What are safeguards?
The aim of the NDIS is to give participants choice and control over their lives while helping to ensure they are not at risk of harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Why are safeguards needed?
Safeguards are important in minimising risk and helping to improve the level of service that organisations provide.
The NDIS is operating in a rapidly expanding market driven by participants' needs, and people with disability are increasingly exercising choice and control to reach their own goals. Therefore, a consistent approach is required on a national scale to ensure that participants can access services that promote choice, control and dignity.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission)
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is a new and independent commonwealth body. It works to promote safety, quality services, prevent harm, resolve problems and identify areas of improvement. Participants can raise concerns or complaints about the safety and quality of NDIS services with the NDIS commission. The NDIS Commission will also be responsible for the registration and regulation of NDIS providers across Australia, a function previously performed by the NDIA and states and territories.
The NDIS Commission will be in operation as follows:
- New South Wales and South Australia from 1 July 2018
- ACT, NT, Qld, Tas and Vic from July 2019
- WA from December 2020.
Until the NDIS Commission is in place in each jurisdiction, NDIS participants, providers and workers are covered under their state's or territory's existing quality and safeguards systems.
How will we help to safeguard participants from risk?
As the NDIS matures and more people with disability have choice and control over their lives, NDIS participants will play a more active role in determining their own safety mechanisms.
When the full roll out of the NDIS is complete, safeguards will include:
- Individualised strategies built into participant plans to help the participant, their family and support network reduce the risk of harm, through mechanisms such as advocates, guardians and nominees
- Arrangements that organisations put in place to protect participants, such as:
- staff supervision
- internal complaints processes
- quality frameworks
- system level safeguards such as:
- External review of decisions and actions that directly impact on a person, such as access to relevant tribunals or commissions
- community visitors schemes
- police checks and working with children checks
- community based safeguards that are available to all members of the community, such as:
- practitioner registration requirements
- ombudsman offices
- anti-discrimination, human rights and consumer protection law.
How will we work with participants to ensure safeguards?
We want to ensure that people with disability have the same rights as other members of Australian society. To their full capacity, people with disability can determine their own best interests, have choice and control, and be equal partners in decisions that affect their lives. This includes choices that may involve taking reasonable risks to pursue personal goals, experience life and have the necessary control over the planning and delivery of supports.
The NDIA will work with participants to build supportive networks to minimise potential harm, and empower them to participate in the community and take reasonable risks appropriate to their circumstances.
When will participant’s safeguards be discussed?
We encourage participants to consider the safeguards, strategies and support mechanisms they have in their lives when developing their statement of supports, deciding on their support requirements, developing their plan and putting their plan into action.
The planning conversation and the development of the individual support plans is an opportunity for an open discussion about actual and potential risks. The NDIA planner and participant work together to identify risks and any safeguards that may be required, and discuss plan management options. The planner helps to identify how participants can enhance the existing safeguards they have in their lives, ways they could enhance their capacity to protect themselves from risk, and other formal safeguarding mechanisms they might wish to access.
If required, an NDIS Local Area Coordinator can help to monitor and assist in strengthening safeguards in the participant’s life