The EFQC Enquirer: 15 April 2024

 

In this edition

  • NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024
  • NDIS Emergency and Disaster Management Obligations for Providers

NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024

On 27 March 2024 NDIS Minister Bill Shorten introduced a bill to parliament aimed at implementing priority recommendations from the NDIS Review.

This Bill is seen as the first stage of the ongoing NDIS reforms, with priority focused on access, plans and budget settings, and quality and safety.

The Bill reforms are based on four guiding principles:

  • Improving the NDIS Experience: create a better and streamlined experience for NDIS participants.
  • Realigning with original intent: The NDIS will be refocused on supporting people with significant and permanent disabilities, aligning with its initial purpose.
  • Promoting equality: Efforts will be made to create more equality within the Scheme.
  • Ensuring sustainability: The government recognises that the NDIS cannot continue growing at its current rate and aims to ensure its long-term sustainability.

A few of the more specific changes in the NDIS Act include:

  • enabling better early intervention pathways for people living with psychosocial disability and children under 9 years old, meaning the NDIS would work differently for different groups of people, based on their needs
  • improving how NDIS participant budgets are set and provide clearer information on how they can be spent
  • strengthening the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to deal with illegal and unethical conduct.

Most of these reforms will not take effect until the NDIS Rules made in collaboration with states and territories are updated. The NDIS Rules sit under the NDIS Act and provide the detail about how the NDIS operates.

Following the introduction of the Bill, the Government will engage in a co-design and consultation process with the disability community to design, make and update NDIS Rules. Department of Social Services (DSS) will be announcing more information about the co-design approach, including specific opportunities to engage in the coming weeks.


NDIS Emergency and Disaster Management Obligations for Providers

Every provider within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) must be ready to manage unforeseen events that may disrupt their services and impact support delivery to participants.

Whether registered or unregistered, all NDIS providers are bound by the NDIS Code of Conduct, which includes provisions for appropriate planning related to emergency and disaster situations.

Registered providers have additional responsibilities to prepare, prevent, manage, and respond effectively to emergency and disaster scenarios. Their actions must mitigate risks and ensure the continuity of critical supports that contribute to the health, safety, and well-being of NDIS participants.

The NDIS Commission’s Emergency Management Provider Alert serves as a valuable resource, offering guidance on emergency preparedness. It also provides links to state and territory government alerts and assistance.

Key elements that providers need to consider when developing their emergency and disaster management plans include:

  • developing personal emergency plans to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of participants in the case of an emergency or disaster.
  • consulting with people with disability in developing their emergency preparation plans is key to ensuring plans account for a person’s individual needs 
  • regularly testing, reviewing and rehearsing NDIS plans
  • ensure effective communication of the plans to participants, their support networks in an accessible format for people with disability
  • ensuring the continuity of supports that are critical to the health, safety and wellbeing of participants in an emergency or disaster.

We encourage all providers to read the NDIS Commission’s Emergency Management Provider Alert and ensure you are implementing those elements into your own emergency and disaster systems.

If you need support in the areas of emergency and disaster management, please contact us on 1300 790 194 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFQC Enquirer: 19 March 2024

 

In this edition

  • NDIS Link “For the Better” Conference in Adelaide
  • Key Points Arising from the Commission’s Latest NDIS Quarterly Report

NDIS Link “For the Better” Conference in Adelaide on 8th March 2024

The EFQC Enquirer: 19 March 2024 1 The EFQC Enquirer: 19 March 2024 3 The EFQC Enquirer: 19 March 2024 5 The EFQC Enquirer: 19 March 2024 7

Engles Floyd Quality Consulting was excited to participate in the NDIS Link “For the Better” Conference in Adelaide on Friday, March 8th, 2024. Our team delivered insightful presentations covering various topics, highlighting the depth of knowledge and expertise within our organisation.

Sharon Floyd, our Director at Engels Floyd Quality Consulting, provided a thought-provoking analysis of the upcoming NDIS reforms and their implications, particularly around the proposed registration changes.

Our exceptional Technical Manager, Patty Wassenaar, shared practical insights on how providers can effectively balance quality and regulatory compliance in their day-to-day NDIS operations.

Amy Ambagtsheer, our associate and Behavior Support Practitioner, offered an impassioned overview of implementing behavior support requirements for NDIS providers.

The day was marked by enthusiastic engagement and networking among NDIS providers eager to comprehend the evolving NDIS landscape and proactively manage forthcoming changes.

For those who haven’t already, we strongly encourage all NDIS providers to begin planning for the potential impact of recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review on their organisations.

If your organisation is interested in proactively managing the impact of these reforms, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1300 790 194 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Key Points Arising from the Commission’s Latest NDIS Quarterly Report

The NDIS Commission has released its latest quarterly performance report for September to December 2023.

There was some positive improvements with the participant social and community engagement rate for those aged 15+ years increasing from 35% at baseline to 41%. Participation in work has also more than doubled from 10% to 22% for participants aged 15 to 24 years in that period.

In regard to NDIS providers the number of active providers at the end of December 2023 was 20,691, having grown by 2% in the quarter. The number of plan managers in the Scheme also continues to grow as more participants choose to utilise them, in the last two years with payments managed by a plan manager increasing from 44% to 56%.  Of those payments 55% was paid to registered providers and 44% were paid to unregistered providers and 1% were paid to providers with unknown registration.

The participant complaint rate increased to 6.0% in the December 2023 quarter of which 3.7% of the complaints were received from providers over the quarter.  There was also

an increase of 1.5% in the number of Participant Critical Incidents with the largest contributor being abuse or neglect of a person with disability, followed by reports of self harm.

This highights the importance of NDIS providers having a robust complaints and incident management.

Our Incident Response and Investigation for NDIS Providers Workshop mentioned above will give you the knowledge to deal with incidents effectively.Register Here

If you are in need of support in the areas of complaints and incident management or compliance generally, please contact us on 1300 790 194 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFQC Enquirer: 20 February 2024

 

In this edition

  • NDIS REVIEW: NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce
  • NDIS Link “For the Better” Conference in Adelaide

NDIS Review: NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce

Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten, has announced a new Taskforce to help improve NDIS registration.  The NDIS Review recommended a risk-proportionate and graduated approach to regulation, which includes registration and enrolment for all NDIS providers.

The new Taskforce will be led by lawyer and disability advocate Natalie Wade, former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Allan Fels, former Australian Council of Trade Unions Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick, and former Administrator of the Northern Territory Vicki O’Halloran.

The Taskforce will look at ways to ensure all providers meet a minimum regulatory standard, especially those delivering more intensive supports, while minimising the administrative impacts associated with the enrolment and registration process. The Taskforce will also ensure that participants continue to exercise choice and control, which is balanced with quality and safety.

We look forward to reading the report from the Taskforce which is due in mid-2024.


NDIS Link “For the Better” Conference – Adelaide

Join us at the upcoming NDIS Link “For the Better” Conference in Adelaide on 8th March 2024, where our very own Sharon Floyd, Director at Engels Floyd, Patty Wassenaar, Technical Manager, and Amy Ambagtsheer, Associate, will be sharing valuable insights.

Our presentations will cover the following key topics:

  • The impacts of evolving legislative requirements for providers, including unregistered providers.
  • Strategies for effectively balancing quality and regulatory compliance in day-to-day NDIS practices.
  • Exploring behavior support requirements for NDIS Providers, with a focus on the ongoing compliance priorities set by the NDIS Commission. We extend a warm invitation to all our subscribers who are eager to stay informed about the latest developments in the NDIS sector. Register now and join us for an enlightening session.

 

 


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 19 January 2024

 

In this edition

  • Upcoming Training in 2024
  • NDIS Commission Emergency and Disaster Practice Alert
  • New Disability Services and Inclusion Act
  • Benefits of outsourcing internal audits
  • Benefits of undertaking compliance health check and/or preparatory audit

 


Upcoming Training in 2024

We have a range of training offerings for the new year that will provide NDIS providers with essential information to meet your NDIS requirements and assist you to provide quality supports to your NDIS participants.

Risk Management for NDIS Providers

This workshop will provide you with a working knowledge of Risk Assessment that allows you to develop and apply risk tools in your role as an NDIS provider.  As part of the workshop, you will be provided with a learner’s workbook and workshop scenarios to provide practical experience in implementing risk management strategies.

Workshop Details
Date: February 2nd, 2024
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm AEDT

Register Here

Abuse and Violence: ‘It Starts With You’ Workshop

We are very excited to be offering our newest workshop Abuse and Violence: ‘It Starts With You’, an empowering session that will provide you with the essential information about violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination of people with disability, and importantly how to prevent these from happening, a key priority of the NDIS Commission.

The workshop will cover:

  • The key recommendations of the recent Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS Review.
  • Relevant legislation at the Commonwealth and State levels, including NDIS requirements.
  • What is violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination?
  • Best practice processes to have in place.

Workshop Details

Date: February 2nd, 2024
Time: 1:30pm – 4:30pm AEDT

Register Here

Introduction to Internal Audits

 This interactive 2 hour training will provide learners with the essential information about planning and conducting internal audits delivered by our Technical Manager, Patty Wassenaar who has decades of auditing experience. Remember – internal audits are mandatory for NDIS providers!

Workshop Details
Date: February 23rd, 2024
Time: 9:30am – 11:30am AEDT

Register Here

NDIS Business and Strategic Planning

 Delivered by our NDIS Business Planning expert Brendon Grail, this course will provide you with the practical and essential information and tools you need to develop and review NDIS business and strategic plans that work well for your business.

Workshop Details
Date: February 23rd, 2024
Time: 1:00pm– 4:00pm AEDT

Register Here

You have your NDIS policies and procedures, now what?

 This workshop will help new providers understand how to set up the correct systems and processes to implement their NDIS policies and procedures effectively.

Workshop Details
Date: Thursday 7th March 2024
Time: 10:00am– 12:00pm AEDT

Register Here

NDIS Restrictive practices – what should implementing providers know?

 This workshop will provide guidance on your obligations when you support NDIS participants subject to a Restrictive Practice.

Workshop Details
Date: Friday 15th March 2024
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm AEDT

Register Here

Getting Ready for your NDIS Audit

 Our upcoming workshop “Getting ready for your NDIS audit?” is specially crafted to provide NDIS providers with the fundamental insights to confidently prepare for your next NDIS audit.

The workshop will be presented by Patty Wassenaar, our Technical Manager, who is one of Australia’s leading NDIS auditors.

Workshop Details
Date: Friday 22nd March 2024
Time: 9:30am – 11:30am AEDT

Register Here

Incident Response and Investigation for NDIS Providers

 This workshop will guide you through the requirements for NDIS Providers relevant to reportable incident response and management, and best practice in  incident investigations, including defensible documentation.

Workshop Details
Date: Friday 5th April 2024
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm AEDT

Register Here


NDIS Commission Emergency and Disaster Practice Alert

All NDIS providers (registered or unregistered) must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct, which includes putting plans in place for emergency and disaster situations to ensure continuity of supports to NDIS participants.

Registered providers also have additional obligations when meeting the NDIS practice standards in this area.  To assist all providers the NDIS Commission in November 2023 released an Emergency Management Provider Alert. This Alert provides information on how providers can properly prepare for emergencies and disasters and meet their compliance obligations.  The Alert covers:

  • Emergency preparedness information and resources for participants and providers including emergency management plans
  • Provider obligations related to emergency management
  • Links to state and territory government alerts and assistance.

If you require assistance ensuring you are meeting your emergency and disaster compliance requirements please call us on 1300 790 194 or email info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


New Disability and Services Inclusion Act

The Disability Services and Inclusion Act 2023 (the DSI Act) commenced on 1 January 2024 and replaced the Disability Services Act 1986.

The new DSI Act allows the Commonwealth to fund disability supports and strengthens quality and safeguard arrangements for people with disability outside the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This Act does not apply to NDIS providers, but does apply to disability services such as advocacy and disability employment services.

There are significant changes in the new DSI Act that all disability services covered by the Act need to be aware of including:

  • expansion of eligible disability supports and services
  • a mandatory new code of conduct (based on the NDIS Code of Conduct)
  • reference to international obligations towards people with disability
  • the new requirement to have an appropriate complaints and incident management system. These requirements mirror those for NDIS providers.

Further information on the DSI Act can be found here.

We anticipate that some disability services may need support to meet these new requirements, and we are happy to provide guidance if required.


 Benefits of outsourcing internal audits

Internal audits are a mandatory requirement of the NDIS Practice Standards (and most other standards too). 

As well as being ‘mandatory’ Internal audits are an important part of managing risks for your organisation, identifying whether you are meeting requirements, following your own policies/procedures, meeting participant/client requirements appropriately and highlighting areas of risk and opportunities for improvement.

Managing your own internal audits can be challenging including:

  • Having the time to do internal audits
  • Having appropriately skilled and trained auditors
  • Internal auditors keeping up to date with changing legislation and requirements
  • Potential conflicts of interest
  • Internal auditing staff do not want to raise ‘issues’, particularly where audits cover areas of governance and management.

A number of organisations outsource their internal audits which enables them to be focused on provision of services and supports.  The benefits of outsourcing include:

  • Enabling trained and experienced auditors to review your systems (so you don’t have the cost of training internal personnel in auditing, standards and keeping up to date with requirements)
  • Engaging auditors who have an in-depth knowledge of Standards and requirements. They can review compliance as well as share best practices and can advise staff whilst auditing.
  • Completely independent of your organisation so can be objective in their role
  • When auditors audit ‘most of time as their profession’ they keep up to date with changes to Standards, legislation and are aware of the ‘gaps’ that often occur in systems.
  • Can help manage risks by identifying gaps, potential gaps, causes and areas for improvement – it is much better for internal audits to find gaps rather than during your formal audits, customer complaints or Commission enquiries.
  • Ultimately, there is a cost saving – from a time and staff training perspective.

Engels Floyd Quality Consultants have experienced and qualified auditors who can assist with managing and conducting your internal audits to assist in meeting your compliance obligations as well as manage organisational risks.   

We can conduct your audits in a way that is easy, efficient, cost effective and customised to meet your business needs.


 Benefits of undertaking compliance health check and/or preparatory audits

 As part of organisational Governance responsibilities, it is important that you’re aware of your current compliance status.

The NDIS Practice Standards include a range of Governance and Compliance responsibilities, and it is important that you have systems to keep up to date with changes, as well as ensuring you are meeting these requirements, not just for external audits but at an organisational level.

Key requirements include:

  • The NDIS Code of Conduct, which has recently been updated
  • NDIS Rules such as Worker Screening, Complaints, Incidents and Behaviour supports
  • Input from people with disability at a Governance Level
  • Ensuring a structure to meet financial, legislative, regulatory and contractual obligations
  • Ensuring skills and knowledge of the Governing body are identified, with training to address gaps
  • Governance responsibilities relating to areas such as risk management and emergency and disaster management.

A preparatory audit or training session with Executive Management and/or Board personnel can help to review your awareness of these obligations and identify potential gaps and organisational risks.

Preparatory audits can also help you meet your ‘internal audit’ requirements which also form part of the Standards.

Engels Floyd have experienced personnel with NDIS audit experience, who can assist you with assessing your compliance obligations as well as manage organisational risks.

Let us provide you with Governance Training or a Preparatory Audit to review your compliance requirements. We can do this at a fraction of the cost of an in-house resource. We will help you to embed and systematise quality and compliance, help manage risk, plus help you meet compliance requirements.

A testimonial from a valued client

“We engaged F & E for a preparatory audit, as it was felt based on previous engagements that their expertise and knowledge was exactly what we needed to prepare for our external recertification audit. The experience was in line with expectations and the reports were professional and insightful. Thank you again for your assistance”. Sue Horsnell HCO CEO

 


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 20 December 2023

 

In this edition

  • Christmas Greeting
  • NDIS Review
  • NDIS Code of Conduct Change
  • Key Points Arising from the Commission’s Latest NDIS Quarterly Report

Christmas Greeting

As the year draws to an end, we want to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to all our clients. We extend our heartfelt thanks for your unwavering trust and support throughout the year.  We value the ongoing partnerships we have with our clients and your continued confidence in our services has been the cornerstone of our success.

We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to continuing our journey together in the upcoming year.


NDIS Review

 The NDIS review much anticipated final report is now released.

The report makes 26 recommendations with 139 actions to improve the system that supports people with disability.

A key theme of the review is to ensure the NDIS is seen as one part of the whole system of foundational and mainstream supports for people with disability and not the major source of support.

A key recommendation that NDIS providers should be aware of is the changes to the NDIS registration and regulation process.  A graduated and risk proportionate based approach will take place where all providers including currently unregistered providers will be subject to some type of registration or enrolment.  This will range from:

  • advanced registration for high risk supports
  • general registration for medium risk supports
  • basic registration for low risk supports
  • enrolment for the lowest risk supports.

All NDIS providers will be subject to the Code of Conduct, Worker Screening and complaints process, with compliance obligations increasing with each level of registration.

If you would like to speak to us about how you can prepare for these changes,  please contact us on 1300 790 194 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


NDIS Code of Conduct Change

 On 18 December 2023, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Code of Conduct) Rules 2018 were amended to specify that NDIS providers, their workers and members of their key personnel must not charge a price for the supply of the same or substantially the same goods for NDIS participants which is higher than the price for those who are not NDIS participants without genuine, reasonable and objectively sufficient justification.

The changes also specify that members of the key personnel of NDIS providers must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct and held to the same standard as NDIS providers and workers.

The NDIS Commission has provided some resources for NDIS Providers and participants to guide you in the area of price differentiation and the recent updates to the Code of Conduct here.


Key Points Arising from the Commission’s Latest NDIS Quarterly Report

The NDIS Commission has released its latest quarterly performance report for July to September 2023.

Key points of interest include:

  • A 25% increase in complaints over the previous quarter, with the highest category of complaints (33%) on provider practice.
  • 6% of complaints centered on alleged abuse and neglect.
  • A 27% increase in complaints closed by the NDIS Commission within 90 business days of receipt.
  • More than 71% of complaints were reported by a person with disability or their support person.
  • A 27% increase in individuals excluded from working with people with disability in a risk assessed role.
  • 1% of the total NDIS participant population were associated with regulated restrictive practice notifications, equating to 13,494 NDIS participants.

We are running an Abuse and Violence: ‘It Starts with You’ workshop that will provide you with the essential information about violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination of people with disability, and importantly how to prevent these from happening, a key priority of the NDIS Commission.  Registration details are here.

If you are in need of support in the areas of complaints and incident management or compliance please contact us on 1300 790 194 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 21 November 2023

 

In this edition

  • City of Charles Sturt NDIS Networking Event
  • NDIS Commission action to revoke NDIS registrations

City of Charles Sturt NDIS Networking Event

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We were excited to be asked by the City of Charles Sturt to co-present at their recent NDIS Networking Event on the 16th November 2023 and talk about the upcoming NDIS reforms.  Our Director, Sharon Floyd spoke about the recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission which are likely to impact on provider compliance obligations. We were honoured to be presenting alongside some amazing NDIS experts – Dr Guy Turnbull (Managing Director, VIVA Mutual Foundation) and Brendon Grail (Director Grail Group Consulting and Engels Floyd Quality Consulting Associate) who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion. 

The proactive engagement of enthusiastic NDIS providers reflects a collective readiness to navigate the potential changes arising from the NDIS reforms. Anticipating and preparing for these changes is crucial for organisations to stay ahead and ensure they can effectively adapt to any new regulations or standards that may emerge.

If you have not already, we urge all NDIS providers to start thinking and planning for the recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review may impact your organisation.  

It is expected that that findings of the NDIS review will be released in December 2023. We will keep you posted on the key outcomes of the NDIS Review and how they will impact NDIS providers.


NDIS Commission action to revoke NDIS registrations

We understand the NDIS Commission is being proactive in chasing up NDIS providers who are not meeting their registration requirements, including those providers who are overdue in their NDIS audits. These providers have been sent letters revoking their NDIS registration status. Remember that you as a provider are responsible for monitoring your audit and registration dates – it isn’t the responsibility of your audit body, so please stay on top of this!

The NDIS Commission have the power to revoke the registration of a person as a registered NDIS provider under Section 73P of the NDIS Act 2013. 

Factors that the NDIS Commission will consider under section 73P(2) include:

  • the nature, significance and persistence of any contravention, or proposed contravention, of the NDIS Act
  • action that can be taken to address any contravention, or proposed contravention, of the NDIS Act
  • the extent (if any) to which the person is conducting its affairs as a registered NDIS provider in a way that may cause harm to, or jeopardise, public trust in the NDIS;
  • the health, safety or wellbeing of people with disability receiving supports or services from the person
  • any other matter the Commissioner considers relevant.

On receipt of the letter the NDIS Commission allows providers 28 days to make a submission on the matter before final revocation of your registration.

If you have any NDIS registration queries or you have received a letter like this and would like some advice, please let us know and we will arrange a complimentary consultation.  We can be contacted on 1300 790 194 or info@engelsfloyd.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 24 October 2023

 

In this edition

  • Revealing our new brand!
  • Upcoming Training
  • Findings of platform providers Inquiry
  • NDIS Explore Tool updated
  • Updated Code of Conduct

Revealing our new brand!

The EFA Enquirer: 24 October 2023 23

We have some exciting changes happening at EFA, we are relaunching our brand with a new name “Engels Floyd Quality Consulting” and a website refresh which is coming soon. 

Don’t worry, our team will still be delivering quality tailored support to NDIS providers in a way that best meets their needs as we have been doing since 2012. Our core mission and dedication to ethical and individualised client service will always remain the same.


Upcoming Training

We’re thrilled to announce our upcoming interactive online training workshop, presented by our incredible Technical Manager, Patty Wassenaar who has decades of auditing experience.

If you’re looking to stay ahead in the NDIS landscape, this workshop is tailor-made for you! Our upcoming workshop, Introduction to Internal Audits, will provide you with the essential information about planning and conducting internal audits.

This workshop will cover:

  • Developing / managing audit program
  • Audit planning
  • Conducting the audit
  • Reporting and corrective actions

You will also be provided with a workbook and mini toolkit providing some useful tools and information to help you with your internal audit program including templates such as audit schedules.

Introduction to Internal Audits!
10 November 2023 – 9am – 12:00pm AEDT
Register Here


Findings of platform providers Inquiry

The launch of the Own Motion Inquiry into Platform Providers in the NDIS Market in the NDIS Market by the NDIS Commission in February 2023 was a significant step in gaining a comprehensive understanding of how Platform Providers function in the NDIS market and their impact on participants. The findings reported in September 2023 offer valuable insights.

The key takeaways from the Report are as follows:

  • Choice and Control: The report confirms that Platform Providers play a crucial role in offering people with disabilities greater choice and control when it comes to selecting and engaging support services. This aligns with the core principles of the NDIS.
  • Transparency and Informed Decision-Making: However, the report also highlights the need for increased transparency. Participants should have access to clear information about the role of Platform Providers and the actual cost of services they engage through these platforms. This information is essential for making informed decisions about their support.
  • Consistency and Safety: There’s a call for greater consistency in background checks and safety standards for individuals delivering services. Ensuring that service providers understand their responsibilities in delivering safe, quality support to people with disabilities is critical.
  • Regulation: The report suggests the importance of a regulated environment to maintain quality and safety in the delivery of services.

The findings and recommendations in the report will see the NDIS Commission progress the following priorities:

  • undertake work to better support participants to make informed decisions as consumers of Platform Provider services
  • establish a consistent and best practice approach to safeguarding across all Platform Provider services
  • seek to increase transparency around Platform Provider activities, starting with pricing
  • regulate more directly the workforce of NDIS providers which the Platform Provider market has created
  • address the privacy concerns identified.

NDIS Explore Tool updated

Explore Data is an interactive tool to help NDIS providers find information about participant type, reporting periods, location or support class and category.

The data is grouped into three sections: Participant Data, Market Data and Provider Data.

  • Participant Data: is about NDIS participants, including total number of participants, average committed supports and average payments.
  • Market Data: is about the NDIS market, including information on provider concentration, total payments, total committed supports, and utilisation.
  • Provider Data: is about providers, including information on active providers, participants per provider, provider growth and provider shrinkage.

The NDIS Commission have updated the data from quarter four of financial year 2022-23 in their Explore Tool.

We encourage NDIS providers to explore this invaluable tool in conducting market research to inform strategic and business planning. 

At EFA we have an NDIS business planning and marketing expert that is available to help you with business and market planning. If you are interested please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Updated Code of Conduct

The NDIS Code of Conduct promotes safe and ethical service delivery by setting out expectations for the conduct of both NDIS providers and workers.

The NDIS Commission has provided an updated Code of Conduct guidance document focused on cracking down on sharp practices such as price differentiation, where a provider charges NDIS participants a higher price for the same product, support or service compared with other customers.

There is also updated guidance for NDIS providers in conducting when advertising their business for sale and engaging in sale negotiations.

We encourage all NDIS providers to read the NDIS Code of Conduct guidance document and become aware of its contents. If you are in need of NDIS provider support in the areas of  quality management, compliance or business planning  please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 18 September 2023

 

In this edition

  • Welcome Hannah Odorcic to the EFA team!
  • Dangers of purchasing ‘off the shelf’ NDIS policies and procedures
  • Key Points Arising from the Commission’s Latest NDIS Quarterly Report
  • Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) Changes

Welcome Hannah Odorcic to the EFA team

We are delighted to announce that Hannah Odorcic has joined our team as the new Marketing Manager at EFA. With her extensive background in brand design, strategy, content creation, and marketing, as well as her remarkable creativity and enthusiasm, we are confident that she will make a significant contribution to EFA.

Hannah’s previous experience working closely with NDIS providers is a valuable asset that will enhance her work here at EFA. Her insights and expertise in this area will undoubtedly benefit our team and the services we provide.

We are all looking forward to some exciting changes and developments on our digital platforms in the near future, thanks to Hannah’s leadership and innovative ideas. Her presence on the team promises to bring fresh perspectives and drive us toward new heights.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Hannah. We are thrilled to have her on board and are excited about the bright future ahead for EFA.


Dangers of purchasing ‘off the shelf’ NDIS policies and procedures

It is essential for NDIS providers to have quality policies and procedures in place to ensure you are meeting the NDIS quality requirements.

Whether you’re starting out and need policies and procedures or want to improve your system documentation purchasing ‘pre-prepared’ documents can be a convenient starting point, however there are potential pitfalls to be aware of.

For example, standardised off-the-shelf products may not always align perfectly with your business, and if they include processes and forms you do not implement, this can lead to staff not using your system and audit non-conformances. 

Good system documentation should follow your business processes and reflect the supports provide.  You should be CONFIDENT in using your system, update documents as your processes change, and staff should use these as a first port of call if they have questions (rather than asking the manager or quality and safeguarding staff). 

Your documentation should evolve as your processes change, ensuring it remains an accurate reflection of your operations and your staff should feel confident using the system documentation as a resource.

The goal should always be continuous improvement. Regularly reviewing and updating your documentation and processes is crucial to staying compliant and efficient.

A good consultant will work with you to make sure the system is truly yours as well as being compliant with the quality requirements set by the NDIS Commission.

At EFA we provides options to produce tailored documentation including policies and procedures, participant handbooks, internal audit plans and easy read English documents. We can also assist with self assessments/internal audits and work with you on system improvements.   If you would like to speak to us on how we can assist you in these areas, please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Key Points Arising from the Commission’s Latest NDIS Quarterly Report

On 17 August 2023, the NDIS Commission released their latest NDIS Quarterly report  which provides an overview of the performance and operations of the NDIA for the three months from 1 April 2023 to 30 June 2023.

This information provides valuable insights for NDIS providers to better understand the trends and changes in the NDIS landscape.

Some key takeaways from the report include:

  • Participant Growth: The NDIS continues to see growth in the number of participants, with a 4% increase in approved plans, reaching 610,502 participants by the end of June 2023.
  • Increased SIL Support: There has been an unexpected increase in participants accessing Supported Independent Living (SIL) support since June 2022.
  • SDA Support Growth: The number of active participants with Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) supports has increased by 16% annually over the last three years, reaching 23,092 by June 2023.
  • Community and Social Participation: There has been a significant increase in participants aged over 15 years reporting increased participation in community and social activities, as well as increased participation in work for the 15 to 24 age group.
  • Provider usage trends:
    • In the last 12 months, unregistered providers were used less frequently and had a higher proportion of one-off payments where they are used only once. There was a three times lower one-off payment frequency for registered providers compared to unregistered providers.
    • Plan managed participants used unregistered providers predominantly (92%), compared to registered providers. However, the total payments made to registered providers (57%) was greater than unregistered (43%).
  • Complaints: Complaints as a proportion of active participants have seen a slight increase over recent quarters, emphasising the importance of effective complaint management for providers.
  • Plan Management Choices: Continuing the trend from previous quarters, more participants are choosing to use a plan manager instead of having the Agency manage their plan, indicating a preference for greater control and flexibility.
  • Participant Critical Incidents (PCI): The report now includes separate data on participant critical incidents (PCI), reflecting allegations of harm to participants. There has been an increase in PCI reports, potentially due to increased awareness of financial abuse in the community.

If you are in need of NDIS provider support in the areas of  quality management, compliance or business planning  please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) Changes

The Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) provides financial help to people with disability and mental health conditions and employers to buy workplace assistance and support services.

These include work-related modifications, including making adjustments to your physical workspace, purchasing equipment, Auslan interpreting services and disability awareness training.

Recent changes to the Employment Assistant Fund (EAF) will enable more employers to access new funding to make workplaces safer and more accessible.

Under the changes, the annual funding cap for work-related Auslan interpreting services will double from $6000 to $12,000.

The building modifications cap will also double from $30,000 to $60,000 to help fund lifts, wheelchair accessible toilets, access ramps and automatic doors to remove workplace barriers.

The Federal Government will also scrap the requirement for funding applications to be made ahead of time for Auslan interpreters to be at job interviews and other activity including site visits, tests and information sessions. Instead, businesses can submit an application up to five business days post-interview.

For organisations that employ people with disability or are considering hiring people with disability, we recommended exploring the EAF program further to understand how these changes can benefit your workplace and employees.

Accessible and inclusive workplaces not only support the well-being of employees with disabilities but also contribute to a more diverse and skilled workforce.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 15 August 2023

 

In this edition

  • Upcoming Training
  • Evidence Centred Approaches to Service Delivery
  • NDIS New Regulatory Tool – Enforceable Actions
  • Interim and Comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan Checklists
  • NDIS Review Interim Report – What we have heard report

Upcoming Training 

We’re thrilled to announce our upcoming interactive online training workshops, presented by our incredible Technical Manager, Patty Wassenaar. 

If you’re looking to stay ahead in the NDIS landscape, these workshops are tailor-made for you!  Each workshop will dive deep into NDIS-related topics, offering practical knowledge and strategies to help you thrive in your role. Some of these are almost booked out, so be quick!

Take a look below to see what we have on offer! 

1. NDIS Incident Management Essentials
24 August 2023 – 10am – 12pm AEST
Register Here

2. Understanding NDIS Registration Groups
24 August 2023 – 1pm – 3pm AEST
Register Here


Evidence Matters – Evidence Centred Approaches to Service Delivery

Evidence centered approaches to service delivery use a framework that focuses on the use of empirical evidence and data insights to inform decision making to improve the design, implementation, and evaluation of service delivery. 

The NDIS Commission have produced a collection of resources called Evidence Matters that aims to promote the use of evidence-informed practices to support NDIS providers to achieve compliance with their obligations under the NDIS legislation.

Presently the Evidence Matters collection includes the following resources:

  • An Evidence-Informed Practice Guide which provides guidance on ways to ensure practice is evidence-informed.
  • Organisational Approaches to Reducing Restrictive Practice
  • Developing Quality Behaviour Support Plans literature summary that identifies aspects of quality behaviour support plans developments
  • Medications for behaviours of concern for people with Autism

Overall, evidence-centered approaches, as shown by the NDIS Commission’s Evidence Matters collection, are essential for ensuring that service delivery is based on reliable data and insights, leading to better outcomes for participants and greater accountability for service providers.

We encourage all NDIS providers to have a look at the evidence matters resources as they are valuable tools for NDIS providers to enhance their practices and ensure compliance with NDIS legislation.


NDIS New Regulatory Tool – Enforceable Actions

The NDIS Commission have recently announced the first use of a new regulatory tool against an NDIS provider called an Enforceable Action. An Enforceable Action is a legally binding agreement between the Commission and the provider that outlines specific actions the provider commits to undertake to rectify issues of non-compliance with the law.

This approach is seen as an alternative to heavier compliance actions, such as court proceedings or banning orders and can be used in circumstances when providers are committed and willing to work with the Commission to address compliance issues and ensure the ongoing delivery of safe and quality services for NDIS participants.

The use of the Enforceable Action as a regulatory tool showcases a collaborative and preventative approach to addressing non-compliance issues, while also encouraging providers to proactively address and rectify such issues themselves.

In a commitment to transparency and accountability, details of compliance and enforceable actions against individuals and providers are published on the NDIS Commission’s website.

We encourage all NDIS providers to have an understanding of the NDIS Commission’s Regulatory Approach targeted at ensuring the quality and safety of services delivered to NDIS participants.

We are the go-to consultant NDIS providers approach when they are experiencing compliance issues, and also for providers who wish to be proactive in this space. We are proud of our integrity and technical expertise. You can trust us to be your compliance partner. If you are in need of support in the areas of  quality management or compliance please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary confidential consultation.


Interim and Comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan Checklists

The NDIS Commission as released two new Comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan Checklists Comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan Checklists  that outline good practice and the conditions of registration that apply to specialist behaviour support providers when developing behaviour support plans.

Although the resources are optional, we encourage NDIS providers to review the quality of their behaviour support plans against these checklists.


NDIS Review Interim Report – What we have heard report

On 30 June 2023 the NDIS Commission issued an Interim Report on the ongoing review of the NDIS providing a summary of the key issues that have been identified in the review.

The Report raises 10 important issues that the community has identified:

  1. The planning process is difficult and stressful for participants.
  2. Support for people with disability is not planned, funded or governed as a whole ecosystem.
  3. Many people do not understand what reasonable and necessary means leading to complexity, confusion, conflict and inconsistency.
  4. Children and their families do not get the support they need to reach their goals and be part of the community.
  5. NDIS markets are not working, and many participants cannot find services they need.
  6. Better measurement of outcomes and performance would help participants make informed choices, keep providers and government accountable, and make sure the scheme is sustainable.
  7. There is a lack of focus on achieving long term outcomes relating to participation, inclusion in communities and employment.
  8. The roles of different support people are confusing. For example, plan managers and support coordinators.
  9. Lack of innovation in housing and living supports with many participants not having much choice about where or how they live.
  10. Improvements to systems are required to increase safeguards for all participants, while making sure they can still have choice and control.

The report has distilled these issues into five key challenges that will be considered in the review.  These include:

  • Why is the NDIS seen as the only means of support for people with disability (oasis in the desert)?
  • What does reasonable and necessary mean?
  • Why are there many more children in the NDIS than expected?
  • Why aren’t NDIS markets working?
  • How do we ensure the NDIS is sustainable?

We encourage NDIS providers to contribute to this very important process by submitting your views and potential solution on the issues identified.  This can be done by filling out an Online Survey by 25 August 2023.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

The EFA Enquirer: 14 July 2023

 

In this edition

  • Upcoming Training
  • Revised High Intensity Support Skills Descriptor Frequently Asked Questions
  • What do NDIS providers need to know about Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology?

Upcoming Training 

We are very excited to announce that we are running some brand new short course online training sessions via Zoom. Take a look below to see what we have on offer! 

1. Getting NDIS Mid-Term Audit Ready
4 August 2023 – 10:00am – 12:00pm AEST
Register Here

2. NDIS Incident Management Essentials
24 August 2023 – 10am – 12pm AEST
Register Here

3. Understanding NDIS Registration Groups
24 August 2023 – 1pm – 3pm AEST
Register Here


Revised High Intensity Support Skills Descriptor Frequently Asked Questions

The NDIS Commission recently updated the high intensity support skills descriptors (HISSD) which came into effect from 1 February 2023.  These updates were made to align the descriptors with contemporary practice, expert advice, and a participant-focused approach.

High Intensity Supports are complex supports required by NDIS participants in order to manage their daily lives.

The high intensity support skills descriptors (skills descriptors) serve as supplementary guidance for NDIS providers and workers who support participants with high intensity daily personal activities (HIDPA). They outline the specific skills and knowledge that NDIS providers should ensure their workers possess when delivering supports to participants who rely on HIDPA.

In June 2023, the NDIS Commission released Frequently Asked Questions to guide NDIS providers in the implementation of the skills descriptors.

It is important for registered NDIS providers, particularly those registered for Module 1 HIDPA, to familiarise themselves with the revised skills descriptors and understand the compliance requirements. Some key points for providers to consider include:

  • Registered NDIS providers must ensure that their workers meet the expectations outlined in the relevant skills descriptors.
  • NDIS providers should conduct annual reviews to ensure that their workers possess the current skills and knowledge described in the skills descriptors.
  • If a worker has not delivered support for a period exceeding three months or if a participant’s support needs have changed, it is recommended that the worker be reassessed and, if necessary, undergo refresher training.

To assist NDIS providers in assessing their workers’ skills and knowledge against the skills descriptors, EFA has developed a High Intensity Support Skills Descriptors Staff Audit. This audit provides a self-assessment checklist for each skill and knowledge area required for the respective individual descriptors. The completion of this audit should help identify areas where workers may require further training to ensure compliance with the NDIS requirements.

If you are interested in purchasing this staff audit or have any questions regarding your obligations in relation to high intensity skills descriptors please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


What do NDIS providers need to know about Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to significantly impact the disability sector by improving accessibility, enhancing assistive technologies, and promoting inclusivity.

NDIS providers need to be knowledgeable about how AI is being used in their organisation and how it could impact the ways they deliver services in the future.

AI technologies offer significant benefits to the disability sector. They can boost workplace effectiveness and efficiency, enabling NDIS providers to deliver better services to their clients. AI-powered assistive technologies have the capacity to enhance accessibility, empowering individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers and participate more fully in society.

Although AI technologies can be valuable in the workplace, responsible and ethical use of AI must be prioritised, in accordance with government approaches and organisational policies.

Presently in Australia, the Commonwealth Government and the NDIS Commission have released Artificial Intelligence (AI) Guiding Principles that provide a framework for the responsible and ethical use of AI, ensuring that AI systems prioritise human wellbeing, fairness, transparency, and accountability while promoting positive outcomes for individuals and society as a whole.

NDIS providers need to proactively consider the ethical framework within which they will employ AI in their organisation. This framework should align with the organisation’s values, respect privacy, promote fairness, avoid bias, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements.

Your policies and procedures should be updated to include risk management considerations associated with AI technologies to minimise negative outcomes and ensure responsible AI use.  They also need to ensure they are complying with relevant legislation including data protection, intellectual property, and privacy requirements.

NDIS providers should also provide guidance and training to their staff on responsible AI usage. It is crucial that employees understand their obligations and the potential risks associated with AI.

If you have any questions on how to properly ensure you have addressed AI in your documentation we can help.  Please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.


Passionate experts in quality improvement for disability & human services. Supporting all States and Territories.

Request a free, no obligation 20 min consultation with one of our experts!