National NDIS worker screening database delayed

The NDIS Commission has postponed the introduction of a national NDIS worker screening database until 2020.

In the interim, and since the introduction of the NDIS Commission in all Australian states and territories (except Western Australia) on 1 July, there are transitional requirements for NDIS Worker screening in each state. Workers continue to require a current check in the state or territory in which they work. Details for acceptable checks in each state are listed on the Commission website here.

Interim requirements in South Australia

In South Australia, existing workers in a ‘risk assessed role’ must have a valid clearance for a

  • Department of Human Services Disability Services Employment screening (issued in the last three years)

OR

  • Department of Human Services Child-related Employment Check SA child related employment screening (issued in the last three years and before 1 July 2019).

New workers in SA or workers whose check expires after 1 July 2019 will need to apply for a Department of Human Services Disability Services Employment Screening check. A Working with Children Check alone will no longer be acceptable for providing NDIS supports. If workers are working with children they will also require a new Working with children check.

Checks can be lodged by the individual or the organisation. Organisations are required to register with the Department of Human Services Screening Unit.

Records of your workers

NDIS providers will be audited to ensure relevant checks are in place, and also on the record keeping of all workers who engage in ‘risk assessed roles’. Records must be accurate, complete and in line with the NDIS (Practice Standards-Worker Screening) Rules 2018, updated regularly and kept for seven years. The Commission website outlines the details that the list of workers needs to include.  

Contracts with your contractors

NDIS providers who engage contractors and other organisations in the provision of NDIS supports or perform work on their premises need to be aware of additional obligations. NDIS providers must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the worker of the contractor who engages in a ‘risk assessed role’ holds the necessary check. An up-to-date contract with the contractor must be in place. This needs to impose a range of obligations on the contractor that are outlined in Section 13 (4) of the NDIS (Practice Standards-Worker Screening) Rules 2018. The NDIS Commission can request access to the contracts and records relating to contractors, and your audit may review how you meet your obligations.

Risk assessed roles

All risk assessed roles in an organisation will require a screening check including

  • key personnel (including board members, senior executives, manager, team leaders)
  • roles for which the normal duties include the direct delivery of specified supports or specified services to a person with disability
  • roles for which the normal duties are likely to require more than incidental contact with people with disability, including volunteers and subcontractors.

It is the obligation of the NDIS provider to assess each roles within the organisation (including contractors) to identify all ‘risk assessed roles’.  The NDIS Commission website lists three helpful examples to illustrate what is considered ‘more than incidental contact’.

Action plan for providers

Although organisations have been engaging in worker screening for a while, many providers have not yet taken notice and implemented the NDIS (Practice Standards-Worker Screening) Rules 2018. Here is an action plan for your organisation:

  • Assess all roles in your organisation, including subcontractors, and establish a list of ‘risk assessed roles’
  • Understand the interim screening rules in your state
  • Ensure checks are up to date and in line with the interim requirements
  • Ensure your record keeping is in line with the rules
  • Review if your CRM is capable of recording all necessary fields. Have you discussed your recording requirements with your software provider?
  • Establish responsibilities for maintaining all records. Are suspensions, expulsions and incidents recorded and responded to? Is your organisation alerted before checks expire?
  • Communicate the new requirements to your contractors and update your contracts
  • Update all relevant policies and procedures e.g. your staff intake policy.
  • Communicate the change to your staff and your board

When you have worked your way through this list it is advisable to conduct an internal audit, not only of your records but also your internal controls and risks that the worker screening might not capture.

For questions or feedback, please contact CBB’s Business Consultant Dr Ellen Schuler.

NDIS consultant


Dr Ellen Schuler
Business Consultant 
Email: eschuler@cbb.com.au
Phone: 1300 763 505