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NDIS – a tough gig for welfare worker providers

ACWA Inc - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What the new NDIS National Quality and Safeguarding Framework has in store

By Bruce Nixon, CEO Holocentric, CEO Centro ASSIST

The status of the NDIS as a major driver of jobs growth in Australia places an extra responsibility on registered service providers who offer welfare work.

Depending on the services they’ll be delivering, all providers and their employees must comply with extensive policies and procedures under the National Quality and Safeguarding Framework (QSF) or the state standards.

Having rolled out on 1 July in NSW and South Australia initially, the QSF will be coming to every other state and territory in a phased process over the next two years. This requires anyone employed in the delivery of an NDIS-funded service to demonstrate sufficiently high standards of professional competency, care skills and good character.

According to the QSF, the desired outcome is that: ‘Each participant’s support needs are met by workers who are competent in relation to their role, hold relevant qualifications, and who have relevant expertise and experience to provide person-centred support.’

Employers shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that they and their employees meet these standards, which are a condition of registration to the NDIS as a service provider. This is especially tricky for welfare workers due to the many and varied disability services they provide – and the NDIS’ system of assessment according to registration group.

Registration Groups

NDIS registration and compliance processes are structured using Registration Groups, which relate to a services’ potential risk to participants.

Services associated with greater levels of risk (e.g. restrictive practices) require higher standards of regulation than lower-risk items (e.g. social skills development).

The 656 listed ‘Support Items’ (services funded by the NDIS) are clustered by type into 15 ‘Support Categories’. The Support Categories are aggregated into Outcome Domains.

Some providers, who offer services in different Support Categories, will need to register in multiple Registration Groups. They will need to meet the policy and process requirements of each one.

Welfare workers - among the 26 identifiable professions offering their services through the NDIS - face the biggest burden in this regard.

Welfare workers’ registration burden

The full range of services offered by welfare workers encompasses 10 Registrations Groups – more than any other profession in the NDIS.

The Registration Groups that apply to welfare workers’ services (definitions available on the Centro FREE website for NDIS service providers) are:

Accommodation/Tenancy - Assistance provided to guide, support and prompt participants, or to undertake on a participant's behalf, activities to ensure they obtain or retain appropriate accommodation.

Assist Life Stage, Transition - Includes short and long-term supports that focus on strengthening the participant’s ability to coordinate their supports.

Assist Access/Maintain Employ - Assistance to enable a participant to obtain and/or retain employment.

Assist Personal Activities - Assisting with, and/or supervising, personal tasks of daily life.

Daily Tasks/Shared Living - Focus on developing the skills of each individual to live as autonomously as possible. Includes short-term accommodation and assistance (e.g. respite care).

Development Life Skills - Training and development activities to live as autonomously as possible, including supports that will enhance the ability of the participant to travel and use public transport independently.

Group/Centre Activities - Assisting participation in group based community, social and recreational activities.

Participate Community - Assisting participants to participate actively in community, social and civic activities.

Personal Activities High - Assisting with and/or supervising personal tasks of daily life to enable the participant to live as autonomously as possible.

Specialised Supported Employment - Assistance in specialised supported employment/ADE.

Service providers operating in one or more of these registration groups need to ensure that they meet the requirements for each one.

Getting help

To register and stay compliant with the NDIS can be a tough and complicated process - even to register in only one registration group.

Welfare workers need to pay particular attention to the way in which employees and contractors are screened and on-boarded.

The QSF requires that records and documents relating to pre-employment checks, qualifications and experience must be maintained. Additionally, providers must have policies and procedures for how employees are supervised, briefed and supported in their duties. These include – but are not limited to – processes such as induction, conduct, orientation, training, performance feedback and any disciplinary action.

A full guide to the registration and compliance, as well as a full suite of ready-made, NDIS-compliant policy and process documents is available through Centro ASSIST.

Centro ASSIST is a web app that enables services providers to register and stay compliant with the NDIS.
You can stay up-to-date with NDIS and QSF changes with Centro Alerts by email.
Bruce Nixon is the CEO of Holocentric, the providers of Centro ASSIST for NDIS service providers.


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