Participant File reviews

EFA has recently been part of an important project for the NDIS Commission with our partner ARTD consulting. This project  aims to help Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers supporting NDIS participants during their NDIS registration processes.

We are pleased to advise that there are now available a number of fact sheets, tools, resources and webinars to not only support RAC providers but also NDIS participants, auditors and other stakeholders when undertaking audit activities as part of their mandatory registration renewal process.  You might recognise our EFA Directors, Jen Engels and Sharon Floyd in the webinars!

Here’s the link for more info:
https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/providers/registered-ndis-providers/provider-obligations-and-requirements/residential-aged-care-0

Revised High Intensity Support Skills Descriptor Frequently Asked Questions

Revised High Intensity Support Skills Descriptor Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NDIS New Regulatory Tool – Enforceable Actions

NDIS New Regulatory Tool – Enforceable Actions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EFA has recently been part of an important project for the NDIS Commission with our partner ARTD consulting. This project  aims to help Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers supporting NDIS participants during their NDIS registration processes.

We are pleased to advise that there are now available a number of fact sheets, tools, resources and webinars to not only support RAC providers but also NDIS participants, auditors and other stakeholders when undertaking audit activities as part of their mandatory registration renewal process.  You might recognise our EFA Directors, Jen Engels and Sharon Floyd in the webinars!

Here’s the link for more info:
https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/providers/registered-ndis-providers/provider-obligations-and-requirements/residential-aged-care-0

Renewing your NDIS Registration

EFA has recently been part of an important project for the NDIS Commission with our partner ARTD consulting. This project  aims to help Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers supporting NDIS participants during their NDIS registration processes.

We are pleased to advise that there are now available a number of fact sheets, tools, resources and webinars to not only support RAC providers but also NDIS participants, auditors and other stakeholders when undertaking audit activities as part of their mandatory registration renewal process.  You might recognise our EFA Directors, Jen Engels and Sharon Floyd in the webinars!

Here’s the link for more info:
https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/providers/registered-ndis-providers/provider-obligations-and-requirements/residential-aged-care-0

Dual NDIS and Aged Care Registration Requirements for Residential Aged Care (RAC) Providers

This article provides an update on NDIS RAC ‘modified audits’. Legislation was amended in April 2023 to allow for these type of audits.

Background

NDIS participants living in Residential Aged Care are dual participants of the NDIS and aged care systems.

On 1 December 2020, Residential Aged Care providers delivering services to NDIS participants in their facilities automatically became registered NDIS providers.  This ensured that all RAC providers were required to meet the requirements under the NDIS Code of Conduct and the NDIS Practice Standards.

After 1 December 2020, RAC providers were required to apply for registration with the NDIS Commission as a new applicant in the following circumstances:

•         they receive direct funding from the NDIA to deliver supports and services to NDIS participants; and/or

•         they develop behaviour support plans; and/or

•         they implement regulated restrictive practices; and/or

•         they operate Specialist Disability Accommodation; and/or

•         they deliver plan management supports to NDIS participants.

Given that most of the NDIS participants RAC providers support receive direct funding from the NDIA, they will be required to register with the NDIS Commission.  As such, dual registration with the Aged Care Quality Commission and NDIS Commission is required for RAC providers resulting in dual compliance requirements.

Modified RAC audits

The NDIS Commission has considered that the existing aged care audit process through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is a ‘comparable quality audit process’ for NDIS registration purposes. This means there is scope for some eligible RAC providers to undertake a modified NDIS RAC audit  which will minimise duplication in compliance requirements. To decide if a modified NDIS RAC audit is applicable, the AQA needs to consider a range of factors including the most recent aged care accreditation audit, the RAC provider’s plan for continuous improvement, status of any complaints, and any sanctions for non-compliance with aged care responsibilities.  

RAC providers will need to discuss this option with their Approved Quality Auditor to review if they are eligible for this pathway. Authorisation from the NDIS Commission is then required before the modified NDIS RAC audit can take place.

How EFA can help

EFA in partnership with ARTD, were recently involved in a project with the NDIS Commission assisting Residential Aged Care (RAC) providers supporting NDIS participants during their NDIS registration processes. This included the development of a Residential Aged Care Provider Toolkit including a number of fact sheets, tools, resources and webinars to not only support RAC providers but also NDIS participants, auditors and other stakeholders when undertaking audit activities as part of their mandatory registration renewal process.  Our involvement means we have an excellent understanding of the NDIS RAC modified audit requirements. We encourage RAC providers to review these resources and see how they may help you in your NDIS registration process.

If you require any assistance understanding your NDIS obligations and preparing for your NDIS audit please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.

New NDIS Practice Alert on High Risk Restrictive Practices

Did you know the NDIS Commission released a new Practice Alert on High Risk Restrictive Practices?

In January 2023, the NDIS Commission released a new Practice Alert on high risk restrictive practices.

The NDIS Act 2013 defines a restrictive practice as ‘any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability’. High risk restrictive practices covered in the practice alert include restrictive practices that fall within the definitions of the five restrictive practices that are ‘regulated restrictive practices’, and other practices that are not regulated but that restrict the rights of a person with disability.

High-risk restrictive practices place participants at high risk of harm and are associated with adverse and catastrophic outcomes for participants such as long-term psychological or physical injury and death.

High risk restrictive practices can include:

  • Specific forms of physical restraint that present high risk to participant health, wellbeing and safety eg basket hold, prone and supine restraint, pin downs and takedown techniques
  • Punitive approaches that may constitute emotional, psychological and/or social abuse of a participant eg aversive practices, denial of key needs, practices related to degradation or vilification, overcorrection, practices that limit or deny access to culture or remove positive items or activities because of the person’s behaviour.

Additionally, there are practices not referred to in the practice alert that are prohibited in the state or territory in which providers and workers may operate. Providers and workers should be aware of the practices that are prohibited by law in the state or territory in which they operate.

Any high-risk restrictive practices must be ceased immediately and replaced with proactive and evidence-informed alternatives. If the practice is included in a positive behaviour support plan for a participant, the practice must be ceased and removed from the plan.

The NDIS Commissioner remains concerned about the use of high risk restrictive practices in the sector and use of these practices by NDIS providers constitutes a serious breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct. The NDIS Commissioner will take strong action against any provider and individuals that engage in these practices.

We recommend NDIS providers read the Practice Alert and review their current practices to ensure that no high risk restrictive practices are in use.  If you are concerned about your current practices or would like to have a discussion on how you are implementing restrictive practices in your business please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.

Consumer Rights

As an NDIS provider do you know your clients have consumer rights for the supports they purchase under Australian Consumer Law?

Just like regular businesses providing goods and services to consumers, businesses who provide goods and services to consumers with a disability have obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA), referred to as Australian Consumer Law and the NDIS Code of Conduct. The consumer law provides a set of protections and obligations for any consumer transaction within Australia, including those through the NDIS.

Under the Australian Consumer Law, NDIS participants have the following rights when purchasing a product or service:

  • the right to be treated fairly
  • the right to be given accurate information before they buy
  • the right to cancel a faulty service
  • the right to purchase goods or services that are of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and match the description or sample provided to the consumer (consumer guarantees). When the consumer guarantees are not met consumers are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund depending on the severity of the failure.

These consumer rights apply to:

  • general products (e.g. groceries, clothes and household items)
  • disability related products (e.g. an assistive hearing device or mobility aids) 
  • services (e.g. accommodation, cleaning, cooking, personal care, gardening services or case management supports).

The ACCC have released resources to assist NDIS participants and providers understand consumer rights when selling and buying goods and services.

We recommend NDIS providers read the following  Guide to competition and consumer law: for businesses selling to and supplying consumers with disability | ACCC to help understand their obligations under Australian Consumer Law (ACL). 

Breaches of NDIS participants consumer rights are a key concern of relevant government agencies.  On 22 January 2021, the ACCC, NDIA and the NDIS Commission jointly issued an open co-signed letter to NDIS providers. The letter was issued to remind NDIS providers (both registered and unregistered) of their obligations to consumers under both the ACL and the Code.

In the letter all agencies said that they were aware of a number of emerging consumer issues within the disability sector, with some NDIS providers not meeting their consumer protection obligations. Issues affecting vulnerable consumers are an enduring priority for the ACCC and they will not hesitate to take action when these laws are breached including serious financial penalties, court ordered corrective actions and reputational costs. 

Some conduct that is in breach of the consumer law may also lead to action being taken by the NDIS Commission against a provider under the NDIS Code of Conduct. For example, ‘sharp practices’ are considered unethical and are discouraged under the NDIS Code of Conduct and may also constitute conduct that is considered misleading and in contravention of the consumer law. ‘Sharp practices’ refers to unfair treatment or taking advantage of people. Examples of this include: 

  • providing services or expending funds contrary to a person with disability’s approved plan 
  • asking for or accepting any additional fees for providing the service 
  • offering inducements or rewards that have no particular link to a person’s NDIS plan and that could be perceived to encourage people to take up or continue with your organisation or a particular service option, and 
  • engaging in high-pressure sales tactics.

The ACCC have also released a range of useful resources for NDIS participants in different formats to help them understand and use their consumer rights when they pay for a product or service themselves or through their state or territory’s disability support system, including complaints pathways. Consumers with disability | ACCC.  We recommend you make your NDIS participants aware of these resources and their consumer rights.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised above or any other NDIS requirements that are impacting your business please contact us on 0478 616 207 or info@engelsfloyd.com for a complimentary consultation.

NDIS Workforce Capability Position Description Tool

NDIS Workforce Capability Position Description Tool 1

Having the right position descriptions are vital to attracting the right people to your organisation with the skills and knowledge that are suited to the role and your NDIS business.

 A position description provides useful information to potential workers about the role and expectations and provides feedback to existing workers.

The NDIS Workforce Capability Framework describes the attitudes, skills and knowledge that service providers and workers should demonstrate when delivering services to people with disability under the NDIS. 

The Framework describes core worker capabilities that can give your workers and potential workers a clearer understanding about both the type of work and how it should be done. 

The core capabilities can be used as the foundation for building and reviewing current position descriptions that are suited to different participant needs and delivery environments.

The NDIS Commission has released a Position Description Tool to support NDIS providers to develop position descriptions based on the capabilities in the Framework.

The tool will help you create detailed position descriptions that include important information of the position and that aligns with the Workforce Capability Framework.  

The tool is interactive and will automatically populate with capabilities from the Framework based on the type of role you are creating. 

We encourage all NDIS providers to read about the NDIS Workforce Capability Framework and gain an understanding of the capabilities you need to deliver supports and review how the Position Description Tool can be used in your organisation.

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