If you’re already a NDIS Provider or thinking of becoming one, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest reforms in the sector. Read on the for the latest NDIS Updates for November, and stay tuned for our dedicated gateway set to launch at the end of this month.
The NDIA has announced a new ‘pathway’ for NDIS providers, to assist providers better understand and interact with the Scheme and its participants.
Key components of the new pathway for providers include:
- Clearer, more consistent and more accessible information;
- An improved NDIS portal and tools; and
- More straightforward processes to reduce administrative cost for providers.
The new pathway will be progressively piloted and tested over the coming months, before being rolled out nationally. The NDIA is also designing improved pathways for NDIS participants, including specific groups.
The NDIA’s Provider Toolkit has become a lot easier to navigate, with a new format, quick links to additional assistance and guidance provided along the way. In particular, there are some great new resources, including readiness and registration checklists, provided in the Key Resources section.
As of this month, price controls for Support Items relating to the provision of Short-Term Accommodation have been increased. Short-term accommodation is a service that assists NDIS participants with complex needs to manage their supports and continue living at home. Check out the updated 2017/18 Price Guide for NDIS Service Providers for the new limits.
Although the NDIS is a national program, a national approach to Quality and Safeguarding is still under development. But get ready – it’s nearly here.
Until the NDIS was introduced, state and territory governments were responsible for disability services. Over many years, each government has developed its own compliance framework, to ensure disability services delivered in its jurisdiction are safe and of a high quality (called Quality and Safeguarding).
Each state and territory’s Quality and Safeguarding arrangements are unique, and providers currently delivering specialist disability NDIS supports must comply with the specific requirements of the state – or states – they are operating in.
However, a National Quality and Safeguarding Framework is on its way – and soon. It is designed to ensure providers and their staff meet nationally consistent requirements regarding quality and safety, while ensuring NDIS participants have choice and control over the services delivered to them.
Key features of the National Framework include:
- A national NDIS Registrar, that will oversee all provider registrations and monitor compliance with all NDIS requirements;
- A nationally consistent NDIS Provider Registration process, overseen by the NDIS Registrar;
- A NDIS Code of Conduct that will apply to all providers and their employees, regardless of whether they are registered;
- A compulsory Orientation Module, which all providers and employees delivering NDIS supports must undertake;
- A requirement that all providers delivering high risk supports be Registered NDIS Providers and undergo quality assurance certification, which is a step away from the current system where Self Managed or Plan Managed participants can choose to receive these supports from unregistered, non-accredited providers;
- A national screening process for NDIS workers, drawing upon police checks and other sources such as evidence of workplace misconduct;
- Further limiting and regulating the use of restrictive practices, as well as introduction of a NDIS Senior Practitioner to oversee the use of restrictive practices; and
- A requirement for all Registered NDIS Providers to have established Complaints and Incident Management processes in place and introduction of a national NDIS Complaints Commissioner.
Like the NDIS itself, the Framework will be rolled out progressively, and will come into effect in each state and territory as they reach full scheme. New South Wales and South Australia will be the first to do so, from July 2018. All remaining states – other than WA – will reach full scheme in July 2019. WA is expected to be rolled out in full in July 2020.
A NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will be established in early 2018 to implement the National Quality and Safeguarding Framework. Further information can be found at the Department of Social Services’ website. Amergin is currently preparing for the transition to the National Framework, and we can help you do so as well.
Federal Budget Update: The Federal Government announced its 2017-18 Budget on Tuesday, 9 May. It encouragingly included a range of measures that will support continued growth and security within the disability sector.
Key measures include:
- A commitment to fully fund the NDIS, which up until now faced an expected funding shortfall at full rollout of around $3.8 billion. Filling this gap will be enabled by an increase in the Medicare Levy by 2.5%.
- $209 million to establish an independent NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to oversee the quality of Registered NDIS Providers and enforce the rights of participants. The Commission will be responsible for registering new NDIS Providers, responding to complaints and providing leadership to eliminate physical restraint practices. The Commission is part of a broader National Quality and Safeguarding Framework which will see registration requirements for NDIS Providers become consistent across states and territories as the Scheme rolls out.
- $33 million to ensure NDIS participants and older Australians requiring aged care services can access quality services in their local area. The Local Care Workforce Package will help service providers in the disability and aged care sectors grow their workforce to support the expected significant growth in demand in both areas.
While ultimately all measures need to be agreed by both sides of Parliament, this year’s Budget demonstrates a long-term commitment from the Government to fully implement the NDIS and support the service industry that will underpin it. It also provides new and existing disability service providers transitioning to the NDIS the confidence that the market to provide high quality, person-centred and innovative services is only set to grow.
Enjoy the Federal Budget recap and want to find out more?
Click Here to find out how you can become a NDIS provider. Amergin have a dedicated and knowledgeable team that can assist in navigating the NDIS registration process.