On 3 February, the Disability Reform Council, made up of State and Territory Disability Ministers, released the Quality and Safeguarding Framework for the NDIS. The Framework will provide a nationally consistent system of protections for NDIS people who are eligible for the NDIS.
The comprehensive Framework contains measures to prevent harm and correct problems. Importantly it also focuses on building the capacity of people with disability, the workforce and providers. We welcome this acknowledgement of the importance of capacity building.
Many elements of the Framework are consistent with advocacy by NCOSS and the Disability Network Forum, including:
- a risk-responsive and person-centred approach to risk, with measures tailored to the strengths, needs and circumstances of participants and the level of risk inherent in certain types of supports;
- an independent statutory complaints commissioner, with responsibilities to investigate individual complaints and systemic issues arising from them, and educate participants about the complaints process; and
- an NDIS registrar, to oversee a nationally consistent approach to screening of workers.
While it is positive that advocacy is recognised as a developmental safeguard, the National Disability Advocacy Program needs to be significantly expanded if it is to fulfil this important role effectively.
The role Community Visitors will play under the NDIS has not been clarified. We urge that this program continue, as the external visitors play a valuable role in safeguarding people living in shared supported accommodation including institutions.