Changes to conditions of registration for NDIS providers registered to deliver personal supports are in effect from 19 December 2020. Are you ready?

If you are a provider in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that delivers Daily Personal Activities (“personal supports”), you will have recently been notified of changes to your conditions of registration. The requirements of the new conditions of registration apply only in relation to NDIS participants that (1) live alone and (2) are assisted with personal supports (in their home) by a single unsupervised worker (a “sole worker”). This article explains what providers need to do to comply with the new requirements. We have also prepared a flow chart illustrating the key steps. Other resources relating to the new requirements are accessible from the links below.[1]

 

What is required?

Providers must not allow a sole worker to deliver personal supports to a participant who lives alone unless:

  1. A written assessment of relevant risk factors is carried out (factors to be considered are explained below).

  2. The person’s service agreement is updated to identify how the provider will supervise the worker, communicate with the participant and monitor support delivery.[2]

  3. If a relevant risk factor is identified, plans for supervising the worker and reporting to key personnel are documented and implemented.

A copy of the risk assessment must be given to each participant and a copy placed on the person’s file. A list of all participants that are assisted with personal supports by a sole worker needs to be established and kept up to date.

 

What are the relevant risk factors?

Providers will need to assess specific factors that the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has identified as increasing vulnerability and isolation for participants who live alone.  These are factors relating to the person’s mobility and ability to communicate, as well as the level of face-to-face contact they have with other providers and people in their support network. The following factors should be considered:

  1. Does the person receive supports from any other NDIS provider that involves regular, face-to-face contact?

  2. Does the person have limited or no regular contact with immediate family relatives, friends or other people in the community that the individual is well acquainted with?

  3. Does the person rely on equipment or another person to assist with physical mobility?

  4. Does the person rely on equipment to communicate, or on another person to assist them to communicate?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” a plan for supervising the sole worker will need to be developed. In addition, processes for “regular reports” to key personnel about the “care and skill with which personal support is being provided” are required.[3]

A thorough risk assessment should be completed for every participant living alone who is assisted with personal supports by a sole worker.  It is important to note that how these risk factors are assessed is important because the arrangements for supervision of the worker and frequency of reporting to key personnel must be “appropriate having regard to the participant’s risk factors”.  Assessment of the risk factors also impacts what will be put in place for communication with the participant and for checking with the person about how the service agreement is being implemented (see below).

The MPS Law Risk Assessment for Personal Supports to Participants Who Live Alone can be used to guide the identification and assessment of factors that are relevant.

 

Updating the service agreement

Providers must also update the service agreement for each participant (who lives alone and receives personal supports from a sole worker) to identify the arrangements and processes for:

  1. Selecting support workers, including the participant’s role in selection.

  2. Reviewing implementation of the service agreement, which must include direct “checks” with the participant (by someone other than the worker) for feedback on their level of satisfaction with the type, quality and frequency of personal supports that are delivered.

  3. How the provider will supervise and monitor (a) performance of the support worker to ensure performance is consistent with the agreement and (b) the participant’s safety and well-being.[4]

  4. How the provider will communicate with the participant. The means for communication must include, as far as practicable, face-to-face communication with the person (in their home) at an appropriate frequency.

  5. How the provider will engage with other providers that deliver supports or services in the participant’s home or providers that support them to access activities in the community.

MPS Law has prepared a template to guide the updating of the service agreement. Generally, the service agreement is updated after assessment of the above risk factors is complete, so that arrangements for communication, supervision, reporting (if required) and monitoring can be recorded in the updated agreement. Remember to make sure that the existing template service agreement is also updated to identify the schedule as part of the agreement.

Resources in this document are accessible from the links below:

Register of participants living alone and assisted with personal supports by sole worker

Risk Assessment for Personal Supports to Participants Who Live Alone

Template schedule to update participant service agreement

Policy and procedure for delivery of personal supports to participants that live alone

 

This commentary and resources that are published on this page are provided by MPS Law for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be comprehensive and do not constitute, and should not be relied on, for legal advice. This information does not take account of your specific circumstances and should be reviewed and adapted to make sure it is appropriate for your organisation, the individual needs of the relevant NDIS participant and changes to the conditions of registration that affect you, which may have changed since the date this information was published.

Use of this document does not guarantee compliance with your legal obligations.  MPS Law accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage or harm that may result from using or relying on this document

Seek legal or other professional advice if you have a specific problem or consult with the appropriate government authority if you are unsure about your compliance obligations.

[1] MPS Law strongly recommends that these templates and resources are reviewed and updated to take account of the needs, circumstances and preferences of each individual participant, as well as the circumstances of your organisation.

[2]Alternatively, if all reasonable efforts have been made to enter into the service agreement, a copy of the written service agreement should be given to the participant and record kept of the circumstances in which attempts to sign it were made.

[3] The frequency of reports is determined based on what is “appropriate”. What is appropriate in each case will vary according to the risk factors that have been identified for the participant. Refer to the MPS Law Risk Assessment for Personal Supports to Participants Who Live Alone for detailed guidance on factors that may be relevant.

[4] At a minimum, the arrangements for supervision and monitoring must include (as far as practicable) visits by a supervisor to the participant’s home (at a specified and appropriate frequency) to supervise the support worker in person.Risk Assessment for Personal Supports to Participants Who Live AloneRisk Assessment for Personal Supports to Participants Who Live AlonePolicy and procedure for delivery of personal supports to participants that live aloneTemplate schedule to update participant service agreement