NDIS workers are called upon to work in a highly personalised capacity providing support to people living with a disability. NDIS workers attend the homes of NDIS participants. They accompany NDIS participants to various appointments and outings. And assist them with things like everyday living. As such, it is crucial that an NDIS worker screening check be carried out for every person employed in this line of work.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check guarantees that the employee is an acceptable person to be working with vulnerable people. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the NDIS worker screening check process and outline its importance in helping NDIS providers deliver high levels of quality care to their clients.
When is an NDIS Worker Screening Check Required?
Up until 31 January 2021, there was a transitional period in place for NDIS worker screening checks. As this transition period has now ceased, it is essential that NDIS providers ensure their workers have an NDIS worker screening check, in line with the requirements as set out in the NDIS Practice Standards.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check is carried out to make sure that a person who works with people living with a disability poses no risk to them. It also determines whether the person has been barred from such work in the past.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check is carried out by relevant state or territory worker screening authorities. If an NDIS Worker Screening Check is carried out in one state, there is NO requirement to receive a clearance in other states or territory i.e. staff will be able to work in any state or territory.
When an NDIS provider employs someone within a risk assessed role, they are legally obligated to ensure that the employee is properly cleared.
Risk assessed roles include:
- direct provision of services and supports to a person living with a disability
- roles within which the employee is likely to have more than incidental contact with a person with a disability
- key personnel, such as executive team members and senior management positions in an NDIS provider business (i.e. CEOs and board members).
If staff are not engaged in a risk assessed role, it is not mandatory for them to have an NDIS worker screening clearance, but it is recommended to still get one.
Secondary school students on a formal work experience placement with a registered NDIS provider also do not need an NDIS worker screening clearance to be engaged in a risk assessed role. This is provided they are directly supervised by another worker who has an NDIS worker screening clearance, or who has an acceptable check.
Working Before You Have an NDIS Worker Screening Clearance
Depending on the laws in each state or territory, a worker may begin working in a risk assessed role once they have submitted an application for an NDIS Worker Screening Check, but before they have been granted a clearance.
Providers should check the requirements in each state and territory in which they deliver NDIS supports and services, as some states and territories do not permit a worker to commence employment until they hold a clearance.
In these circumstances, NDIS providers must ensure that the worker is appropriately supervised by a person with an NDIS worker screening clearance. They must also develop and maintain a satisfactory written risk management plan for protecting people with disability while a worker or any other personnel is in the process of obtaining a clearance.
NDIS Worker Screening Check Process
To initiate the process, workers must apply for an NDIS Worker Screening through their relevant state or territory authority. Once the check is complete, the applicant will either be cleared or excluded from working with people with a disability. It’s important to note that excluded workers are barred from being employed in any risk assessed role. That is why NDIS providers must ensure they only employ NDIS workers who meet the appropriate worker screening checks. Not only does this help ensure continuity of high-quality care and support for their clients, but it also safeguards against people with a disability being exposed to unacceptable risk.
When a worker makes an application for an NDIS Worker Screening Check there will be a fee payable which is set by the state or territory in which the application is made.
For more information about how to apply for a Worker Screening Check, including application fees, please visit the relevant webpage for your state or territory:
- Australian Capital Territory: Access Canberra
- New South Wales: Service NSW
- Northern Territory: SAFE NT
- Queensland: Disability Worker Screening
- South Australia: Department of Human Services Screening Unit
- Tasmania: Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
- Victoria: Department of Justice and Community Safety
- Western Australia: Department of Communities
When making an application, workers will need to nominate an employer to verify that they intend to engage the worker to deliver NDIS supports or services. Most application forms will allow you to search for your employer using their Employer ID. This is the best way to find the employer and make sure you’ve selected the correct one.
NDIS Worker Screening Database
The NDIS maintains a Worker Screening Database. This is the official register of workers who have applied for an NDIS Worker Screening Check. NDIS providers have access to the NDIS Worker Screening Database. And it can be easily found once they’ve logged into their NDIS provider portal. It is a good idea for NDIS providers to ensure their employees’ details are listed correctly on the database as this is what the NDIS will use to help verify that providers and NDIS workers are meeting the NDIS Practice Standards.
As can be seen, NDIS workers are trusted to do one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs on the planet. And there are so many great NDIS support workers out there who are passionate about helping people with a disability realise their life goals.
The NDIS worker screening check is an important part of the process in helping NDIS providers deliver high levels of quality care to their clients.
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Originally published Feb 24 2022