the NDIA before 1 July 2018 will be transferred and recognised by the NDIS Commission. If your application is not completed or approved, you will need to begin a new registration application for those registration groups with the NDIS Commission.
- What does the NDIS Commission mean for new providers?
New providers wishing to become registered in NSW and SA can start a new application with the NDIS Commission from 1 July 2018.
New providers who start a registration process with the NDIA and do not complete it before 30 June 2018 will not have that application transferred to the NDIS Commission. New providers may wish to wait and apply with the NDIS Commission from 1 July 2018 to avoid any unnecessary duplication or effort.
- What does the NDIS Commission mean for providers who also operate in other states?
Your current registrations with the NDIA will automatically transfer to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission when it begins operations in each state or territory. This will happen progressively, from 1 July 2018 in New South Wales and South Australia, 1 July 2019 for all states except Western Australia, and 1 July 2020 for Western Australia. Until these dates, you will need to continue to meet the existing state and territory quality and safeguards requirements in each jursidiction.
For providers who operate in multiple states and territories, this may mean you will hold some registrations with the NDIA and some with the NDIS Commission. When the NDIS Commission is operational in all states, its single registration and regulatory system will reduce this duplication and inconsistency and provide a nationally consistent approach to quality and safeguards in NDIS services.
- How will registration requirements under the NDIS Commission differ to the NDIA?
When it is operational in all states and territories, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will provide a single, national registration and regulatory system for providers that will reduce duplication and inconsistency.
It will introduce several changes to registration requirements for NDIS providers to achieve national consistency and promote a high level of quality and safety in the expanding NDIS market.
Under the NDIS Commission registered providers will need to:
- comply with new conditions of registration and the NDIS Practice Standards
- complete a self-assessment against the NDIS Practice Standards
- complete an audit against the NDIS Practice Standards by a certified auditing body approved by the NDIS Commission
- comply with the new NDIS Code of Conduct and support their workers to meet the Code of Conduct
- ensure all workers are screened through a new national worker screening process
- have an in-house complaints management and resolution system and support participants to make a complaint
- establish and maintain an in-house incident reporting system and report serious incidents to the NDIS Commission
- (if relevant) meet new behaviour support requirements, including reporting restrictive practices to the NDIS Commission.
The NDIS Commission will provide information and guidance to support registered providers to meet their requirements. It will monitor registered providers for compliance with the conditions of registration and will have the power to suspend, vary or revoke registration.
The full details on quality and safeguards requirements under the NDIS Commission can be found in the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Rules, which are available on the NDIS Commission website at Legislation, rules and policies.
- Under the new NDIS Commission registration process, what is the difference between higher/more complex and lower risk/less complex providers?
The registration process will involve an audit against the modules of the NDIS Practice Standards that apply to your registration group or groups.
Registration groups consisting of less complex supports will have a streamlined registration process, while those with more complex supports will have a more comprehensive registration process to ensure quality services and supports are provided to NDIS participants.
The risk and complexity associated with the type of support provided determines the requirements the provider must meet.
This will either be a ‘verification’ or ‘certification’ quality audit. The NDIS Commission will advise you on which type of audit you will need to complete as part of the application process.
This is based on the registration groups you are registered for and what legal type of organisation you are (e.g. registered company).
Verification audits will be a lighter touch desktop audit. Certification audits will be a more detailed process. Both types of audit will be proportionate to the size and scale of your organisation and the supports you deliver.
The auditing process demonstrates your capability to meet the relevant parts of the NDIS Practice Standards which outline expectations relating to quality of support delivery, participant rights, management of organisational and operational risk, continuous improvement of services, legal obligations and workforce competencies.
Additional standards will apply to providers of more complex supports like behaviour support, early childhood supports, specialist support coordination and specialist disability accommodation.
- How will I know whether I need to be certified or verified?
The NDIS Commission will tell you which type of audit – certification or verification – you will need to complete when you apply for registration or are due for registration renewal. This is based on the registration groups you are registered for, and what legal type of organisation you are (e.g. registered company).
Full details about registration groups, including what is a less complex support requiring verification and what is a more complex support requiring certification, are available in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018, available on the NDIS Commission website at Legislation, rules and policies
- What will the cost of audits be for smaller providers under the NDIS Commission?
From 1 July 2018, all providers registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will be required to comply with the NDIS Practice Standards.
Providers will need to be audited against the NDIS Practice Standards to apply for or renew registration with the NDIS Commission. Audits are intended to be proportionate to the size and scale of the organisation, as well as the risk and complexity of the supports and services delivered.
Certification audit costs are dependent on the size of the organisation. For example, a large provider’s audit will include a longer on-site audit period to cover a sample of all services.
Similarly, verification audit costs will vary depending on the number of registration groups for which the provider is seeking to register.
As both verification and certification audits require a desktop review of documentary evidence, the accuracy and completeness of the application will ensure an efficient and cost effective audit process.
- What will the timeframe be for providers being certified?
After 1 July 2018, registered providers will need to meet the new registration requirements by renewing your registration with the NDIS Commission. The NDIS Commission will advise registered providers when and how you need to start renewal of your registration.
Once your details are transferred to the NDIS Commission you will be given a new registration expiry date. You will then need to start the registration renewal process before the expiry date to continue providing NDIS supports and services. Your registration expiry date will be determined by factors including the complexity of the supports and services you are currently registered for, the legal status of your organisation, your previous audit outcomes, and other matters as determined by the NDIS Commission.
Some providers may have recently completed a quality audit under existing quality and safeguards requirements. The NDIS Commission will also consider this in determining your registration expiry date. The NDIS Commission will send out information on the registration renewal process closer to 1 July 2018.
- How long will the NDIS Commission’s registration process take?
The length of the registration process will depend on the size and scale of your organisation, as well as the complexity and range of the supports and services you deliver.
- What will the NDIS Quality and Safeguards requirements be for unregistered providers?
The NDIS Code of Conduct will apply to all NDIS providers, including unregistered providers, and to all people employed or otherwise engaged by NDIS providers.
Unregistered providers will also be expected to be able to manage complaints. Information and guidance about effective complaints handling arrangements will be made available for all NDIS providers when the NDIS Commission begins operation.
The NDIS Commission will have a range of regulatory responses that can be applied to unregistered providers, including requiring them to be registered, or banning them from providing services in the NDIS market.