(QLD) Changes to NDIS Worker Screening Arrangements

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission are implementing a nationally consistent NDIS worker screening arrangement. This will include the roll out of an NDIS Worker Screening Database and NDIS Worker Screening Check. Once fully implemented, the NDIS Worker Screening Check will enable a screened worker to deliver services and supports in any state or territory. 

To support the national approach to the NDIS Worker Screening Check, the Queensland Minister for Disability Services and Seniors has introduced the Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Amendment Bill 2020.

The purpose of this email is to advise you of the changes being proposed under the Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Amendment Bill 2020.

How will the new NDIS Worker Screening Check affect OTs?

Under the previous state-based approach to worker screening, Queensland health practitioners registered with AHPRA (occupational therapists) were exempt from holding a yellow card (working with vulnerable people check). Under the new NDIS worker screening rules, this exemption will no longer apply. 

From commencement, people working with children with a disability (blue card holders) and registered health practitioners will be required to apply for an NDIS worker screening clearance if they work for a registered NDIS provider in a risk assessed role, subject to certain transitional arrangements.

What are the changes being made under the Queensland Worker Screening Amendment Bill 2020?

Key changes include:

  • An online application process with strengthened identity requirements
  • expanded scope of screening (including screening of people working with children with disability and registered health practitioners engaged by registered NDIS providers in ‘risk-assessed’ roles);
  • a strengthened disqualifying and decision-making framework (including: national consistency in the range of disqualifying offences; a new decision-making threshold of whether a person poses an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability; and a broader range of information considered as part of a risk assessment);
  • ongoing national monitoring of criminal history; and
  • provision for NDIS clearances to be valid for five years.

The Bill proposes a ‘no card, no start’ approach for workers required to be screened under the new NDIS worker screening system. This means all applicants in a risk assessed role for a registered NDIS provider, must obtain a clearance before commencing work.

The only exemption to NDIS worker screening is for secondary school students on formal work experience placement with a registered NDIS provider, who are directly supervised by another worker of the provider with a clearance.

Next steps?

Until the NDIS Worker Screening Check starts in Queensland, registered NDIS providers providing supports and services to NDIS participants must continue to ensure their workers in risk-assessed positions meet the acceptable check requirements outlined by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission here.

Occupational Therapy Australia welcome feedback from members on these proposed changes. Feedback on the Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Amendment Bill 2020 should be sent via email to brooke.carter@otaus.com.au by no later than COB 2 July 2020.

Where can I find further information?

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