National Quality and Safeguarding Commission release NDIS Registration and Practice Standards Rules 

Association staff have reviewed the Practice Standards Rules that were released on 18th May 2018. View the full document.

Below is a summary of the key points.

Summary

Please note that the Rules predominantly follow information that was released during the provider workshops and do not provide explicit detail of all of the requirements, so it is possible that there will be further documents released prior to the roll out of the National Quality and Safeguarding Framework (NSQF) in SA and NSW on 1 July.

Certification vs Verification:

The following registration groups have been confirmed as needing either verification (discussed in the forums as a low level desktop audit) or certification (external audit by a registered auditor).

Registration Group  Type of Audit  Applicable Standards 
Therapeutic Supports   Verification Schedule 8/Module 6 (see page 39)
Early Childhood Supports  Certification Schedule 1/Core Module (See page 22)* and Schedule 5/Module 3 (See page 34)
Communication and Information Equipment  Verification Schedule 8/Module 6 (see page 39)
Specialist Positive Behavioural Supports  Certification Schedule 1/Core Module (See page 22) and Schedule 3/Module 2 (See page 30)
High Intensity Daily Personal Activities- including tracheostomy suctioning and enteral feeding management  Certification Schedule 1/Core Module (See page 22) and Schedule 2/Module 1 (See page 28)

 

* Please note that there is an exemption for sole providers or partnerships wishing to provide early childhood supports, whereby they are only required to be assessed against item 7 of schedule 1 (Freedom from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation or discrimination), rather than the entire module. They are required to be assessed against the entirety of Schedule 5 which is specific to Early Childhood Supports.

- It should also be noted that on page 17 it states that body corporates (incorporated companies) must undergo certification, regardless of the registration group/s registration is being sought for.

- Government providers- including those previously registered as Commonwealth Providers- must also undergo certification for all registration groups.

- If a provider meets a standard (such as risk management) when undertaking certification (e.g. when registering for behavioural supports) then this is deemed to be met for any additional verification requirements they may have to comply with (e.g. those same standards under module 6).

Verification

It has been stated that providers wishing to register for therapeutic supports and communication and information equipment are only required to undergo verification. They have stated that this involves meeting standards around:

  • Risk management
  • Complaints management and resolution
  • Incident management
  • HR management.

More information is available in Schedule 8/Module 6 on page 39.

Transitional Arrangements:

  • To remain registered, providers of Early Childhood supports must comply with clause 7 of the Core Module if they are a sole trader or partnership, and clauses 2-7, as well as 14, 15 and 24 of the Core Module if they are a larger business.
  • To remain registered, providers of Specialist Positive Behaviour Supports must comply with clauses 2-7, 14, 15, 20 and 24.
  • Providers of Therapeutic Supports, and providers of Communication and Information Equipment do not have to comply with sections 20, 21 and 22 of the standards (see page 14-17) during the transitional period.
  • The transitional period starts at the transition time e.g. 1st July 2018 for SA and NSW and ends at the shortest point, either:
    • As described in writing by the NQS commissioner (at least 14 days from the date of the written notice),
    • The day after a decision has been reached by the NQS commissioner following the request of the provider (which must be reached within 28 days of the written notice),
    • If the provider’s registration is revoked,
    • The expiry period as per 73E (5) (e) of the Act “the period for which the registration is in force”.

Early Childhood Supports

The practice standards are outlined in Module 3 on page 34. They appear to align with the Best Practice Standards for Early Childhood, but are quite broad. They have confirmed that providers will be expected to provide collaborative, co-operative and inclusive practices that are family centred and outcomes focused. It is not specified that only registered providers are allowed to provide these supports e.g. under these rules, self-managed or plan managed participants will still be able to use unregistered providers to see participants who require early childhood supports. .

Specialist Positive Behavioural Supports

It has been confirmed that only registered providers will be able to provide these supports.
The practice standards are outlined in Module 2 on page 30 and Module 2A specifically regarding behavioural support plans. There are specific points regarding restrictive practice, in particular that providers who use, or might need to use restrictive practice should be registered under this group, and any emergency or unauthorised use of a restrictive practice must be reported to the Commissioner. It is also specified on page 5 that all participants funded under this area should have a behaviour support plan.

What information has not yet been provided:

It is unclear as to the exact dates or time periods providers will have in order to submit their evidence of compliance against the standards. It has also not been specified how long certification or verification will remain valid for.

A list of auditing bodies has not as yet been released. Whilst there was talk of certain financial grants or assistance during the forums, this has not been confirmed.
Whilst the standards have been outlined, there is not specific detail on what certain terms will mean, or what type of evidence will be accepted to achieve compliance. The Code of Conduct for providers has not yet been released, but may provide further detail.

Final Messages

The standards will be in force for registered providers, or those providers wishing to register in SA and NSW as of the 1 July 2018, then in VIC, QLD, NT, ACT and TAS 1 July 2019 and WA 1 July 2020. The impact on unregistered providers is that they will no longer be able to provide Specialist Positive Behaviour Supports, however they will still be able to provide Early Childhood Supports and Therapeutic supports under the new framework.

It has been made clear by the Commissioner that they are wanting to support providers to remain in the market, and that this process is not designed to be punitive. The Association will continue to advise members as and when further information is released, with an aim to provide supporting documentation and guidelines where possible.