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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

New NDIS Screening

A new screening approach to be introduced this year will ensure safe and quality support for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

The NDIS Worker Screening Database, introduced into Federal Parliament on 13 February will offer a nationally consistent approach to screening people who work alongside NDIS participants.

The new NDIS Worker Screening is expected to start in July 2019 in all States and Territories except Western Australia. Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher says the screening process and database will ensure people with disability are kept safe and receive the support of quality workers.

“Worker screening is a way to check that people who are working, or seek to work, in the NDIS do not pose an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability.”

“The Bill will enable the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to establish and maintain a national database for information about NDIS worker screening.

“This will provide timely and accurate worker clearance status information for providers for NDIS services and supports, and for self-managed participants.”

It will also ensure workers who have been deemed unfit to work with NDIS participants by one State or Territory will consequently be excluded nationally. Mr Fletcher says it will prevent individuals who pose a high risk of harm from seeking work in the disability sector.

“Participants and their families can have confidence that workers with clearances have been assessed as not posing an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability.”

This approach has also been welcomed by Industry Bodies and Acting NDS Chief Executive Officer David Moody says providers operating in more than one state or territory will benefit from having a national approach.

“We believe staff screening should be compulsory for employees of all disability service providers, the NDIA and the Commission who have more than incidental contact with an NDIS participant, as well as the key decision-makers in those entities,” he says.

Australians who have applied for a disability worker screening check are set to have their personal information stored in a new online national clearance database to improve the portability of their probity credentials.

The legislation underpinning the centralised database was introduced to parliament this week ahead of the introduction of the scheme in July 2019, two years after a nationally consistent approach to worker screening was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

It will see the creation of a “database for nationally consistent worker screening, for the purpose of minimising the risk of harm to people with a disability from those who work closely with them".

Disability workers are required to be screened under existing legislation to ensure that they do not pose a risk to people with a disability.

This new database will establish a repository which is expected to “provide and maintain current and accurate information relating to these checks”, which according to the government will give the 160,000-plus full-time disability workers worker screening checks that are portable across jurisdictions. It could contain information about individuals relating to “pending, current and previous” work screening decisions, including those who have been cleared, those who are no longer being considered and those prevented from working.

Quality Health Care welcomes this nationally recognised approach to worker screening, and we believe it is an important element underpinning the delivery of high-quality and safe supports for people with disability.

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