National standard for NDIS worker screening starts today

From today, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Worker Screening Check will start to replace the different screening arrangements operating in each state and territory, setting a single national standard for all NDIS workers.

These new arrangements will help ensure the people who work with NDIS participants—or who wish to do so—do not present an unacceptable risk to people with disability.

People who work for registered NDIS providers must have an acceptable check or an NDIS Worker Screening clearance if they are employed in high risk roles, including roles that involve regular close contact with people with disability.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, said the new NDIS Worker Screening Check will have significant benefits for people with disability in receipt of NDIS supports and services.

‘The NDIS Worker Screening Check ensures NDIS workers will be risk assessed for employment the same way, no matter where they live or work,’ Minister Robert said.

‘NDIS participants, their families and supporters can also be reassured by the introduction of the ongoing review of workers’ clearances against recent criminal history and misconduct information.

‘The NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework—agreed by all governments across Australia—identified the importance of a nationally consistent worker screening process in reducing the risk of harm to people with disability from the people who work closely with them.

‘The Morrison Government is committed to a nationally consistent NDIS quality and safeguards system across Australia and in addition to the introduction of the national NDIS Worker Screening Check, the Morrison Government has implemented a number of recent reforms to deliver strong and consistent protections for every participant in the NDIS.’

The introduction of the national NDIS Worker Screening Check will also benefit workers and employers by allowing workers with a clearance to deliver supports and services for any registered NDIS employer in any state or territory across Australia.

Registered NDIS providers will notice a reduction in administration through access to a NDIS Worker Screening Database, with the ability to view the clearance status of their workers in close-to-real time.

Worker screening is only one of the legislated obligations with which NDIS providers must comply to maintain registration with the NDIS Commission.

In November 2020, the protections for NDIS participants were further strengthened with the passing of the NDIS Banning Orders Bill in November 2020, which expanded the powers of the NDIS Commissioner to ban providers or workers even if they are not currently working in the NDIS. The passing of this Bill means even greater safeguards in place to uphold the essential rights of people with disability to be safe and to receive quality services and supports under the NDIS.

In December 2020, the NDIS Commission began managing the quality and safeguards of NDIS supports and services in Western Australia, creating a truly national quality and safeguards framework for the NDIS for the very first time.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has also implemented a proactive participant check-in approach, following the success of the 81,000 vulnerable participant proactive contacts made during COVID-19. The purpose is to check how a participant is going with their plan, and to also provide an opportunity to identify and address participant concerns and confirm the participant’s safety and welfare.

The Morrison Government has committed $16.1 million over four years to establish NDIS Worker Screening, including NDIS Worker Screening Database costs which have been shared with state and territory governments. This is in addition to the $92.9 million in the 2020-21 Budget to support the NDIS Commission to carry out its vital role in regulating NDIS providers nationally, to improve the provision of safe and quality supports and services to participants in the NDIS, and expanding its compliance and investigative capacity.

For more information about worker screening, visit www.ndiscommission.gov.au.