What is the Quality and Safeguard Commission?
An overview of certification
In this article, I will explain a little about the new Quality and Safeguards Commission, the verification and certification processes and the general implications for your private practice. Heads up, this is a high-level summary and a lot more reading and conversation will be required.
In the past providers have registered to the NDIS directly and have had to apply on a state by state basis. Providers who work across more than one state have had to apply to each state individually. In addition, each state has had its own variations and its own set of state-based disability service standards. The new Quality and Safeguards Commission is a new entity that changes all this.
The Q&SC was first proposed a couple of years ago. It is a new independent commonwealth body established to define and oversee the quality of supports and services delivered under the NDIS. A quick google of NDIS Quality and Safeguards commission brings up several must-read articles. The big one to read is the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, yes its 104 pages, explains the structure and function of the Q&S Commission, it is a must-read for providers. It contains the core concepts and language you need to understand in proceeding forward to the post-July 1, 2018, certification world. The Commission will provide national and consistent management of all NDIS providers.
The Q&S Commission is independent of the NDIS. “The NDIS Commission will implement the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework which was released by the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council in February 2017… The Framework sets out a national system to support NDIS participants, carers and providers – upholding the standards that participants deserve, and ensuring clarity on the rights and responsibilities of participants, providers and their staff.” Its functions will include complaints handling, reportable incidents, worker screening, NDIS Code of Conduct, behaviour support, monitoring, investigation and enforcement, registration and quality assurance, development and capacity building. Graeme Head has been appointed as the Commissioner, his role starts formally July 1st, 2018. It is understood that the Q&S Commission will be based in Western Sydney with eventual office presence throughout the states and territories.
Providers currently registered will have their NDIS agreements transition to the Commission. Providers in NSW and SA will transition first, July 2018. Providers in Vic, Qld, Tas, ACT and NT will transition in July 2019. Western Australian providers will transition July 2020. To ease this process all providers are requested to check that all their details are correct and current in the portal to help communications. Fingers crossed that this all goes smoothly. Unsure at this stage whether additional documents are required.
Within in the Q&S Commission, there will be two registration pathways. If your business delivers lower risk and fewer complex supports and services you will complete the verification process. If your business delivers higher risk and more complex supports and services you will complete the certification process. The later is compared to TPV, third-party verification. We await finalization of exactly what lower / higher risk and less / more complex support look like. We also await the processes behind this and who will be making these allocations.
We also await the NDIS Practice Standards document. Reportedly this is being finalised and will be reviewed by Parliament in May 2018. This document is a critical read as it provides the specific standards against which providers will be audited. Meanwhile, you are strongly encouraged to read the Department of Social Services – National Service Standards for Disability Services.
In summary, providers are in for a further period of change and challenge. Our NSW and SA provider colleagues will pioneer the system, for this, we will offer them full assistance. In readiness you are urged to read all emails from the NDIS and Quality and Safeguards Commission, check to ensure all your details are correct in the portal and read the documents suggested. We will update you on our Facebook page and in the Practice Made Perfect facebook group, so please join us there.