The EFA Enquirer: 5 August 2022

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • EFA’s Insights into the NDIS Activity Report
  • NDIS Participant Plan Variations
  • Upcoming EFA Training

EFA’s Insights into the NDIS Activity Report

The NDIS Commission has just uploaded its Activity Report for the January to March 2022 quarter.

EFA has some insights which we would like to share with you.

Complaints (page 9)

A total of 1,897 complaints were received by the Commission during the reporting period. The majority of complaints received were from people with disability themselves, most of which related to provider practice and worker conduct or capability.

EFA insights:

An effective complaints management system that can be easily followed is imperative. Such a system needs a process to systematically and continually seek participant feedback. Although optimally we would desire to have no complaints, in a dynamic, ever evolving human services organisation the lack of complaints is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it could mean there is something wrong with the process and there’s a lack of trust and open communication. 

If you feel it would be beneficial for yourself or some of your staff to explore the effectiveness of your complaints management system further, EFA is holding a workshop on August 19th on NDIS Feedback and Complaints Management Essentials.

Registered Providers (page 12)

There are now a whopping 19,015 registered providers nationally in Australia. This is almost a 4% increase from the previous quarter. The majority of which are classified as organisations (11,727) i.e. companies, Trusts, etc. The remaining 7,288 are individuals.

EFA insights:

This is an interesting side step as data in the NDIS quarterly reports has indicated previously there was more of a 50:50 split between organisations and individuals. What is encouraging is the overall growth in the number of registered providers since the previous quarter. The significant number of providers who did not seek to maintain their registration in that quarter (totalling 242) may highlight the importance and benefit of providers having effective strategic, business and marketing plans to promote sustainability and viability. Partnering with good reputable NDIS mentors can make a big difference to staying afloat and thriving.

Audit Activity (page 13)

Unsurprisingly, of certification audit activities the ‘Core Module’ is the highest percentage of modules completed. Of the supplementary ‘high risk’ modules, Module 2a; Implementing Behaviour Support Plans has the highest rate of completion.

Unauthorised Restrictive Practices (page 15)

There was a slight downward trend in the number of unauthorised uses of restrictive practices. (In the last quarter 329,328.) Of those, the majority of regulated restrictive practices used were chemical restraints.

EFA insights:

Providers implementing behaviour support plans must meet not only Module 2a requirements, as well as associated NDIS (Restrictive Practice and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018. These are complex requirements and providers must ensure their workers are appropriately supported and trained to support implementation of behaviour support plans, and to understand what are appropriate uses of regulated restrictive practices.    

On November 17th EFA is conducting a workshop on NDIS Restrictive Practices & Behaviour Support for Implementing Providers which delves into this subject in detail. The workshop is facilitated by a very experienced clinician so you are in good hands!

Behaviour Support (page 17)

The Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Capability Framework, which is used to consider the suitability of behaviour support practitioners to deliver behaviour support services is now being implemented at a more rapid pace. The last quarter there were over four times the number of practitioners that are considered provisionally suitable than there were the previous quarter. Behaviour Support Practitioners firstly self-assess against this framework to determine their appropriateness. Thereafter, they are considered provisionally suitable until their applications are reviewed by the NDIS Commission.

The report also discusses a new Restrictive Practice Guide to Safe Transportation. Whilst promoting the rights and inherent dignity of people with disability, the guide assists in identifying the safe use of regulated restrictive practice during transportation.   

EFA insights:

The   Restrictive Practice Guide to Safe Transportation is a great tool for providers to self educate on how regulated restrictive practices can be used during transportation to ensure safety for the person, the driver, and any other persons travelling in a vehicle.

We will explain more regarding the PBS Capability Framework and regulated restrictive practices in our NDIS Restrictive Practices & Behaviour Support for Implementing Providers on November 17th.

Reportable Incidents (page 14)

In the last quarter there were 4,188 reportable incidents. What is especially frightening you may agree, is that basically 50% of those incidents relate to alleged abuse and neglect (2,058 incidents actually).

EFA insights:

The development and ongoing review of the effectiveness of a providers’ policies and procedures to prevent abuse and neglect, as well as policies and procedures to deal with allegations thereof is a matter that all providers need to take seriously. These processes need to cover off on the requirements of the NDIS (Incident management and reportable incident) Rules 2018.

Our upcoming Incident Management workshop on October 14th on NDIS Incident Management Essentials is definitely worthwhile considering!

Compliance Activity (page 18)

Are you wondering what types of steps the NDIS Commission undertakes as part of its own compliance activities? This can happen at any time and checks may be random. The report explains through a useful case study how improvements were made after compliance measures were undertaken with a particular provider.

EFA insights:

Compliance is not just around audit activities. The NDIS Commission can instigate compliance activities to assess a range of provider obligations impacting on quality and safeguarding of NDIS participants. The case study in the report illustrates the need for effective incident management. Internal auditscan be a great way of keeping abreast of the effectiveness of systems and any potential systemic issues that may arise before they become too ingrained.

Remember, EFA is facilitating an NDIS Incident Management Essentials workshop on October 14th which could benefit your business, plus we are also running our popular Internal Audit training on 11 November 2022. 


NDIS Participant Plan Variations

There has been some amendments to the NDIS Act concerning the variation of participant plans and timing. Now in certain circumstances, when participants and/or their authorised representatives ask for a change to their NDIS plan, the Agency will be able to do this without having to replace the current plan with a new one. Accordingly, this will be called a plan variation.

Effectively, these variations will help participants access new supports quickly without having to go through a full plan reassessment. 

Other changes to the NDIS Act that started on 1st July include:

  • Recognising the importance of carers and family in the principles of the NDIS Act.
  • Adding lived experience of disability as a consideration for membership of the NDIS Board.
  • Clarifying that episodic and fluctuating impairments can be considered permanent when determining eligibility to the Scheme, including for people with psychosocial disability.
  • Putting risk assessments in place for participants who want to use a
    plan manager to purchase supports from unregistered providers.

Attached is the actual amendment and a link to the announcement and explanation on the NDIS Commission site. 2022 NDIS legislation amendments – July update | NDIS.


Upcoming EFA Training

19 August 2022 – NDIS Feedback and Complaints Management Essentials

Our three (3) hour workshop via Zoom is presented by an experienced NDIS auditor, is interactive, and will provide you with some practical tips and strategies you can use immediately. Remember Complaints management training for workers is also mandatory! Book a spot here!

 

14 October 2022  – NDIS Incident Management Essentials

Managing incidents effectively is an essential part of providing quality and safe supports for NDIS participants. This interactive workshop will include: benefits of effective incident management and managing incidents to comply with the relevant NDIS Practice Standards and NDIS Incident Management Rules and reporting. Book your spot!

 

11 November 2022 – Internal Audit Training (One Day)

Internal Audits are a mandatory requirement for NDIS providers under the NDIS Practice Standards.

This internal audit training will give you a sound basis and the tools to move forward with your own audits. EFA are auditing and quality specialists. Book here!

 

17 November 2022 – NDIS Restrictive Practices & Behaviour Support for Implementing Providers

Seeking guidance about obligations of NDIS providers that support participants subject to a Restrictive Practice? We can demystify behaviour support and restrictive practices and share that information with you in a way that makes sense for you and your NDIS service. Book a spot!


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 30 June 2022

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Kathy Gronthos – Connected & Down to Earth
  • EFA, Awarded NDIS Auditor Training for 5th Year
  • Upcoming EFA Training
  • Hosanna Compliments EFA
  • Dedicated NDIS Minister Announced

Kathy Gronthos – Connected & Down to Earth

The EFA Enquirer: 30 June 2022 1

A relative new team member to Engels Floyd & Associates is Kathy Gronthos. Kathy has taken on Rachael’s role as Client Engagement Administration Manager so she may be the one who responds to your inquiry or answers your phone call.

Kathy has had extensive experience working as a senior administrator in the health, disability and carer space in the Commonwealth and State Government.  She has worked on national disability policy and carer agreements, government funding initiatives and policy strategies. 

Speaking with Kathy this week she is obviously thrilled at her move to EFA and, with Kathy’s skills and wide ranging experiences, we are equally thrilled to have her join our team.

So who is Kathy?

What do you love about your work?

Kathy: I love the variety. No day is the same. The work is varied, interesting and fast paced. It is quality work where I feel like I am making a difference for people with disability. The day flies and you don’t even notice the time. 

My team at EFA are lovely, very supportive and every day I am learning new things. The team are all so knowledgeable and very wise. There is a lot of wisdom and years of experience at EFA and it really shows.

The more I spoke with Kathy the more this quote I had heard rang true: “We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other.” Kathy appears to be the actualisation of that phrase.

What are the highlights of your life to date?

Kathy: My three children. They are really good kids, with good hearts and amazing personalities.  They make my life very interesting and there is never a dull day in our house. You could say they keep me young and on my toes.

(Kids can be great role models for helping our own inner child and imaginations to flourish.)

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Kathy: Family orientated – I come from a large extended Greek family with a lot of cousins. Everyone is very supportive and we are all there for each other through good and bad times. It’s true!

Down to earth – I am a very grounded and practical person.  I respect truthfulness and being treated respectfully. What you see is what you get.

Honest – I do my best to live my life honestly and ethically. It is those principles which I was taught growing up in my family and try to teach my children.

(This is the sort of person you want on your team isn’t it! We certainly do. Honesty and grounded, practicality are ideal. Although it wasn’t raised, I did get the feeling that Kathy holds a high standard of integrity as a key attribute also.)  

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Kathy: I was brought up around the principle of the Golden Rule. To treat others in the same way you would like to be treated in terms of respect, kindness, generosity, and love. A great foundation and my parents were good role models in the Golden Rule. I do not think you can go wrong in life if you try to base your life on that rule.

(The Golden Rule was new to me although many of us probably know it by another term or by the act itself. The most familiar version of the Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Also known as the Ethic of Reciprocity. Something all of us could benefit from practicing.)

What is the most courageous thing you have done?

Kathy: Recently, becoming an amateur beekeeper. I always had an interest and then out of the blue the opportunity to have some hives in my backyard presented itself. So I said, “Why not!”  An 80 year old Greek beekeeper brought the hives over and taught me how to take care of them. He taught me in Greek which was a challenge at times because my Greek is not the best but we got by. It was pretty daunting and scary at the beginning and sometimes still is, but I am learning every day the beauty of bees and how important they are to the environment. All that yummy raw honey I get to enjoy and gift to others is a fantastic bonus. 

Leaving the security of the Commonwealth Public Services for family reasons was a big decision at the time. However, it led me to spend more time with my kids when they were young by allowing me to be a full time Mum for a few years and opened up new opportunities for me. After which I moved into working for private organisations which was an eye opener and eventually this led me to work here with EFA.

(Now that was unexpected! Beekeeping. Did you know there are 20,000 different species of bees on our planet?  And of those only eleven can make honey. Beekeeping definitely takes a bit of courage and tenacity too I bet.)

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Kathy: Being successful at not being eaten alive by the bees although I have had quite a few stings, which isn’t nice. Showing my kids that you can learn something new and totally left field and take yourself out of your comfort zone. I still haven’t convinced them to help me yet. I think the bites on my face when I swelled up like a balloon have scared them off.

Also successfully turning a hobby, making concrete and eco resin homewares, into an online small business and having to set up the whole infrastructure myself. I learned so much about social marketing, taking photos for artwork, social media, setting up a new website, and all the associated stuff that is part and parcel with setting up a new small business.

(I’m sure seeing your mother’s face swollen into welts from bee stings would scare off most kids. LOL)

What could you not live without?

Kathy: My children, my big Greek family, my dog, five cats, and six chickens.  Yes, I am one of those cat ladies, it’s the running joke in my family. 

Coffee as well but I am sure I could live without it. Not so sure if I would be a very nice person though.

(LOL – I reckon most of us would not have our nice guy faces on everyday without coffee either Kathy. I’m sure your large human & fur family would always keep you smiling though.) 

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?

Kathy: My mum, I lost her suddenly 13 years ago and would love to have the opportunity to say to her all the things I didn’t say while she was alive and to talk with her about my children. 

My mum taught me so much about family, faith, values, love, and hospitality. Our house was always open and she loved helping people. She had a soft and giving heart for others and there were always new people we hadn’t met yet who visited our home. No-one left our house hungry. There was always an endless saucepan of beautiful, yummy Greek food cooking that never seemed to run out.

(Kathy told me how her Dad comes from the Greek island of Ikaria which has been identified as a Blue Zone. In case you don’t know what that is, blue zones are regions of the world thought to have a higher than usual number of people who live much longer than average. They eat mainly vegetarian diets and their healthy cuisine is now represented in many published cook books.)

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?

Kathy: Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler because who doesn’t like an 80s classic. I can’t sing to save my life but I give it a good go especially in the car, despite my kids protests.”

(I must agree – the 80s had some brilliant classics. Songs like “Jump” by Van Halen or “Express Yourself” by Madonna. Personally I think “S..S..Single Bed” has to be up there. Just kidding!)

Kathy certainly came across as a genuine, compassionate, and friendly person on our first conversation. If you contact EFA and Kathy responds I’m sure you will find her very welcoming and eager to support you in the best way possible.


EFA Supporting Residential Aged Care NDIS Providers

Upcoming EFA Training

July 15       Internal Audit Training (One Day)

Internal Audits are a mandatory requirement for NDIS providers under the NDIS Practice Standards.

This internal audit training will give you a sound basis and the tools to move forward with your own audits. EFA are auditing and quality specialists. Book your spot now!

Can’t make July? Book in for our following workshop on 11th November then.

July 27       NDIS Restrictive Practices & Behaviour Support for Implementing               Providers

Seeking guidance about obligations of NDIS providers that support participants subject to a Restrictive Practice? We can demystify behaviour support and restrictive practices and share that information with you in a way that makes sense for you and your NDIS service. Book in here!

Can’t make July? Book in for our following workshop on 17th November then.

August 19     NDIS Feedback and Complaints Management Essentials

Our three (3) hour workshop via Zoom is presented by an experienced NDIS auditor, is interactive, and will provide you with some practical tips and strategies you can use immediately. Remember Complaints management training for workers is also mandatory! Book a spot here!

Oct 14       NDIS Incident Management Essentials

Managing incidents effectively is an essential part of providing quality and safe supports for NDIS participants. This interactive workshop will include: benefits of effective incident management and managing incidents to comply with the relevant NDIS Practice Standards and NDIS Incident Management Rules and reporting. Book your spot here!


EFA, Awarded NDIS Auditor Training For 5th Year

We are so thrilled to announce that EFA, and our partner ARTD have, for the 5th consecutive year been contracted by the NDIS Commission to undertake NDIS auditor training. To date we have trained 869 auditors through forty five sessions. A huge feat since 2018.

What this means for you is that you can be reassured that when you engage Engels Floyd & Associates you are dealing with the best in the business when it comes to NDIS compliance and registration. We understand NDIS requirements like the back of our hand. We train the auditors. If you need help from the experts in NDIS registration and compliance contact us for a chat.


Hosanna Compliments EFA

Linda Yalda from Hosanna Community Care based in Melbourne recently provided this glowing feedback to EFA. This was received after EFA provided Hosanna tailored consultancy support on auditing, quality management, and standards.

Linda wrote; “EFA is very honest, passionate, qualified, highly skilled and approachable team that has always supported us to continually improve.”  Accordingly in Linda’s words to EFA; “You are the best!”

This type of feedback is not only beneficial to help us know that we are on track and meeting provider’s needs efficiently but also that we ease the load for the providers that we work with. And if we at EFA can improve your systems and ultimately improve outcomes for your participants, then we are fulfilling our purpose. What do others have to say about their experience with EFA?


Dedicated NDIS Minister Announced

Following on from a change of Government recently, on May 31st Bill Shorten was announced as Labor’s first ever dedicated Minister for the NDIS. Bill will also be Minister for Government Services. Bill said “It is my great honour to serve people with disability…I will work every day to make Australia better. I look forward to the work and I won’t let you down.”

On June 22nd Bill Shorten visited the NDIA Braddon office to meet the NDIA staff delivering the Scheme to make an important NDIS announcement and to release the latest NDIA Annual Pricing Review.

Bill claims the review is a win-win situation. From 1st July 2022 price limits for all NDIS supports delivered by disability support workers will increase by 9 per cent, including a 2 per cent temporary loading in 2022-23, and all current NDIS plan budgets will be automatically increased to account for these price limit changes.

Further information is available in the associated media release: https://bit.ly/3bm4Y8M .


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 30 May 2022

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Karen Pritchard, Power Packed With Positivity
  • Mid Term Audit Training this Tuesday
  • EFA Supporting Residential Aged Care NDIS Providers
  • Increasing Participant Engagement in Auditing

Karen Pritchard, Power Packed With Positivity

The EFA Enquirer: 30 May 2022 3

Have you noticed those quirky, engaging, and motivating social media posts that EFA has been posting lately? That’s the wondrous work of one of EFA’s newest team members, Karen Pritchard, our Digital Marketing Coordinator. Karen loves her work as she loves life. A creative, lateral thinker who brings a sense of humour, gratitude, and loads of fun to all that she does. No negativity there! Expect the unexpected with Karen, and it will come accompanied by one of her famous off the cuff comments.Karen and I caught up recently. What really is the source of her contagious joyousness?

What do you love about your work? Karen: My Team – First and foremost! All our heads, hearts and intentions are in the same place. I feel we all skip to the beat of the same drum.Generally I feel lucky in life. I have a lot of gratitude. I tried part time work for a while and now I’m back to working 5 days a week between EFA and another company. I’m even busier and I love it!  And I have 100% autonomy, something creative people need.(Karen is so switched on with balancing her priorities. She told me that she regularly schedules a ‘no phone/screen time’. And this is a definite. She does not compromise on that for herself. That’s something most of us could do with!)

What are the highlights of your life to date? Karen:  I’m so proud that I’m finally working in a job I love to do. It’s no longer about working in a job just for the money. Even on the weekends I like popping into work online and doing some work, not because I need to catch up but because I just love it. It feels as though I am doing good and that’s important to me.  EFA is not a big multinational corporation. It’s all about Australians helping Australians. Doing good by keeping it local. I like working for a company with those values.(Such a refreshing perspective! What did Confucius say: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”)

What three words would you use to describe yourself? Karen: Fun. Loud. Worrier. LOL – That’s me – Always going straight for the catastrophe jump. I go from nought to a million in an instant. I think that comes from being an over thinker. I’m what I would coin a loud introvert.(Is the “catastrophe jump” as Karen calls it merely the result of a wild imagination……. Then again I think there are many of us that do the catastrophe jump when something unexpected happens.)

What is the best piece of advice you have received? Karen: “Life is a journey not a destination.” It’s the journey that matters.Sometimes we all just need to pause to smell the roses. Of such value too is; “Smile at someone!” It makes a difference and being a brighter person encourages the same in return from others.(So many wisdoms in response to one question. Smiling makes a massive difference. Have you ever noticed that if you smile at a stranger? And how many of us are always wanting to jump to the final outcome, to finish a task, wishing away days and weeks. It feels so good just to stop and breathe. It’s like pressing reset on your phone.)

What is the most courageous thing you have done? Karen: I can do job interviews as cool as a cucumber. I can speak to crowds without any butterflies.The most courageous thing I have done was to apply to be a member of the Charity Taskforce Advisory Council. This group is made up of high flying executives and CEOs and applying for ‘li’l me’ to join this committee of high profile people was daunting. Speaking up with highly successful and already connected personalities is scary. But I told myself; “…. You know what! I am as able as them to do this role.” And I did join that council so I could add the voice of the small charity sector.Together we will be guiding on the development of a charity donation platform that pulls together donors, workplaces and the community.  It helps to share and celebrate the ‘goodness feeling’ that comes from collaborative giving.  A bit a background if you’re curious – this platform encourages workplace giving (regular pre-tax donations direct from your pay) We like to say, it doesn’t matter how much or how little, but every bit counts.  If you’ve not heard of workplace giving and want to know more, head to the Workplace Giving Australia website to discover all the benefits for employees, organisations and the causes you care most about.(You go girl! We are always the best person to back ourselves. How amazing does it feel when you step out of your comfort zone?) 

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Karen: Growing pumpkins! I have been dedicating spare time to growing a veggie garden for the past nearly 5 years and I love growing pumpkins. I talk to them and they all have individual personalities – no kidding! My pumpkins are organic and every late summer they completely overtake the backyard. (A whizz at social media and a green thumb! Looks like halloween is at Karen’s.)

What could you not live without? Karen: My iPhone. Seriously! It enables me to do things that normal-sighted people take for granted. Besides the obvious benefits of my iPhone I can listen to audio books, the radio, and podcasts. Listening to content is just the same as reading it, but the main benefit is you can be doing chores around the home while reading.  Boom!  there is a life hack for you!  A must for everyone, get the Borrow Box app, connect it to your local library and start listening. It really makes those dull jobs fly quick.(BTW Karen has 97% sight loss. That doesn’t slow her down one iota. Her energy, passion and zest for life is compelling.)

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why? Karen: Well, it can’t be just one person. I’m making the most of the opportunity.

Elon Musk. I’m curious if he’s as the media purports him to be.

Princess Diana, undoubtedly an iconic mover and shaker who left a lot of unfinished business. The ripple effect of her being here on earth is still playing out in our world currently.

Marilyn Monroe, a woman who was manipulated and used as a possession. Does she have substance to her compared to how she was portrayed. Who was she really?

The current Pope. We could discuss the Da Vinci Code. And one of my ancestors such as my great great grandmother or grandfather. I don’t know much about my ancestors and I would like to be able to find out who they were and what made them tick.

Of course, the whole EFA team would be at the dinner as well. We’d be situated on a hill, under a flowering arbor of purple wisteria at a large round table. The warm air gently blows around our feet and dapple sunlight plays patterns on our faces. We’re eating the most amazing food and OMG, the chairs are so comfortable, it turns out to be the longest (and memorable) lunch ever! (Wow! I want to be there too! Imagine the intensity of conversation flowing around the table well into the twilight hours. The Pope with Princess Di – the mind boggles!!) 

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it? Karen: YMCA by the Village People. To me that song is all about happiness without judgement.(And when Karen’s around….”there’s no need to feel down” LOL)Karen is the sort of person you just want to hang out with once you meet her.  As Karen says herself; “I’m way too busy creating memories to do housework.” I think that is an important life lesson we could all hang onto and run with. Don’t forget to do all the things that you love and usually everything else can wait, and if those routine things don’t get done does it matter in the scheme of life anyway.It seems that life in company with Karen would be fun, spontaneous, and adventurous. I get the feeling that life in Karen-land is never dull.


EFA Supporting Residential Aged Care NDIS Providers

Currently across Australia there are about 627 residential aged care providers supporting NDIS participants within their facilities. These facilities are required to undergo NDIS registration as well as maintain their aged care accreditation.  

Navigating those compliance requirements can be a quagmire for residential aged care facilities initially, but help is on the way. EFA in collaboration with our partner, ARTD Consulting have been asked by the NDIS Commission to develop resources, training and education for these residential aged care providers undergoing NDIS registration. NDIS auditing and registration requisites can also be daunting for providers so it’s important to have up to date resources to bridge that uncertainty and to build confidence in residential aged care providers.

We will also be providing resources and information to support NDIS participants living in residential aged care engage in NDIS audit processes.

To ensure you have access to the information and resources as they become available ensure you receive our newsletters and/or follow EFA on Linkedin or Facebook.


Increasing Participant Engagement in Auditing

One area of note in the latest industry Communique of the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission is the need for greater representation of participants in the registration and auditing processes.

Furthermore, the Communique mentions how it seeks to introduce measures to increase participant involvement and contribution in the (audit) registration process and to facilitate the provision of educational resources and provider quality information that informs participant decision making.

This particular objective is one that EFA has particular expertise in. Take a browse through our EFA team profiles. Three of our team members are NDIS participants themselves, including one of the founders and Directors of EFA. Communicating with and maximising the engagement of NDIS participants is one of our key attributes. In fact, earlier this year we were asked to speak on best practice about that topic at a national forum.

EFA is currently providing regular training/workshops to NDIS providers to promote participant engagement. Please contact us if you’d like to have a tailor made session for your organisation.

Additionally, we are passionate about making information accessible to people with disability. At EFA we believe it is essential to ensure that all individuals are provided with appropriate information to support a rights based, person-centred approach. If you need help with accessible documentation we can assist you.


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 26 April 2022

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Our new team member, Kathy Gronthos
  • Featured associate: Patty Wassenaar
  • Nominated for the Geelong Business Excellence Awards
  • Key Findings in the NDIS Annual Report
  • Budgetary Commitment to Increasing Quality and Safety

 


OUR NEW TEAM MEMBER, KATHY!

We’re excited to introduce you to EFA’s newest team member, Kathy Gronthos, Client Engagement Administration Manager (CEAM) and is the first point of contact for our clients. Kathy has extensive experience working as a senior administrator in the health, disability and carer space in the Commonwealth and State Government. She is also known to be an amateur beekeeper! Read the rest of Kathy’s profile on our website here.

For those of you who know Rachael Gratton, our longstanding CEAM – you will be pleased to know, she is still a valuable part of EFA, and has assumed a new EFA role as our Training and Quality Manager.

 


OUR POWER PACKED ASSOCIATE, PATTY

Patty Wassenaar Farnell is a long time stalwart of the human services and quality assurance sectors. We are very fortunate to have Patty on our team as an Associate of Engels Floyd and Associates. 

Patty conducted the preparatory audit for Conscious Healthcare SA who we featured in our March newsletter and Nina, on behalf of Conscious Healthcare SA couldn’t speak highly enough of the assistance Patty provided for them. 

So who is Patty exactly? A professional with a unique skillset and a genuinely interesting background because it is so different to how most people came to this type of work. Patty has degrees in Materials Engineering, a Masters of Engineering, and a Master of Business Administration. Patty contends that holds her in good stead for being able to see the details, an important factor in her consulting. Patty says she ‘Likes to learn!’


What do you love about your work? 

Patty: Doing something different all the time. Variation is important to me. I also love a challenge and generally enjoy doing the stuff that other people hate. Sitting in an office and doing the same thing everyday is definitely not my idea of fun. There’s no chance of being stuck in an office in this work. 

(Buddha once said “Remember the only constant in life is change.”  Seeking change keeps one on their toes, challenged, and constantly learning. All good attributes that benefit the person, the company, and clientele. Patty is definitely adaptable and not phased by change.)

 

What are the highlights of your life to date?

Patty: Our children, two daughters and one son. They are the highlights beyond all else. And our newest venture, managing and working the logistics of a big organic walnut farm. It’s a lot of work but very special.

(Check out Patty’s walnut farm Wellwood. Patty is keeping her taste for variation well nourished with such diversity in her own life. Professional consultant, farmer, mother, wife.)  
 

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Patty: Hardworking. Diligent. Personable. 

(We could add to that: Integral, Honest, Reliable, Responsible, Humble.)
 

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Patty: When I first started working evaluating medical devices, my boss at the time once drew a graph that showed Time Vs Output Quality. He explained how we spend 50% of our time achieving a quality output of 89 to 90% and how that is plenty good enough. If we were to aim for a higher output it would be a lot more effort for minimal gain. 

And that is the basis for how I structure my work output and time management. Effective time management is better for me and for the customer as they receive the report quickly. That gives them the opportunity to read the report and provide feedback whilst it’s still fresh. From all accounts this makes our EFA clients happy.  

(Nina from Conscious Healthcare SA recently told me that Patty delivered the Report Findings to them within 24 hours of the preparatory audit conclusion. Fast work Patty!)

 

What is the most courageous thing you have done?

Patty: Quitting my job!! After 27 years working in one company I resigned to work for EFA, an offer too good to refuse you might say! Working for myself and consulting was a big step at the time. I still do some auditing for that company now so I must be doing something right. 

(Lucky for us! Thankfully EFA has a great reputation and is a desirable company to work with. Much gratitude for your choice Patty.) 

 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Patty: The fact I am respected for what I do! The feedback attests to that. 

And of course, my children. 

(After Patty recently worked alongside Conscious Healthcare SA their representative, Nina, stated, “Patty’s engagement with us was consistent, clear, systematic and precise. Her ability to review evidence was accurate, detailed and very fast. Patty’s descriptive response to each identified piece of reviewed evidence was focused.” I certainly had the impression of my conversation with Nina that Patty was well respected there.)

 

What could you not live without?

Patty:  Family! I could live without everything else.

(Patty said this with such conviction that I have no doubt that most of life’s hurdles would not be insurmountable to her, that Patty is undoubtedly, a thriver and the backbone of the family.)

 

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?

Patty:  My Mum. My family. Tomorrow they may not be there!  

I don’t want to ever say; “I wish I had………. “ in relation to my family and especially my Mum. Oh and Jen!  

Above everyone else I would choose those dearest to me. 

(That is Jen Engels one of EFA’s inspirational Directors. Patty truly lives and works this depth of authenticity. Her integrity is evident in her work and how she relates with EFA clients.) 

 

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?

Patty:  Bohemian Rhapsody. Hotel California. 

(Yep! There’s probably many of us who remember the words and tunes of those songs too. You aren’t alone there Patty!) 

Patty shared that she has a family member in Holland with an intellectual disability and that was one of the reasons that drew her to working in the disability area twenty years ago. Through auditing and the Disability Service Standards Patty found this niche that gives her such a sense of satisfaction. To Patty the accepting of differences is paramount. 

The EFA Enquirer: 26 April 2022 5

 

 


Nominated for the Geelong Business Excellence Awards

The Geelong Business Excellence Awards is a prestigious award for local movers and shakers here in Geelong, Victoria. The awards recognise organisations that have achieved business excellence in the Geelong region. It’s a comprehensive program that supports and recognises clever, creative and connected businesses and business leaders.

And guess who has been nominated?!: – Jennifer Engels, one of our Engels Floyd & Associates Company Directors. Being a finalist and/or winning such an award is a significant badge of honour locally and can enhance the reach of innovative leading businesses.

Stay tuned for that outcome!!

 

 


Key Findings In The NDIS Annual Report

The NDIS recently released its Quality and Safeguards Commission’s Annual Report 2020-2021.

It is worth noting that the number of complaints has risen in that time frame compared to the previous year. What is meaningful is to burrow down on the nature of those complaints. Significantly the largest number of complaints related to Provider Practice (43% in fact). A further 15% were categorised as complaints relating to Policies and Procedures.  

Refer to the chart below extracted from page 28 of the Annual Report.

The EFA Enquirer: 26 April 2022 7

The great news is that the key areas of complaints are precisely the areas that EFA excels in: supporting,  training and upskilling providers in policies and procedures, the development of accessible information for participants about feedback and complaints, and the development, implementation and review of good practices. From business development to quality improvement, personalised consultancy, and a variety of individualised and group training, EFA can support providers to upgrade their practices and focus to potentially reduce any lurking triggers for a complaint.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission – Annual Report 2020 -2021 

 

 


Budgetary Commitment to Increasing Quality and Safety

Media Release from the Honourable Linda Reynolds CSC following the recent Federal Government Budget announcements included details about how the government plans to increase quality and safety for NDIS participants.

One of the ways they aim to achieve this is to introduce measures to align regulation across NDIS and aged care providers to ensure consistency in the levels of quality and safety, and at the same time to reduce the administrative burden for providers.

The aim is ultimately to develop options for integrated audits of NDIS and aged care providers. This means aligning the Standards in both areas. EFA has been involved in mapping and aligning Standards since their conception and is well placed to support providers to navigate this process.

Another commitment highlighted in the media release is that the Government plans to invest $3.5 million in behavioural support training for up to 4000 workers supporting NDIS participants who have a behaviour support plan. The intention is to upskill the care and support workforce and enhance their capabilities in working with people who have psychosocial disability particularly. EFA regularly conducts training in NDIS Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support  and between you and me, we have received some pretty welcome comments from those who have attended. Keep an eye out for our next interactive online training session. Additionally many organisations choose to work with EFA one on one to ensure the training EFA provides is personalised and targeted to their specific needs. 

Morrison Government delivering record NDIS investment and guaranteeing essential government services


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 17 March 2022

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Client Interview: Conscious Healthcare SA
  • Amended NDIS Practice Standards
  • Tips And Tricks To Prepare For Ndis Audits – Preparatory Audits
  • Upcoming Training Opportunities

CLIENT INTERVIEW: CONSCIOUS HEALTHCARE SA

Recently EFA worked in partnership with Conscious Healthcare SA (CHSA) to deliver a number of supports including training, review of their NDIS self-assessment, development of policies and procedures, and conducting a preparatory audit. EFA and CHSA worked together to achieve mutual success from August 2021 to January 2022.
 
Nina McMahon, GM Operations at CHSA, and I caught up yesterday to discuss their experiences with EFA. 
 
In Nina’s words:
Based in the Glenelg area in Adelaide, we provide services in the greater metropolitan area from Gawler in the north to Victor Harbour in the south as well as the Adelaide hills and the mid north. 
 
Formerly we were known as Trevor Keen Health Services. We started off as a solo business with around 20 participants and 1 ½ practitioners; and we now have 30 people working together, predominantly practitioners, and have provided support, to date, for more than 700 people. We provide quality allied health services; including OT, physio, dietetic services, developmental education and social work and are currently extending our suite of services to include a range of additional services including positive behaviour support.
We recognise how much of an honour it is to be invited into someone’s home and we feel it enhances flexibility, freedom, choice and engagement. We aim to make a real difference and we put heart into everything we do.
 
I asked Nina; “With all the options available to you these days why did you choose EFA? ”Basically, it was one phone call according to Nina. Nina said she called her friend, the very experienced Wendy Warren CEO of EBL Disability Services who recommended Sharon Floyd and her team at EFA. Nina then spoke with Sharon and that clinched the deal. At that first conversation Nina received some invaluable advice upfront. Nina said that Sharon has been very professional and, throughout the process, was a wealth of valuable information regarding NDIS standards and audit requirements and is indeed wonderful to work with.  
 
CHSA is adding an additional 21 registration groups to its scope and EFA assisted in the preparation for expansion into each of those additional registration areas. Patty Wassenaar from EFA conducted a Preparatory Audit with the Conscious Healthcare team and participants in January 2022. Nina said that Patty was “absolutely marvellous” in the preparatory audit. Her friendly, articulate manner was balanced with a very professional and concentrated approach. Patty was thorough and set the scene for a practice run that was just like the “real deal”. 
 
Nina said, “Patty’s engagement with us was consistent, clear, systematic and precise. Her ability to review evidence was accurate, detailed and very fast. Patty’s descriptive response to each identified piece of reviewed evidence was focused.” Furthermore, Patty delivered the Report Findings to CHSA within 24 hours. The preparatory piece, Nina reflected, gave CHSA an opportunity to be in a stronger position and more ready to navigate the actual NDIS audit process in the weeks that followed. 
 
Nina also made special mention in a shout out to Rachael Gratton our admin extraordinaire. Nina said that nothing is ever too much trouble for Rachael. She has been extremely helpful and very easy to talk with. “Rachael is prompt and super friendly.”
 
Staff attended the Restrictive Practices workshop presented by EFA Associate, Mike Finn. Nina commented that Mike is a great trainer and very personable. What really impressed Nina was the fact that once Mike comprehended that the CHSA team mainly consists of contractors he understood their unique legal position and dynamics and how the gamut of pieces that make up the organisation work cohesively together. 
 
When asked what was of particular note in the overall experience with EFA Nina stated “Communication!” Nina said that it was; “Right on the button!” CHSA always received a full and clear answer from EFA, more than what was expected, consistently following up to check in. Nina glowingly said that EFA are “really great operators.” In fact, Nina said; “If EFA says something we believe it. They are top notch!” Nina told me that they now consider the personnel of EFA to be their mates and they promote EFA at every opportunity. 
 
Nina said, “The nature of auditing can be ‘stiff’ but that wasn’t our experience with EFA”.  
 
Nina’s pride was evident when she spoke about CHSA’s aim to impact the industry by sharing the wealth of knowledge they have to as many people as possible. They aim to become a training ground and a knowledge base that they offer across the NDIS industry. One way CHSA do this is by offering free resources via their website (https://www.conscioushealthcaresa.com.au/) Resources Hub in the form of podcasts and live case conferences. Trevor CEO, runs regular podcasts with key people in the industry and their lead practitioners hold regular out of hours case conferences that anyone can join, on technical and clinical topics. Anyone can access these resources for free.   
 
Nina said; “We want to positively impact the industry. Be forward thinking and create ripples!”
 
Nina exclaims that they would certainly recommend Engels Floyd to our mates. “We look forward to engaging with EFA in the future and attending some of their programs,” Nina stated in the evaluation, “I have felt very supported throughout the process and the preparatory audit was an excellent action to take. I highly recommend, any organisation preparing for NDIS registration to consult with Sharon, Jen and their team. This way we can all bring a higher level of quality to the industry.”
 
According to Nina; “The service that EFA provides is a bit of gold!” Now that is something we can all be proud of as we at EFA do our best to go beyond the normal expectations and to deliver a high-quality service. Nina you are right on the button too. 

https://conscioushealthcaresa.com.au


AMENDED NDIS PRACTICE STANDARDS
 
ARE YOU READY?

Are you aware of the significant changes made to the NDIS Practice Standards on 15 November 2021 including three new Practice Standards:

  • Mealtime Management
  • Dysphagia Management
  • Emergency and Disaster Management

In addition to that there are edits to existing Quality Indicators and NEW Quality Indicators for:

  • The Core Module 
  • Module 3: Early childhood supports
  • Verification Module

 
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT YOU?

At your next upcoming audit all providers undergoing certification audits will be assessed against these requirements, whether it be midterm or re-certification.
 
Importantly, note that quality and safety in mealtime support, and COVID-19 preparedness and response have been identified as Compliance and Enforcement priorities for 2021-22 by the NDIS Commission.
 
Providers will need to make sure that their current policies, procedures and practices reflect these requirements.  
 
For example; auditors will be looking for evidence about how:

  • Governing body personnel develop and review emergency and disaster management plans, in consultation with participants and their support networks.
  • All workers are trained in implementation of these plans, plus how they are trained in infection prevention, and use of PPE.
  • Individual risk assessments include the extent to which the health and safety of participants would be affected in the event those services were disrupted.

 
EFA always strives to remain ahead of NDIS updates and we do have our fingers on the pulse with these recent changes and what is required of providers. Please feel free to contact us if you need EFA support to understand and implement these important requirements.


TIPS AND TRICKS TO PREPARE FOR NDIS AUDITS – PREPARATORY AUDITS

Forward planning and preparation is the key to a successful audit. We certainly don’t encourage providers to see an NDIS audit as just a pass/fail or tick the box approach. It’s all about having in place a commitment to quality and ongoing improvements. With such a commitment the audit is then more than a way of confirming conformance as it also highlights areas for improvement. Non-conformances aren’t the end of the world! We know that providers do want to minimise them wherever possible however. Having a system of Internal Audits in place is a great way to prepare for NDIS external audits (see above) so that non-conformances are pinpointed prior to the “Real Deal!”

Another option you may have not yet considered is to have a ‘Preparatory Audit’. EFA conducts numerous ‘Preparatory Audits’ for our clients. These are a valuable way to give providers a ‘trial run’ of an external NDIS audit. As part of that process we will chat to a sample of a provider’s staff, participants, governing body, and key personnel. We will review your systems to verify records of how providers are implementing their policies and procedures. Providers will be left with a comprehensive audit report with findings as well as practical recommendations to address any areas requiring corrective action.

The feature article in this newsletter is from one of our recent clients, Conscious Healthcare SA who claimed immense value in the Preparatory Audit process that EFA supported them with. In fact they gave us 5 Stars!


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 27 July 2021

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Sharon Floyd – A Woman of Fortitude, Insight and Compassion
  • FYI: Superannuation Increase – Time to update your policies and procedures
  • EFA Internal Audit Training in August – Round 3
  • NDIS: Accessing NDIS Commission Applications Portal

Sharon Floyd – A Woman of Fortitude, Insight and Compassion

Co-Director of Engels Floyd and Associates, Sharon Floyd knows the disability and human services sector inside out. Sharon herself freely admits she is a dinosaur in that arena as she has over 30 years experience with specialist expertise in quality improvement and disability services.
 
That said, Sharon is innovative, creative, an avid researcher and a connector between people. Sharon is always keen to assist in supporting others, lightening their load, and in resourcing others in ways that will potentially improve their situation and make their lives a bit easier. It’s difficult, and actually very undesirable, to try to put Sharon in a box because she has such a unique and warm personality that encourages one to feel relaxed in her company. One feels listened to, that their feelings are heard, and not judged.
 
Sharon had a stellar career as a senior Manager in Commonwealth government and was awarded an Australia Day award for excellence in audit processes. She was a key player in developing the first ever certification system for disability services which has since been adopted nationally. 
 
Sharon has a well deserved reputation for skills in training, facilitation, evaluation, strategic planning, policy and procedure development and internal auditing. She has supported people with disability achieve their leadership goals in the national Leaders for Tomorrow program. Importantly for providers, she knows the NDIS registration requirements back to front and is able to demystify this information and support providers to be providers of choice.
 
Sharon and I caught up for a chat about her work with EFA and life in general. 
What I learned was the depth of understanding that Sharon holds for what’s really important in life. 
 
What do you love about your work?
Sharon: I love being part of a team of high performers. We each have our complementary skills. And we work together and work cohesively using our complementary skill sets. I like working at a fast pace. None of our work is cookie cutter. It’s always new and challenging and I thrive on that.  
 
(With everyone on the team working autonomously in different locations and different states it would be easy to lose efficiency in disconnection and for the flow in tasks to be lost and not be the best standard. Luckily that doesn’t happen with EFA due to the dedication, commitment to clients, and to the team, and conscientiousness to do the best individually.) 
 
What are the highlights of your life to date?
Sharon: My three major highlights are my three daughters. They are all strong, independent and compassionate. And they are really good people. I’m really proud of the young women they are. I love living life with my daughters. 
 
We travelled to Norway together for one of my daughter’s 21st birthdays. We skied together and this too was a first. Norway skiing for the first time and doing it together united. Bliss!
 
(Sounds divine to me!!!)
 
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Sharon: Optimistic. I’ve found I needed to be! It’s a Sagittarian quality and my glass is always half full. 
 
Loyal. To family, to friends, to the community, and to EFA.
 
Determined. Once I start a project and have a plan I’d feel as though I let myself down if I didn’t do it properly and to the best of my ability. Over the past year I made a determined effort to change several lifestyle habits and it was a big success. I now choose for the rest of my life to be as healthy as it can possibly be. And I know I can do that through determination. 
 
(There are so many valuable take aways here for many of us.) 
 
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Sharon: This may not be advice as much as an intuitive lifelong knowing. “Try to be kind!”
You never know if a small act of kindness is exactly what someone needs to get them through in a particular moment. You never know what another person is going through. We all have our battles.
 
(To me this epitomises Harold S. Kushner’s renowned statement: Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” Kindness says so much about the person who gives it unconditionally.)
 
What is the most courageous thing you have done?
Sharon: Ten years ago I decided to leave my secure public sector job, a senior position. 
 
Jumping into self employment was scary and a big risk. I realise now that not everyone can be successful at achieving this. 
 
However,  I now know it was the best thing I could have done for Me.  Self employment has given me the opportunity to work in a much more hands on role with people who have disability and providers. It also meant that I could reconnect with the awesome Jen Engels (who I met whilst working in government) and we joined forces in that first year after I left. And EFA does courageous things every week! 
 
(As most people have a great fear of change and jumping from a secure, well remunerated and high status position into the unknown is one of the most courageous acts in our contemporary world I feel.)
 
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Sharon: Jen and I have developed an Australian nationally successful business and it’s our own business. Purely ours! I am proud of that and the fact that we are the ONLY provider to have trained all of the 600 + NDIS Quality Auditors and JAS-ANZ (Australian and New Zealand accreditation body) personnel. 
 
(Good to know you are dealing with the Experts in NDIS Quality requirements isn’t it! It takes away a lot of potential stress in determining you have the right people up front.)
 
What could you not live without?
Sharon: Chocolate! Haighs chocolate actually – It’s the best!
And hope! When things get hard I always have hope things will improve. Hope is essential for all of us (and chocolate).
 
(Of course!!!) 
 
If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?
Sharon: My Mum. She turns 89 tomorrow and life is so precious. I’m so much more conscious of ageing and time passing now. I choose to make the most of every opportunity and if I have a seat at my table I would invite Mum. Each day with her is a blessing. 
 
(The mark of a compassionate person is how they treat those closest to them.)
 
What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?
Sharon: Anything Abba. My 15 yr old daughter loves Abba nearly as much as I do. My first concert was with Abba. Seeing that band through the eyes of my daughter is great; playing their music and singing in the car together and watching their movies. 
 
(Oh Mama Mia really!!!!!!  LOL)

The EFA Enquirer: 27 July 2021 9

 


FYI: Superannuation Increase

Time to update your policies and procedures

As you will be aware there have been recent changes to the superannuation contribution rates. The percentage rate for superannuation has increased to 10% (effective as of 1 July 2021). 

If you are an EFA client and you have purchased a set of Policies and Procedures from us, we want to highlight that you will need to update the superannuation details in your Human Resource Management policies and procedures to reflect that change. Equally importantly, remember to review any other areas where that information is documented that may also require updating records to reflect this increase, e.g. Compliance registers.

If you have any questions about these changes please contact us at info@engelsfloyd.com


EFA Internal Audit Training in August – Round 3

Our last two EFA Internal Audit Training days sold out quickly so EFA is offering another one day training on 6 August 2021 (9 am to 4.30 pm EST).

Here’s what one of the attendees had to say about our NDIS Provider Internal Audit Training conducted in June 2021:

‘brilliant and knowledgeable presenters, great pace, considerate of all participants knowledge levels”

In our comprehensive, but never dull, training day you will receive a Mini Tool Kit that can be utilised ongoing in your own work. It applies across all providers and is easily incorporated into your own practices.
 
Our training will include the following:
•          Auditor Competence
•          Developing / managing audit program
•          Audit planning
•          Conducting the audit
•          Reporting and corrective actions
 
This training is power packed with essential knowledge unpacked and in an engaging, interactive manner that is easily applied in your own setting. Book here


NDIS: Accessing NDIS Commission Applications Portal 

Navigating the NDIS website and applications portal can be tricky and time consuming and who has an excess of time these days. 
Here’s a very helpful NDIS Quick Reference Guide.

If you are a new registered provider or seeking to become one, you will firstly need to gain PRODA access to be able to use the Applications Portal. This quick reference guide is a handy resource for those accessing PRODA for the first time as well as for those who already have PRODA access.

For an idea if this guide will be of assistance to you, it includes:

•   Logging in to the Applications Portal through PRODA for the first time
•   Logging on to the Applications Portal through PRODA using my existing PRODA account
•   About PRODA
•   Help with accessing the Applications Portal
•   Logging in to the Applications Portal through PRODA for the first time.
 
Alternatively: https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021-06/ndis-commission-portal-new-application-v1.pdf
 


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 23 June 2021

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • NDIS Worker Screening Accepted in Aged Care
  • Just Announced: EFA Internal Audit Training in July  
  • NDIS Media Release: Proposal For More Flexibility in NDIS Plans

NDIS Worker Screening Accepted In Aged Care

Good news for many services! 

Aged care staffing requirements have been amended to accept the NDIS worker screening process following an amendment to the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Requirements for Staff Members and Volunteers) Instrument 2021.

This means that staff who are working within the NDIS funded services can more easily be employed within the aged care sector. Want to know more?


Just Announced: EFA Internal Audit Training 

Due to high demand and a fast sell out of our previous Internal Audit Training EFA are offering another one on 20 July 2021 (9 am to 4.30 pm EST).
 
Here’s what Hosanna Community Care had to say about training EFA conducted for their organisation in February 2021:
All workers at Engels Floyd & Associates have a great in depth knowledge, great communication skills, professionalism and lovely personality. Always ensured that all staff have fully understood the subject. They were able to adapt to organisational environment and ensured effective training program was delivered to HCC members. The sessions in the training encouraged Critical thinking, team work, engagement and this process has enhanced HCC staff self esteem, creativity, motivation and instils confidence.”
 
As you know, it is essential to keep abreast of this knowledge and to feel confident when it comes to doing your own internal audit. Internal Audits are a mandatory NDIS requirement. Not only will you feel more assured that you are on track after this but you will have a Mini Tool Kit to use in the future. 
 
Our training will cover the following:
•          Auditor Competence
•          Developing / managing audit program
•          Audit planning
•          Conducting the audit
•          Reporting and corrective actions
 
Given the response last time I would check out what we are offering in the very near future and book  soon if you are keen.


NDIS Media Release: Proposal For More Flexibility in NDIS Plans

A media release from the Hon. Linda Reynolds on June 3rd to explain the personalised budgeting paper that outlines how NDIS participants could be supported with the proposal of more flexible NDIS plans in the future. These changes are designed to offer a greater degree of genuine choice and control for NDIS participants. 

Ms Reynolds said: “What I have clearly heard is that participants want more flexible budgets and greater choice and control over their supports and their lives.” Furthermore she stated; “It is also clear to me that participants want to ensure that their goals are still included in the planning process.”

For more info refer to the Media Release.


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 4 June 2021

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Introducing Jennifer Engels, EFA Director
  • EFA Internal Audit Training  SOLD OUT
  • NDIS Fact Sheet – Residential Aged Care Providers: Behaviour Support 
  • NDIS Regulated Restrictive Practices Guide

Meet the Multi-Talented Jennifer Engels

One of the dynamic Directors behind the flourishing business of Engels Floyd & Associates is Jennifer Engels. All successful creative ventures stem from a conviction, a determined focus and a tenacious resilience. Jen has that in bucket loads. She envisioned a business that could smooth the path between disability service providers and the NDIS processes. A business that would raise the “quality management” bar to an entirely new level. As a person with lived experience of disability herself Jen is perhaps one of the most gifted professionals in this area of work. She understands the myriad of dynamics, interests and responsibilities at play with all parties involved and how they interlink.  

Spanning an extensive 25 year career within the human services sector Jen has provided advice to local, state and Commonwealth government on disability issues, reforms and policy. She is considered the national expert on Certification, Accreditation and standards within the human services sector by Australia’s accrediting and certification bodies, governments and her auditing peers. 

Prior to establishing EFA Jen’s work was instrumental in a range of activities related to Australia’s accredited human services certification systems, including technical writing; technical committee chairing; assessing certification bodies against audit scheme requirements; providing subject matter and technical expertise to Joint Accreditation System of Australia New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).  She completed a range of human services standards mapping projects for state and Commonwealth governments and JAS-ANZ. And let’s not forget, Jen has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, project management, training systems development and delivery.

To top it off Jen featured in YMag in 2020 as one of the eight Australian Female Change Makers of the year. 

If you have already worked with Jen you will know how much she thrives on quality management and supporting providers to help participants/consumers through the implementation of innovative and accountable quality and safety processes. Jen even likes taking on the hard stuff that has left others stumped. Gutsy!! That is a sign of a “quality nerd” is it not!

Jen and I talked work and life last week. 

There are so many layers to this woman and her amazing life.  

What do you love about your work?

Jen: Work that’s diverse, and work that’s a challenge. I’m attracted to challenging work even though it sends me crazy sometimes. 

I like doing new things. I like helping people. Creating new things. In my work life it is always fresh; it’s new every day.

(How reassuring is that? Knowing that an unexpected challenge popping up during your auditing process for instance is not going to phase the consultant you have engaged to make your life easier. In fact, it may enthuse her! That is someone I would want working for me.) 

What are the highlights of your life to date?

Jen:  Seeing polar bears in their natural environment when travelling to the Arctic. That was a life changing altering moment! (Wow!!)

University. True! I actually really enjoyed it as it’s something I’d always wanted to do. I do miss it now. I actually had to forcefully stop myself from signing up to a new uni degree over my last holiday break. (LOL. The delight of studying something new can be addictive!)

Sometimes I can be a collector of people. Many years back I attended a meeting in Canberra where I met Sharon who was to become my business partner, the person who was to be my mentor, and my future husband Andrew. Three connections that thereafter were to shape the course of my life. All at one meeting! What if I had been sick that day and not gone! In fact when I arrived I actually thought I was at the wrong meeting. 

(Wow that’s serendipity! It’s those little sliding door moments in life that can change everything isn’t it?)

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Jen: Tenacious, Reflective and Ethical.

(I can definitely attest to Jen being each of those. I have worked with Jen at various times over the past 26 years and her ethics have always been impeccable. 

Oh and just between you and I – Jen was the first person with her disability/health condition in the Southern Hemisphere to attain her scuba diving licence. Her medicos told her it was impossible. But impossible is not a word Jen is willing to accept. Yep that is certainly tenacious!) 

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Jen:  Be Firm! My colleague at EFA gave me that advice because I take on too much… I tend to carry everything… and she said to be firm in my response and I was. And it was a bloody excellent piece of advice!

(Being firm takes courage and self-care. It brings to mind a statement of Brene Brown’s “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” 

What is the most courageous thing you have done?

Jen: An expedition to the Arctic on a tall ship a couple of years ago. When we departed we were told to be careful because once we left the main area of Norway we were on our own – help was basically unavailable. It was nerve wracking at times. Walking on ice is slippery and dangerous and the terrain was rough and icy, especially precarious for someone with a vision impairment. When off-ship on expeditions we were constantly chaperoned by someone armed with a gun as a precaution against the wildlife. 

Despite that I banished any notion of anxiety and my inner adventurer took over.

I joined every expedition every day for fear I may miss out.

(Yep! That’s undoubtedly courageous. The idea of coming face to face on the ice with a polar bear – Yikes!!)

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Jen: I’m very proud of EFA and who we are today as a company. Going from a sole trader thirty odd years ago when I was a speaker and vocational trainer to establishing and running my own company today. 

Another of my overarching achievements is the various work roles I have been involved with at JAS-ANZ over thirteen years. I am the only person with a disability who has achieved the quality of projects that I have achieved with JAS-ANZ. 

In 2020 I was featured in YMag as one of the eight Australian Female Change Makers of the year.

What could you not live without?

Jen:  Border Collies. I truly love training dogs and border collies are intelligent. They can be trained to do so much. One thing I like the most about them is that at the point when you feel confident you have resolved a training issue a border collie is smart enough to have found an alternative way to get what they want, within the rules. It can be a battle of wills and intellect with border collies. That makes it fun!

(Pets have a way of getting you to do what they want don’t they?)

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?

Jen:  Gough Whitlam. Gough entered politics with such interesting and progressive ideas such as free education and universal health care. Regardless of what side of politics one is on people with such progressive ideas are equaling.

(Reliving those crucial moments in the 70s would be a rare gaze into a key turning point for Australia for sure.)

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?

Jen:  Electric Avenue (an old 1982 favourite from Eddy Grant). As kids a friend and myself would walk down our street eating fish and chips singing Electric Avenue. We would change the lyrics and replace them with our street name. Even though I don’t necessarily like the song it brings back wonderful memories. Songs have a way of attaching themselves to our lives through memories. 

(Now that brings back images of flared jeans, Countdown, Chiko rolls, big afro hair dos, and leotards. Eek!!) 

The EFA Enquirer: 4 June 2021 11

Jen Engels
Director


EFA Internal Audit Training  

Whoa! This happened quickly! The upcoming EFA Internal Audit Training on 21 June is Sold Out. There is obviously a lot of demand for online quality training such as this and we are already working on scheduling the next one. We may live and breathe auditing but we understand not everyone does so we also want to make it simple and easy to learn and, dare we say, fun! 

Keep an eye on our upcoming newsletters and website for details for the next workshop in the near future. Let us know also about any other areas of training which are a priority for you


NDIS Fact Sheet – Residential Aged Care Providers:  Behaviour Support and Restrictive Practice Requirements

The NDIS has published an easy to follow flowchart relating to restrictive practice requirements for residential aged care providers who transitioned to the NDIS Commission from 1 December 2020. The flowchart clearly outlines the responsibilities of registered providers depending on whether there is a behaviour support plan in place or not, and is useful for all NDIS providers.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 outlines definitions of regulated restrictive practices. Further information on restricted practices can be found in the NDIS Regulated Restrictive Practices Guide that we discuss in the article below.


NDIS Regulated Restrictive Practices Guide

This comprehensive guide explains what a restrictive practice is (and isn’t) and seeks to inform providers on the five types of regulated restrictive practices, notably:

  • chemical restraint
  • environmental restraint
  • mechanical restraint
  • physical restraint
  • seclusion

The guide will assist you in identifying each regulated restrictive practice as they may apply to the support you provide for certain individuals. It explains practice advice consistent with a positive behaviour support framework and contemporary evidence informed practice. The intention is to reduce and potentially eliminate the use of restrictive practices where it is possible. 
 
Importantly the NDIS guide highlights the possible impacts and important considerations that providers need to be aware of with the use of regulated restrictive practices. 
 
The area of Restrictive practices and behaviour support is one of the compliance priorities for the NDIS Commission, and it is important for providers either developing and/or implementing behaviour support plans to fully understand and demonstrate implementation of these requirements.
 
We can help providers with:
–       tailored policies and procedures which work to address the requirements of the relevant NDIS Practice Standards and associated NDIS (Restrictive Practice and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018;
–       internal audits of your current restrictive practice and behaviour support practices;
–       training/workshops to demystify these requirements. 


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 3 May 2021

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Introducing Rachael Gratton, EFA Client Engagement Administration Manager
  • NDIS Key Compliance & Enforcement Priorities
  • Participate in the Survey on Assistance Animals

 

Rachael is EFA’s Heartbeat and Backbone 

Her commitment to the people EFA supports is legendary

The first point of call when you contact Engels Floyd & Associates quite often is Rachael Gratton, our Client Engagement Administration Manager. It’s true that Rach has her fingers on the pulse of all the logistical aspects of EFA. When an organisation is based across three states and various locations that is not an easy task in itself. Rach is adept at bringing several branches of EFA into a tapestry of connectedness, efficiency, and flow. 

Rachael and I chatted about her life in EFA. Her passion and drive for her work is so refreshing and gave me much deeper insight into the woman behind her work role. In fact, Rachael epitomises a quote of Rumi’s; “Do what you love and do it with love.”

What do you love about your work?

Rachael: I’m going to keep it simple!

Working with a great team of people. We all are here to make a difference and to do the very best we can, to get the job done. 

Jen and Sharon have been around a long time. They know their stuff! Almost every day they teach me something new. 

What I truly love about working with EFA – One day is never the same as the other. Every day is different. It pushes me to learn new things and I am constantly evolving and growing. 

(I don’t know about you but I actually find this incredibly motivating. I have no doubt we all dream of a work environment and team that is as inspiring and satisfying.) 

What are the highlights of your life to date?

Rachael: When I’m connecting with my passion and being creative. 

Finding things I’m truly passionate about that I can’t wait to wake up and get back into. 

Something people may not know about me; years ago I discovered my inner confidence as a fitness instructor and I also trained in the Army when I was 18. My latest highlight:- Teaching myself to play the guitar.  

(A lot of skills indeed! That’s why Rach excels in so many areas!)

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Rachael: Conscientious, Loyal, and Introspective. 

(We can all attest to that!)

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Rachael: Just be the best version of myself!

Don’t try to be like anyone else and don’t compare. 

(Ah! If we were all as wise, the world would be sweeter.)

What is the most courageous thing you have done?

Rachael: Allowing myself to be vulnerable. Putting myself in a position that required regular public speaking, in group fitness training. This takes bravery and courage as everyone’s eyes and ears were honed on me. 

(And as Brene Brown states in her very famous TED talk, ‘Vulnerability is the strongest emotion’. How many of us choose vulnerability when given the chance? It’s hard!) 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Rachael: The pleasure of working everyday with a small yet high achieving team. Not everyone loves their job and looks forward to going to work every day. I do!

I’m happy within my skin and the progress I have made from an extremely shy person to teaching group fitness classes. 

(All this from someone who says she wouldn’t say ‘Boo!’ to a soul. 

This is exactly the type of person I want to work alongside.) 

 

What could you not live without? 

Rachael: Coffee! Coffee is a necessity! 

I can’t function ‘Coffeeless’. 

Everything else – I could live without!

(LOL – I understand that!)

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?

Rachael:  Oprah. She’s so wise!

I love listening to her podcasts. I like how her podcasts are designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?

Rachael: My partner would say; “Everything!”

My singing voice is terrible but I can’t help myself. Sometimes even in public. If I don’t remember the lyrics I make up my own. 

It’s just so cathartic. 

(Classic!)
 

What is Rachael’s actual role with Engels Floyd & Associates

Often Rachael will be the first person you will speak with at EFA and her warm welcoming nature and down to earth approach will inspire confidence. Rach has an extensive background in stakeholder engagement and administration with national accreditation bodies including the Australian Pharmacy Council and Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. 

To build rapport, put her best foot forward, and go above and beyond expectations is her aim. When you deal with Rachael, you know that you will receive the highest levels of professionalism possible.

The EFA Enquirer: 3 May 2021 13

 


NDIS Commission’s Key Compliance & Enforcement Priorities

Working in the NDIS space that we all do is a constantly evolving dynamic. The ‘NDIS Commission Compliance and Enforcement priorities 2020–21’ lists the key quality and safeguarding issues the NDIS Commission will focus on in their compliance and enforcement activities during 2020 to 2021.

What this also means in reality, is that the Commission is visiting some providers unannounced and you may receive such a visit in the future. Compliance checks are actually a completely separate process to external auditing. From these checks a number of compliance notices have been issued to some providers.  

One of EFA specialities involves helping providers in those technical areas, particularly around conducting independent reviews, and training. The training has included restrictive practices and behaviour support, internal audits, and quality management. 

Get the Fact Sheet here which identifies the top six priorities for the NDIS Commission this year. If you require assistance with those areas to see if your organisation has everything it requires to adequately comply with those priorities we can support you. That’s what we do remarkably well!


Participate in the Survey on Assistance Animals

The Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments are seeking the views on, and feedback from organisations and individuals involved with assistance animals. They aim to improve certainty for people with disabilities who use 

assistance animals through the development of a combined, nationally consistent approach to the regulation and accreditation of assistance animals. 

The Department of Social Services (DSS) asks for feedback from:

  • Assistance animal training organisations
  • Assistance animal trainers
  • Disability peak bodies
  • Service providers
  • People living with disability
  • Carers, family members or friends of pole with disability
  • Advocates for people with disability
  • People who work for a disability organisation
  • Any other interested parties

An online survey can be found on the DSS website but please be quick. This survey closes at midnight on 7th May.

If you have feedback on our newsletter, would like to see information on a particular topic in an upcoming newsletter, or want to find out more about the seriously good work we do to support you – Please contact us here.


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

The EFA Enquirer: 1 April 2021

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Introducing Linda Blaik, EFA Associate.
  • NDIS Fact Sheet: Dysphagia, Safe Swallowing and Mealtime Management Provider Alert
  • NDIS Code of Conduct

 
Who is Linda Blaik?
Besides a valuable member of our team!

Not a woman to turn away from adversity, to disappear quietly into the background, or to turn her back on someone in need – this is Linda. When one first meets Linda Blaik they may get a sense of her wicked and genuine sense of humour and her gusto for life.

Linda Blaik considers herself a diamond in the rough, but given her exposure on national and international disability platforms, we think her natural state is very polished indeed. Linda is an experienced and credentialed facilitator, having convened a range of Disability Awareness sessions for Deakin University, TAFE’s too many to mention and a range of corporate clients such as Mercure and Quest Apartment chains. Linda has regular speaking engagements nationally and internationally including at the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) conference in 2019 in Boston, USA. 

Linda was also the first person with lived experience of disability to be selected as a member of the Committee for Geelong, on the Strategy and Policy Sub-committee and has been engaged in a number of research projects in recent years. Her far-reaching experience across the Geelong community spectrum for over 25 years, and her interaction and networking with a diversity of people over that time has certainly facilitated a strong sense of leadership and stakeholder relationship management in Linda. 

Linda is a sitting member of Guide Dogs Victoria, Client Engagement Council, and has been Coordinator of the Guide Dogs Victoria Dogs Unite Walk. She is a Member of the Accessible Cities Task Force and DHHS Steering Committee and was a Finalist in Women in Community Life Award in 2017 and 2018, and in 2015 was a Local Heroes nominee in Australian of the Year Award.

Even though we love raving about her talents, Linda’s resume is too extensive for it all to fit here! She lives in Geelong with her husband David and Guide Dog Daicos and we are very excited to have her join our team. In fact, we sought her out as we knew Linda would add a new jewel to the crown of Engels Floyd & Associates. 

I caught up with Linda today to delve a little deeper into the woman behind the image.

What do you love about your work?

Linda: It’s variety! It varies from job to job. Giving answers to questions that people want to know.

What are the highlights of your life to date?

Linda: 1. Getting married to David, 2. Raising three admirable children, 3. Having three lovely grandchildren, and 4. Feeling privileged to visit the USA twice with my good friend and colleague Jennifer Engels to hear and meet with Donny Osmond. (Some of you may remember those songs Donny used to break hearts with!)

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Linda: Loyal. Determined. Easy going. (Technically that’s four words but who’s counting!)

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Linda: ’What will be will be.” (I’m sure Doris Day would agree with that!) Take it as it comes!

What is the most courageous thing you have done?

Linda: Boarded an aeroplane and flown to America. Walked the streets on New York at night as a totally blind woman. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Linda: Being headhunted by EFA. (That’s us!!)

What could you not live without?

Linda: My guide dog.

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?

Linda: Peter Daicos, ex Collingwood AFL player, just for a social chat. Christine Couzens to ask her about where she came from and how she got to where she is now. Julia Gillard to explore her thoughts on the NDIS today. 

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?

Linda: Scooby Dooby Doo. (Classic!!!) 

So what is Linda’s role with Engels Floyd & Associates

As providers are aware, there are a number of requirements under the NDIS Practice Standards that require providers to seek feedback from participants. 

The EFA best practice approach to helping providers with this is to offer an expert, independent individual to engage directly with your participants, families and chosen supporters (in a way that will work best for them) to collect this feedback and provide you with a report. 

Why is our approach best practice you ask? Because our expert has lived experience of disability, is an NDIS participant herself and has decades of experience in group facilitation, particularly for people with disability. This approach is unique to EFA. Linda fits that role perfectly and offers so much more skill and versatility. 

Linda will also offer a component of EFA’s unique Disability Awareness training which is available to disability support providers. As Linda states: “I have lived it so you can learn it.” Reviewing the accessibility of websites, apps and printed materials is Linda’s other important role. 

Life feels somewhat more carefree and less serious when Linda is around. And the benefits of that cannot be underestimated!

The EFA Enquirer: 1 April 2021 15


Dysphagia, Safe Swallowing and Mealtime Management Provider Alert

A new practice alert provides guidance on supporting people with disability who have difficulty with swallowing. Dysphagia refers to difficulty with swallowing and is associated with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions. People with disability who have dysphagia are more likely to die from choking or respiratory illnesses or have serious health complications because of poor management of dysphagia. In fact, this was one area that was highlighted in the research findings by Dr Carmela Salomon and Professor Julian Trollor on behalf of NDIS. I’m sure you would agree that we would all like to reduce or eliminate the overall incidence of these unnecessary deaths.   

Get the Fact Sheet here which explains the risks associated with dysphagia, how to support NDIS participants with dysphagia, and your obligations as an NDIS provider.


Updated NDIS Code of Conduct

It could be timely to update yourself on the NDIS Code of Conduct. A code is valuable both as an internal guideline and an external statement of corporate values and commitments and is an important part of providing support, transparency, and demonstrating your ongoing commitment to everyone receiving NDIS. At an organisational level it can underpin a central guide and reference for employees to support day-to-day decision making.

If you have feedback on our newsletter, would like to see information on a particular topic in an upcoming newsletter, or want to find out more about the seriously good work we do to support you – Please contact us here.


While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.