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Your G8Way ... To Quality and Safeguards

To optimise success of the NDIS for Participants and service providers, a National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework (the Framework) has been established. The Framework is overseen by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Safeguards under the Framework are designed to support Participants exercise choice and control. They aim to mitigate the risk of harm to Participants and ensure high quality supports are provided to them. Safeguards are established to help prevent harm. They are the measures we take to protect ourselves, the Participants, their families, our co-workers and even organisations to prevent something undesirable from happening.

In this section you will learn about the national Quality and Safeguarding Framework, privacy and confidentiality, commitment to quality and continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement

The quality of your service may be measured by looking at how supports and services are delivered as well as by the outcomes achieved for individuals, their families, workers and service providers.

Each person has the right to complain about the quality or delivery of a service and has the opportunity to participate fully in the process of complaint resolution.

Welcoming feedback and seeing concerns as an opportunity to improve will help to create a positive environment for you, your colleagues and your customers.

Feedback

Feedback is an important way for people to have a say about a service.

All service providers should have a feedback process which encourages and welcomes comments, compliments or suggestions that can lead to ways of improving service delivery, systems or processes. In this way, service providers can build relationships, and work with each person to identify and attempt to resolve any issues before it escalates to a complaint.

Complaints

Complaints play an essential role in the continuous improvement cycle by identifying areas for improvement which can deliver positive outcomes for people with a disability, their families and carers.

A complaint is when a person indicates that they have an issue with the quality or delivery of the service they are receiving and are seeking resolution. Complaints can be made in a number of ways including informally, in writing and verbally. Participants can make a complaint directly to the service provider, to an external body or to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Service providers should include this information to inform service planning, identify areas for improvement and put in place strategies to address any areas requiring change at an individual or organisational level.

Complaints handling

It is important that you understand what the feedback and complaints processes are so that you know what do to if someone raises concerns with you.

The payment and receipt of supports are commercial transactions. Should disputes arise the Participant and service provider must, in the first instance, attempt to resolve the matter outlined in the Service Agreement.

If complaints are made to an independent government body about a service or support purchased with NDIS funding the relevant mechanism will depend on the nature of the complaint.

The nature of complaints

The following mechanism are available for NDIS Participants:

  • NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission can take complaints about services or supports that were not provided in a safe and respectful way and services and supports that were no delivered to an appropriate standard:
  • Service complaints may be made with the Commonwealth Complaints Resolution and Referral Service and relevant State and Territory Public Advocate, Community/Official Visitor, Ombudsman, Complaints Offices or Commissions
  • Consumer protection complaints may be made with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) and state and territory consumer affairs and fair trading government offices
  • Human rights complaints may be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission or relevant bodies in the ACT and Victoria, the only jurisdictions to have human rights legislation
  • Discrimination complaints may be made with relevant federal and state and territory Commissions and Administrative Tribunals.

In practice

Anyone can raise a complaint about potential breaches of the NDIS Code of Conduct, and the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commissioner can investigate the complaints.

Along with the NDIS Practice Standards, the NDIS Code of Conduct is used by the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission to provide education and build capacity, ensure compliance and also apply civil penalties. As a last resort, the NDIS Commission may also ban workers or providers from operating in the NDIS market.

Tell me more

For more information see the Fact Sheet: How to make a complaint document for NDIS participants on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website:

Reportable incidents

Reportable incidents can threaten the health, safety or wellbeing of people with disability, and can have a significant impact on people with disability, workers, families, carers, community members and NDIS providers. Reportable incidents also offer providers an opportunity to review their operational practices to improve the quality and delivery of supports and services to NDIS participants and prevent future harm.

In practice

The main objectives of the NDIS Commission’s reportable incidents scheme are to promote:

  • Timely and effective responses to reportable incidents to address the safety and wellbeing of participants.
  • Effective and appropriate monitoring and investigation of reportable incidents.
  • Learning from reportable incidents and patterns of incidents, to reduce the risk of harm to participants and improve the quality of supports and services.
  • Accountability of NDIS providers to Participants.

The Principles

Principle

Description

  • Centred on people with disability
  • Management of an incident is respectful of, and responsive to, a person with disability’s preferences, needs and values while supporting the person’s safety and wellbeing.
  • Outcome focussed
  • Management of an incident should reveal the factors which contributed to the incident occurring, and seek to prevent incidents from reoccurring, where appropriate.
  • Clear, Simple and Consistent
  • The process for dealing with reportable incidents is easy to understand, accessible and consistently applied.
  • Accountable
  • Providers are responsible for appropriately managing the response to reportable incidents. Everyone involved in the management of a reportable incident understands their role and responsibilities and will be accountable for decisions or actions taken in regard to an incident.
  • Continual improvement
  • The incident management process facilitates the ongoing identification of issues and implementation of changes to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services.
  • Proportionate
  • The nature of any investigation or actions following an incident will be proportionate to the harm caused and any risk of future harm to people with disability.

Tell me more

For more about reportable incidents see information hub Your G8Way to the Support Worker Role: Safe Work Practices.

Improvements

Continuous improvements

Improvements could be made in any aspect of your work. How you engage with a Participant, how you deliver a service, what activities are available and what training and processes are in place to support you are all areas where regular reflection and review can inform continuous improvement.

If you cannot say whether a Participant is making steps to achieve their goals, you should see that as a sign that something needs to change.

Plan, Do, Check, Act is a procedure for continuous improvement and may also be used when you are trying something new or making change. It is a simple way to identify, measure and assess how goals (be they your own or those of a Participant, a service, a task or an organisation) are being achieved.

In practice

Plan, Do, Check, Act can be applied to most areas of your work regardless of size, type or impact of the activity. The following scenario is an example of how it may be used:

  • Plan
  • A Participant has indicated that they wish to learn to play the guitar. Their Plan has been amended to include guitar lessons as part of their goals. Planning includes finding a suitable guitar teacher, obtaining a guitar and adding a lesson to the weekly activity schedule. Transport is required and a support worker will need to accompany the Participant to and from the lesson.
  • Do
  • Once all the necessary supports and lesson times have been arranged, the Participant commences guitar lessons.
  • Check
  • Each week, the support worker and Participant review how the activity went and what, if any, changes need to be made e.g. allow more time because of traffic getting to the lesson, find a suitable case to protect the guitar and carry the music book, consider if the activity is meeting the Participant’s goals, etc
  • Act
  • Make above changes if they will contribute to the goals or review the plan if it is not meeting goals- then continue with Plan, Do, Check, Act.