National Disability Insurance Scheme News

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


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.


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 1


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 3

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.

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