About own motion inquiries

What is an own motion inquiry?

The Commissioner can initiate an inquiry into a complaint or a reportable incident, or a series of complaints or reportable incidents, about supports or services delivered by NDIS providers. These are own motion inquiries.

An own motion inquiry can be about a particular complaint or reportable incident, where the inquiry might focus on what happened, why it happened, whether anyone is or should be held responsible for it happening, and whether any changes should be made to stop it happening again.

An own motion inquiry can also be about a series of complaints or reportable incidents, where the inquiry might focus on more systemic issues and identify areas for change to improve the quality and safety of supports for people with disability.

An own motion inquiry is different to a compliance-focused investigation that the NDIS Commission might undertake in response to a complaint or a reportable incident. These investigations focus on issues of compliance and enforcement, and they are conducted using particular powers under the NDIS Act and the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014. These investigations are not own motion inquiries.

More information about own motion inquiries is available in the Own Motion Inquiry Factsheet

When can the Commissioner authorise an own motion inquiry?

The Commissioner can authorise an own motion inquiry in relation to issues arising from:

  • A complaint, or a series of complaints, that have occurred in connection with the provision of supports or services by one or more NDIS providers, under section 29 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Complaints Management and Resolution) Rules 2018 (Complaints Rules); and
  • A reportable incident, or a series of reportable incidents, that have occurred in connection with the provision of supports or services by one or more NDIS providers, under section 27 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018 (Reportable Incidents Rules).

The Commissioner can authorise an inquiry in relation to complaints or reportable incidents even if they have not been received by NDIS Commission.

An own motion inquiry might be used to examine matters (complaints or reportable incidents) that raise systemic issues, whether at the individual provider level or at the NDIS market level or both. Systemic issues mean issues that affect many people, not only the person or people who made the complaint or who were affected by an incident.

What to expect from an own motion inquiry

When the Commissioner authorises an own motion inquiry, the Commissioner will determine the matters to be examined, and the specific objectives of the inquiry, also known as the terms of reference. NDIS providers that will be the subject of an inquiry may be given the opportunity to comment on the proposed terms of reference.

The scope of an own motion inquiry can vary from looking at a specific complaint or reportable incident involving one NDIS participant or one provider, to looking at a broad range of matters that affect many people with disability, or the practice of many providers.

The Commissioner may conduct an own motion inquiry using staff of the NDIS Commission, or the Commissioner may appoint a person external to the NDIS Commission to undertake the inquiry on behalf of the Commissioner. The Commissioner, or the person appointed by the Commissioner, will conduct the inquiry in accordance with the terms of reference determined by the Commissioner. The terms of reference will depend on the scope and purpose of the inquiry. An own motion inquiry could involve looking at documents and records only, or with the addition of interviews with or submissions from people directly involved in the matter.

At the end of an own motion inquiry, the Commissioner may prepare and publish a report setting out the Commissioner’s findings in relation to the inquiry.

List of own motion inquiries

The Inquiry will examine the experiences of participants living in supported accommodation through examining Reportable Incidents and Complaints that have occurred in connection with the supported accommodation services provided by a small number of NDIS providers that are large providers of supported accommodation.

Related resources

This factsheet provides information about own motion inquiries, when they can be initiated and what to expect from them.