New NDIS Practice Standards 2021— What changed? What to do?

New NDIS Practice Standards 2021— What changed? What to do?
Ready or not!

UPDATED 22/11/2021. The NDIS Practice Standards 2021 (Version 4) surprised us with quite a lot of new material — about 43% more indicators in the Core Module. To help you get a handle on the new requirements we put together our version of the Practice Standards 2021, highlighting all the changes so you know exactly what’s changed — at a glance. It’s available here and, of course, it’s free to download.

We’ve also created Policy Update Packs for the Certification and Verification levels. They’ll bring your Quality System up to speed with the changes. They come with the forms and tools you need to put the new requirements into play. Click on the images to find out more.

Certification Update Pack
Verification Update Pack

The Policy Update Packs have been tested in audits — yes, we’ve also been supporting our clients in the first wave. The responses from clients and auditors have been very positive.

WHAT’S CHANGED?

An NDIS Commission fact sheet about the amendments is now available too.

The new NDIS Practice Standards will include three entirely new standards — two are in the Core Module and will apply to all providers at the Certification level; one will affect providers delivering High Intensity Supports:

  • Emergency and Disaster Management (Core Module)
  • Mealtime Management (Core Module)
  • Severe Dysphagia Management (High Intensity Module)

Several pre-existing standards have been amended — a few parts removed, a lot of new material added. Three modules are affected.

In the Core Module (48 new indicators):

  • Risk Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Continuity of Supports
  • Support Planning
  • Service Agreements with Participants
  • Responsive Support Provision
  • Transitions to and from a Provider
  • Safe Environment
  • Management of Waste

In the Verification Module (6 new indicators):

  • Risk Management
  • Human Resources Management

In the Early Childhood Supports Module (1 new indicator):

  • The Child

WHO’S AFFECTED, AND WHEN?

Basically, all providers are effected. Almost immediately. Because the changes apply to both the Core Module and Verification Module, there’s something for everyone — no matter where they are in the registration process or audit cycle.  

Most of the amendments will come into effect on Monday, November 15, 2021. Two standards will come into effect later, allowing providers some time to put relevant systems in place:

  • Mealtime management — Monday 13 December 2021.
  • Emergency and disaster management — Monday 24 January 2022.

The new Practice Standards will not apply to transitional providers until they apply for their first audit under the NDIS Practice Standards.

WHAT TO DO?

You’ll need to bring your policies into line with the changes. As yet, there’s no information about how auditors will manage the transition to the new standards. Traditionally audits assess systems retrospectively — they look at operations in the recent past — so it’s best to get moving as soon as possible.

Put the task on your Continuous Improvement Plan immediately! Gathering data is always the first step in the improvement process, which means: conducting risk assessments, consulting with participants and staff, and considering best practice.

The NDIS Workforce Capability Framework will be relevant to some indicators. It’s also worth taking note of the Commission’s Compliance and Enforcement Priorities 2021-22 and make sure your Quality system and practices comply with the requirements. 

Changes at the Verification level significantly increase the risk management requirements. Providers will need to understand risk management and put a system in place.

It’s not just policies. You’ll need to check your processes and forms, making sure they generate evidence of compliance with the new standards. Then it’s implement, monitor and improve.

WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW?

PQplus online video-based training will be launched soon to address NDIS risk management. We’re reviewing existing resources and working on creating new resources to help providers understand and implement the changes.

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