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 1

 


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 2

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 3

 


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 4


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.

Embracing Change

Embracing Change 5

As Benjamin Disraeli a British statesman and novelist once said; “Change is inevitable. Change is constant”. Okay sure, change does have its challenges because it forces us to grow but look at the wonderful achievements and advances globally and personally because of the human ability to change. 

Working in such an innovative area as we all do in supporting people with disability is one where change is interwoven in our daily lives. How does the prospect of change sit within your organisation? Is it something people have a certain level of comfort with or does it feel as though you are constantly at odds with people and as though you are pushing against resistance?

An interesting article from Leadership Management Australia with some great tips on how to look at and work with change in your workplace is Coping With Change in the Workplace. One of the key strategies mentions the following: “You may need to learn new skills, integrate different processes or redirect resources. Be honest with what is required and see the change as an opportunity to streamline and learn”. This is where we can help. We are adept at supporting you with your training so that it is streamlined, smooth, relevant, tailored to your organisational needs, and so that it takes a weight off your shoulders. Contact us to see how we can make this process easy.


Delivery of personal support to participants who live alone

Are you aware of the changes to the conditions of registration for registered NDIS providers delivering assistance with daily personal activities? The NDIS fact sheet explains the new registration condition that applies to the delivery of personal supports to participants who live alone. This additional condition does apply to all NDIS providers who are registered to deliver 0107 – Assistance With Daily Personal Activities whether or not they currently support someone living alone. We understand the NDIS Commission’s state offices are undertaking onsite compliance checks of these types of supports. Contact us if you wish to review your current processes to make sure they comply.


Behaviour Support

Let’s face it, behaviour support is a topic that is peppered with lots of complexities. The NDIS National Implementation of Behaviour Support Practitioner Suitability Assessments fact sheet contains information on a national program that is rolling out state by state over the course of 2021. Behaviour support is one of the priority compliance areas for the NDIS Commission, and this is something you need to be on top of! There are quite a few steps involved in preparing your organisation for this. If it seems daunting contact us at Engels Floyd & Associates and we can help you make sense of it all. We are here to help you!  

The NDIS Commission has also just released a new guide for Regulated Restrictive Practices for children. We know this also is a difficult area, and we look forward to the Easy English version that is being developed.


Uber

Have you seen the latest announcement from Uber? This could be really useful for the people you work with and support who are in the Multi Purpose Taxi Program and who are wanting to also utilise Uber. Uber is offering a 50% discount for Uber rides. Here’s the info.


And lastly, when the prospect of change and adapting seems to be overwhelming, stepping away from it and getting into nature is always useful. Even if is for a 30 minute break, creating space between a challenge and refreshing the mind can do wonders for being able to reconnect with your mojo and your ability to look at the ‘challenge’ from a new perspective. 

I’ll leave you with the words of the iconic Mahatma Gandhi; “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.

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.

October newsletter

We have been constantly checking the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s website to ensure we keep informed about any key changes/information. We have shared some latest information for your reference below, as well as some insights from ourselves about the significance of mid-term audits. 

Compliance checks by the Commission – Behaviour Support

The Commission’s activity report for the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 shows that during that period, it received 311,040 reportable incidents. More than 97% of these reports relate to the use of an unauthorised restrictive practice on a person with disability.

The use of restrictive practices is ‘unauthorised’ if its use has not been authorised in accordance with any state or territory requirements for authorisation and/or it is not used in accordance with a Behaviour Support Plan for the participant.

The NDIS Commission has a two-stage compliance action underway, targeting all providers who have used an unauthorised restrictive practice. The first phase has been underway over the last year and has been targeting providers in New South Wales and South Australia. The second phase will commence in October 2020 and will target providers in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

These compliance activities are additional to the external audit process. This means although providers may have been through an external audit, the Commission can still undertake these compliance checks, which can have an impact on registration.

We are aware of providers that have been subject to these compliance activities, and know that the NDIS Commission is looking very closely at existing policies, procedures and practices around Behaviour Support. 

We suggest:

If you are either developing behaviour support plans, and/or implementing behaviour support plans, you must continually review your policies and procedures to ensure they meet the current requirements of:

The NDIS Practice Standards

The NDIS Behaviour Support and Restrictive Practices Rules 2018

Your State/Territory government authorisation processes for restrictive practices

The Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework

There are a number of useful resources available on the NDIS Commission’s website to help you, though feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss further.

New resources to support incident reporting, management and prevention

The NDIS Commission has released new resources to support NDIS providers to meet their obligations under National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and to guide the continuous improvement of their incident management systems.

These resources complement the more detailed reportable incident guides available on the Commission’s website. They explain the benefits of effective incident management; outline the reportable incident obligations and timeframes, and the required elements of an incident management system.

 

We suggest:

You review your existing Incident Management policies and procedures, and update if necessary in light of these new resources.

 

Mid-Term Audits

Most providers in South Australia and New South Wales would have by now been through a mid-term audit. These audits take place half way (at 18 months) during the three yearly certification period. 

During these audits, it is mandatory that the audit team will assess:

Division 2 of the Core module (Governance and Operational Management)

Any Standard identified at the previous audit where a Corrective Action Plan was required to be implemented

Any Standard specified in writing to the provider from the NDIS Commission.

 

We suggest:

You continually keep on top of your Quality Management System, as it is the key to effective governance and operational management. Internal Audits are mandatory, and your audit team will be looking for evidence of a documented and operational program of internal audits by the time of the mid-term audit. Internal Audits are a great way to identify any potential problems early, and contributing towards improvement. Don’t forget, they are also a mechanism to illustrate what is going well – all good evidence to demonstrate to the audit team!

Training on Internal Audits and Quality Management generally is a great way to demonstrate training and professional development, as well as to feed into ongoing continuous improvement. We are currently providing this type of training, information and resources to a number of providers to maximise their governance and operational management.

Please feel free to contact us if you wish to chat about any of these topics, or any issues associated with your NDIS registration.