Tag: Disability Accommodation


New Haven Farm

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.


New Haven Farm

Over the last year the NDIA made a number of changes to participants’ NDIS plans. The most significant change was the need to include a Supported Independent Living (SIL) price quotation in each NDIS participants’ package, impacting their budgets. In addition to this, the NDIA decided to allocate a budget for community inclusion activities.

The implementation of these changes took 6-8 months, which affected all clients supported by an NDIS plan as they did not have a full plan for more than half a year.

In September the NDIA made a determination that these participants would receive an interim plan. However, this would only be for 13 weeks. Many of our clients did not have an approved plan until late February or early March, causing significant cash flow issues.

Nevertheless, as many disability support providers were in the same predicament, our industry representative body, NDS, took up the baton and worked with the NDIA and individual organisations, to resolve this financial impediment. There are some clients still without a NDIS plan and we are working hard with the NDIA to resolve this backlog.

In spite of this situation we have been able to maintain support levels to our clients at the required standards. I would like to thank the Board for their prudency and excellent financial stewardship.

As New Haven Farm Home is a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) provider we would like to have our SDA status acknowledged in each individual NDIS plan. This is not currently the case, and we are still working with the NDIA to resolve a number of outstanding matters regarding SDA payments. We believe that those clients with physical and/or sensory disabilities would require SDA and as a result of this it should be a line item in their NDIS plan. Although we have not been provided with a rationale for the NDIA’s decisions in these matters, we are waiting for an outcome in the next few months.

Those clients who are 65 years old and over are funded by the Continuity of Services by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Currently all clients are fully funded, and services have not been affected. This funding will be reviewed next year.

– Jacques Stap
New Haven Farm Home CEO