Effective February 1, 2021, NDIS service providers in all states and territories of Australia except for the Northern Territory (implementation will be on July 1, 2021) will be required to get an NDIS Worker Screening Check. The objective of this check is to ensure that workers providing support for individuals living with disabilities do not pose risk and are safe to partake in the role. This also helps ensure that participants not only get the right funding, the right supports, and services but even more so dealing with the right and fit workers. The rationale for this screening check comes from the insights of previous NDIS participants wherein they have experienced various issues like abuse and poor treatment from their support workers. Previous clearances do not take into account enhanced police information due to privacy reasons, thus, enabling other individuals with harmful backgrounds to slip through. This screening check is said to provide broader information about the applicant- support worker. The beauty of this is that it also gives self-managed participants and non registered service providers to make informed choices in terms of choosing their support workers as this information will be made accessible for them.
Who needs an NDIS Worker Screening Check?
For registered provider workers engaged in risk assessed roles, it will be mandatory for them to go through the screening process. For unregistered service providers, it will be their discretion as to whether or not they will require their worker to obtain the screening check.
According to NDIS- A risk assessed role is one that:
· is a key personnel role of a person or an entity as defined in s 11A of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (for example, a CEO or a Board Member)
· involves the direct delivery of specified supports or services to a person with disability
· is likely to require ‘more than incidental contact’ with people with disability, which includes:
o physically touching a person with disability; or
o building a rapport with a person with disability as an integral and ordinary part of the performance of normal duties; or
o having contact with multiple people with disability as part of the direct delivery of a specialist disability support or service, or in a specialist disability accommodation setting.
For workers not engaged in a risk assessed role, say for example someone who is doing a back end role for the service provider like admin role- the person may not be required to obtain the clearance. Service providers not engaged in assessed roles will have the discretion of requiring their workers to get the clearance or not. In the event that an individual works in two different states the provider is mandated to obtain the checks in both states or territories. For secondary students undergoing formal work experience placements with registered NDIS providers, they will not be required to obtain the certification as it is understood that they are under the service provider’s supervision- who is assumed to have an NDIS clearance.
How to get an NDIS Worker Screening Check?
1. Complete an online application to the state or territory NDIS Worker Screening Unit (WSU)
2. nominate an employer or self-managed participant
3. Pay for the fee to the WSU
4. WSU will confirm the identity of the worker and send the application to the NDIS Worker Screening Database (NWSD).
5. Service provider to verify the worker by logging onto NWSD
6. The worker will then be linked to the service provider
7. WSU then takes a risk assessment of the worker
8. Decision will then be sent via email
As each state may vary in terms of transition period requirements ,it is best that service providers will check each state’s website.
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