The Royal Commission will hand down its recommendations on the NDIS and the disability sector in less than six months – are you ready?
Who moved my cheese? The fabulous fable all about change that could not be more relevant in today’s disability landscape.
If you are leading a disability org, are you Sniff? Someone who can identify change that is coming or Scurry who has the ability to mobilise action before it has a negative impact.
Are you Hem, who finds a way to enjoy change and realise the benefits it brings or Haw who continues working hard, doing what’s always been done as it worked for so long, and trying to pretend nothing is different. Even if it kills him.
For those who have not heard of this fable before, educate yourself here and watch the video.
We have tried to be Sniff in this blog post. It’s not surprising if you haven’t been able to keep up with all the information and updates being release recently, but this is what we have sniffed out to help you navigate your maze of disability support provision, so that you can get best prepared for all the changes that will be coming.
NDIS services and costs
Bill Shorten has put providers on notice that those who are taking advantage of the scheme by offering services that gave little benefit to people with disability would be shut. He reinforced that NDIS costs must translate into improved outcomes for participants.
Combine this with the recent observation that one of the key drivers of the cost blow out is that less people are leaving the scheme. It implies that there may be a renewed focus on decreasing plan values in line with increasing independence. This year alone 3,000 people were expected to exit the scheme but didn’t. Providers who can’t show skill and capacity building results will soon find themselves with non-viable service offerings and participants that they can’t ‘transition’ to other providers.
The NDIS fraud task force received 1,700 tip offs last month alone. Given that only 10,422 were active in the scheme in the last quarter there is an increasing likelihood that you will be called out and have your practices reviewed. They are especially looking at:
- Pressuring participants to ask for services or support ratios they don’t need;
- Spending participants’ money contrary to their plan;
- Asking for or accepting additional fees for a service; and
- Offering rewards for taking particular services not on a participant’s plan.
NDIA participant safeguarding policy
The agency has released their participant safeguarding policy which is directed at the NDIA and their ‘partners’. It has six principles:
Principle 1: Safety culture:
Safety and wellbeing of people with disability is embedded in organisational leadership, governance, processes, practice, and culture to promote responsibility and accountability within the NDIA and Partner organisations.
Principle 2: Empowerment:
Individuals are supported to gain or enhance their knowledge and skills about personal safety to identify, assess and manage risk of harm.
Principle 3: Individualised:
Individual circumstances are recognised and respected when working with people with disability. A person-centred and strengths-based approach is taken to understand each person’s experience to develop appropriate safeguarding strategies.
Principle 4: Proactive:
Individuals are proactively supported to establish or improve preventative safeguards to reduce the likelihood and consequence of harm occurring.
Principle 5: Dignity of risk and informed decision making:
Dignity of risk is respected, and individuals are supported to have a central role in making informed decisions about safeguards in their lives.
Principle 6: Informal support networks:
Individuals are supported to develop and strengthen their network of informal supports and community connections to help create strong safeguards.
One might surmise that whilst this is currently directed at NDIA staff and LACs it may be the first move of the agency to start policing non-registered providers.
This document also suggests that they will be funding participants to increase their informal supports and community engagements. Meaning there will be more eyes on the way you provide services. Particularly for those that have maybe gone under the radar previously.
Civil penalty proceedings
The NDIS Commission has just announced they have commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against LiveBetter Services Limited (LiveBetter), in relation to the death of Ms Kyah Lucas. Kyah passed away on 7 February 2022. She was being supported to bath and sadly received burns from the hot water, later passing away from complications associated with the burns. Tracy Mackey, The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner stated: “NDIS providers have very clear obligations. Failures, like those alleged by the NDIS Commission in these proceedings, will never be tolerated.”
“We will use our power to investigate any matters relating to any NDIS provider and workers where the provider has failed to deliver support and services in a safe and competent manner with care and skill.”
The NDIS Commission quarterly report also draws sharp attention to a 7% increase in reportable incidents (excluding unauthorised restrictive practices) in this quarter as well as the increase to 449 NDIS Worker Screening exclusions in place, compared to 329 last quarter.
There were 42 banning orders issued between 1 July 2022 and 31 December 2022 and a further 4,868 instances where providers required education on compliance to ensure participants receive the safest and best practice supports.
So with the sniffing done for you, we acknowledge you can’t prepare for what you don’t know, but from what we do know, the end of financial year looming and possible unsightly profit margins now is the time to start to Scurry. We can help you with a range of supports like our NDIS Business Health check and best practice gap analysis to get your organisation ahead of the pack.
As Tony Robbins stated:
“How do you turn the invisible (changes that may destroy your business and its legacy) into the visible? The first step is to define the dream precisely. The only limit to what you can achieve is the extent of your ability to define what your future looks like.”
For information on the NDIS and many other aspects of the disability sector please reach out Contact – Supporting Potential