The Joint Standing Committee into the NDIS are holding an inquiry into the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Have your say about what needs to change.
The tragic stories of the last few weeks – Ann Marie Smith, Willow Dunn – have touched us all. We are a community of people with disability and their families and carers. And we are both angry and heartbroken at the horrific way they lived and died.
We wish we were shocked. But we are not. It is why people fought so hard for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability – and why the work of the Disability Royal Commission is so important.
What all the recent tragic stories have in common is failures. Failures at every level. Failures with systems – and failures within the community.
One of those systems that needs a good hard look is the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
What is the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission?
For those not familiar with the NDIS Commission, it was set up in 2017 to take over the important job of registering providers who provide services funded the NDIS. We needed a national body to replace all the state bodies that used to do these kinds of things before the introduction of a national scheme.
The NDIS Commission started work in 2018 in New South Wales and South Australia. In 2019 Victoria, Queensland, Tassie, the Northern Territory and the ACT came on board. Western Australia is last – and unfortunately they are running behind. The Western Australian government announced recently the Commission won’t even start in WA until the end of the year.
The NDIS Commission is independent of the NDIA. It is responsible for a lot of critical stuff. It registers providers. It handles complaints. It investigates incidents. It maintains a register of providers that are banned from the NDIS. It makes sure providers are meeting their responsibilities under the Code of Conduct and the Practice Standards.
It is supposed to be one of the things that works to keep people with disability safe.
After the deaths of Ann Marie and Willow, the Federal government has set up an independent inquiry into the work of the Commission. This inquiry is headed up by a former Federal court judge. It will hand down a report in August. (You can learn more about the inquiry on the Quality and Safeguards Commission website).
But just as importantly the Joint Standing Committee into the NDIS has also just announced they will conduct their own inquiry.
This will be a super fast inquiry into what is working, what is not and what needs to change.
What does the Joint Standing Committee want to hear about?
The terms of reference have just been released. The Joint Standing Committee wants to know:
❓ How well the Commission responds to complaints
❓ How well the Commission investigates incidents reported to it
❓ If the NDIS Code of Conduct and Practice Standards are working in practice – and if not what changes should be made
❓ If there is enough information for NDIS participants about provider registration and worker screening
❓ Whether the Commission has enough power to do the job it has been given
❓ Whether the Commission has enough resources to do the job it has been given
❓ Anything else
Have your say
Given the terrible events of the last few months this is a really important inquiry – so they need to hear from you.
If you have had an experience with the Commission – good, bad or ugly – then NOW is your chance to share it.
You can make an individual submission to the inquiry. It can be as simple as sending an email. There is more information on how to do that on the Committee’s webpage.
But we know not everyone wants to make an individual submission. But that doesn’t mean you miss your chance to have your voice heard.
You can tell us your story – and we will pass it on to the Committee for you.
We will collect all the stories and provide them to the Joint Standing Committee. We will write a summary at the front which will be made public. But we will tell the Committee to keep all the individual stories private. And we won’t write anything in the summary that can identify anyone in any way.
Just use the form on our website to let us know what you want to tell the Committee. And we will pass the message on.
So if you have reported something to the Commission, made a complaint, or have any ideas about what would make the system work better, the Committee needs to hear from YOU.
This inquiry is happening super fast so there is not much time. Submissions close on July 31.
Want more information? Here are some helpful links:
More information about the Joint Standing Committee’s inquiry into the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
The terms of reference of the inquiry
Our summaries of previous inquiries held by the Joint Standing Committee
Information for participants from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
Information about the independent inquiry into the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission