The National Disability Insurance Agency (‘NDIA’), which administers the National Disability Insurance Scheme (‘NDIS’) has recently introduced a new requirement for certain NDIS Workers to undergo screening.
The new requirement means that from 1 February 2021, workers in ‘risk-assessed’ roles must obtain an NDIS Worker Screening Check (‘Screening Check’). The purpose of the new screening scheme is to ensure that workers are suitable to be engaged to work with people with a disability in particular roles. There is no requirement for non-risk assessed roles to obtain this clearance.
This change is already effective for all states and territories, except for the Northern Territory who are introducing this measure on 1 July 2021. Each state or territory sets out specific transitional provisions which outline when workers will be required to have the new clearance. Businesses can find further information relating to their specific state or territory.
Registered NDIS providers must ensure that their workers in risk assessed roles have either been cleared under the new screening scheme or have passed the requirements under the transitional provisions.
Workers will be able to apply for the Screening Check through their state’s agency. The agency will have a specific ‘working screening unit’ that oversees the processing of Screening Check applications from NDIS workers. They will then be responsible for assessing the risk and determining whether they will be cleared to work.
What is a ‘risk assessed role’?
NDIS registered providers must identify which of their roles will meet the criteria of a ‘risk-assessed role’. They are also responsible for ensuring that employees engaged in these positions hold Screening Check clearance or have an acceptable clearance under the transitional provisions.
A risk assessed role is defined as a position that:
- Is a “key personnel role” of an entity as defined in section 11A of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (e.g. a Board Member or a CEO); or
- Is involved in the direct delivery of specified supports or services to a person with a disability; or
- Is likely to require ‘more than incidental contact’* with people with a disability, including:
- Building a rapport with a person with a disability as a vital and natural consequence when performing their typical duties; or
- Physical touching a person with a disability; or
- Having contact with multiple people with a disability as part of the delivery of a specialist disability support or service or in a specialist disability accommodation setting.
*The NDIS define ‘more than incidental contact’ as including ‘physical contact, face-to-face contact, oral communication, written communication, and electronic communication.’
The requirement for having the relevant screening clearance before commencing work varies depending on the state or territory. Some states or territories allow employees to commence work in a risk-assessed role once their Screening Check application has been submitted. You can find more information relating to the specific state and territory arrangements.
If the employee is working in a risk-assessed role before their clearance has been finalised, the employer must ensure that they are adequately supervised by an employee who has the new clearance check. The employee cannot be supervised by a worker who just has only been clear via the transitional provisions.
More information relating to the new screening requirements can be found on the NDIS website.
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The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.