In 2019-20, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (the NDIS Commission) expanded operations and continued working towards full national regulation of quality and safeguarding under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
We expanded operations from the two foundation states of New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA) into five more jurisdictions: Victoria (VIC), the Northern Territory (NT), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Queensland (QLD), and Tasmania (TAS). We also established an office in Perth and are now preparing to commence operations in Western Australia (WA) on the agreed transition date of 1 December 2020.
Our primary focal points during this second year of operation were:
building awareness of our role with NDIS participants and the stakeholders who represent them
deploying compliance activities to adjust provider behaviour under the new regulatory model
establishing an evidence base to act on factors increasing the risk of harm to people with disability
continuing to mature as an organisation, through further development of our operating model and the strengthening of our relationships with key stakeholders.
We worked closely with people with disability, advocate and peak bodies representing the interests of people with disability, industry bodies and providers, and state and Commonwealth agencies in order to progress and expand these operations, to provide NDIS participants with ever-greater support.
During the year, we continued to contribute to and support both the Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, through witness statements, oral evidence and the broad provision of information.
The past year also required a focus on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular ensuring NDIS providers were able to continue to fulfil their obligations in delivering quality and safe supports to NDIS participants while taking necessary precautions to reduce the risk of infection.
We worked closely with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and other Commonwealth, state and territory agencies to respond to the needs of participants during this unprecedented period, with regular engagement and advice from advocates and peak bodies. Targeted response and compliance activities specific to the COVID-19 emergency were established in response to notifications of changes to support by providers.
In 2019–20, the NDIS Commission also:
successfully transitioned an additional 11,486 providers into our jurisdiction
built provider capability through access to specialist expertise and educational resources
received 4,469 complaints about NDIS supports and services
initiated compliance activities with more than 3,000 providers
took a variety of regulatory actions against registered and unregistered providers in all jurisdictions within which we operate
commissioned a scoping review of – and commenced an extensive program of work to change – provider practice, to reduce risk of harm and avoidable deaths of people with disability
made adjustments to the provider registration requirements to remove a disproportionate regulatory burden on small business and individuals delivering low-risk supports
determined 2,437 applications for registration.
The preceding was achieved while we continued to expand our scope, commenced activities in five new jurisdictions, prepared to start regulation in our final jurisdiction, developed and refined our operating model, and maintained a high standard of governance.
As an emerging agency required to play a significant role during a national emergency, the NDIS Commission experienced an eventful year. However, I am proud that our people met all challenges head on and with the goal of upholding the rights of people with disability always in the front of our minds. We look forward to continuing to serve NDIS participants and their families, carers, service providers and advocates in 2020-21.
Graeme Head AO NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner