The NDIS is one of the most important social reforms in Australian history. Its purpose is to make the difference so that people with disability can choose and achieve their goals.
NDIA has strengthened its fraud control arrangements to protect the Scheme and the Agency from exploitation through fraud. The NDIA and Commonwealth Government will not tolerate fraud or the misuse of funds intended to support people with disability.
What is fraud?
The Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017 defines fraud as 'Dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss by deception or other means.'
Fraud requires intent, which is more than carelessness, accident or error. To classify an activity as fraud, it must be deliberate, and lead to a direct, or indirect benefit or advantage, to an individual or group. A benefit is not restricted to a material benefit, and may be tangible or intangible, including information. The benefit, or advantage, may not necessarily be for the person committing the fraud; a benefit may be obtained by a third party.
Fraud in the context of the NDIS and NDIA
Examples of what fraud could potentially look like in our operating environment include:
- misuse of identity
- falsified documents
- theft of Agency equipment or information
- scams involving the NDIS or NDIA
- collusion with Agency officials to derive a benefit
- misuse of Agency funds
- provision of false information.
Consequences of fraud
Fraud committed against the NDIS, or the NDIA, poses a risk to the Scheme's long-term financial sustainability. Individuals seeking to exploit the NDIS or NDIA should be aware that fraud is a criminal offence. All suspected fraud matters escalated to NDIA's Investigation teams are investigated, there are serious consequences for fraud and employee misconduct.
Employees may be referred for Code of Conduct assessments and, if appropriate, prosecution. Other individuals found to be committing fraud against the NDIS will also be prosecuted.
How NDIA prevents and controls fraud
The Agency’s fraud control strategy includes the following activities:
- Prevent: the first line of defence
- Detect: of possible fraud and misconduct
- Investigate and respond: investigation, analysis, referral and recovery
- Monitor and report: providing assurance that fraud is controlled
Fraud prevention strategies are our first line of defence, we work with other agencies, and promote:
- strong fraud awareness by staff, contractors and providers
- stakeholders' awareness of their rights, responsibilities and obligations in relation to fraud and fraud reporting;
- regular reviews and evaluations of fraud awareness raising and education materials;
- continuous improvement of effective fraud controls; and
- an ethical culture.
Protecting the Scheme's financial sustainability is at the forefront of our minds, and our business. The strengthening of fraud control arrangements is achieved through regular fraud risk assessments to refresh the Agency's Fraud Control Plan. The NDIA Fraud Control Plan (the Plan) meets the Agency's responsibilities under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017. The Plan identifies key fraud risks, and by outlining the NDIA fraud control strategy, provides assurance that the NDIA appropriately manages those risks.
How NDIA handles confidential information
NDIS Participants, their families and carers, providers, the Australian community and governments expect the highest standards when it comes to integrity, privacy protection and efficacy in preventing fraud. These are responsibilities the NDIA does not take lightly; NDIA handles information in strict confidence, information is gathered and held securely. A Fraud Reporting mailbox and dedicated telephone line is in place to support detection. All reports of suspected fraud undergo an assessment to determine appropriate next steps.
Only qualified staff undertake investigations. Investigations undertaken by the Agency comply with:
- requirements of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2017
- Australian Government Investigation Standards.
The NDIA may refer investigations to the Australian Federal Police:
- for specific powers or capabilities, or
- if deemed necessary due to the nature of the suspected fraud.
How to report fraud
NDIS stakeholders have a responsibility to report suspected fraud. If you suspect someone may be committing fraud against the NDIA or NDIS you should report it. Your report will be kept confidential, and your rights are protected by law.
You can report suspected fraud by calling the Fraud Reporting Hotline on 1800 650 717 or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public officials can report suspected wrongdoing in the Australian public sector through the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) scheme. Information on the Australian Government's Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, the protection from reprisal action it offers to 'whistleblowers' and how to make a PID is available to staff in the NDIA's Fraud Control Plan and on our intranet site.
Where to go for more information
Visit the 'Reporting suspected fraud' page for information on how and what to report.
Additional information in relation to the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme is available on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website (external) (External website).
For information on scams, and how to protect yourself from scams, visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website (external) (External website) and Scam Watch (external) (External website).