Recently, on a sector level we have seen the roll out of two new concepts.
The first occurred on the 1st February 2021 when NDIS rolled out a national worker screening check, following the establishment of the NDIS Commission’s worker screening database. The introduction of the national screening check replaces previous requirements of state-based screening and clearances such as a police check. It is hoped that the implementation of such will effectively make it easier for staff to work between states and decrease the complexity for support staff to meet screening requirements.
With this new approach, every new worker who is employed by a registered NDIS provider will be required to apply for a worker screening check in line with their type of employment. The identity of the worker will need to be verified, following which, the screening unit will conduct a risk assessment to determine whether the worker will receive clearance to be employed. For all current employees, it is now essential that when their current state-issued police clearances expire (all checks currently have a two year expiration) that they be updated with an NDIS worker screening check. For current employees there is no requirement to obtain a NDIS worker screening check until such time as their current checks expire. It is mandatory for all employees of a registered NDIS provider to have obtained clearance to work in the sector.
The second has been the implementation of the Disability Gateway. It has been identified that a significant barrier for people with disabilities to increase their independence and community participation is that themselves and their support network experience significant difficulties in accessing information regarding policies, programs and support. In response to this, the Department of Social Services has implemented the National Disability Information Gateway which is a resource that can be accessed by either people with disabilities (regardless of whether they are an NDIS participant) or their support network and can be accessed via a website (search Disability Gateway), a dedicated phone number 1800 643 787, as well as social media channels. The platform provides access to trusted information and services. It also replaces the previous Disability Information Helpline however to avoid any disruption to services, the same phone number has been utilised.