With the new worker screening arrangements commencing next week, we thought it was an appropriate time to revisit a blog we posted in February 2020.
On February 1, 2021 the nationally consistent NDIS worker screening requirements will come into effect in all states and territories except the Northern Territory, ending the interim arrangements which have been in place since 2018.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check and the worker screening database
The rollout of the new worker screening approach follows the establishment of the NDIS Commission’s new worker screening database. The database allows workers to work in multiple states without obtaining separate clearances in each state, ultimately decreasing the red tape and compliance requirements for workers.
To support the roll out of the nationally consistent approach, the NDIS Commission has established a worker screening unit for each state. The worker screening units will be responsible for conducting NDIS Worker Screening Checks, and ensuring that the database is maintained.
What workers and providers will need to include in their applications
Under the new approach, to start the screening process each worker must apply to the relevant worker screening unit to be cleared. Workers with existing clearances will have to do this when their current clearances need to be renewed, and of course any new workers will have to do so from next week. After verifying the identity of the worker, the worker screening unit will conduct a risk assessment to determine whether the worker should receive clearance.
In applying for an NDIS Worker Screening Check, the worker will need to nominate an NDIS provider or self-managed participant with whom they are engaged, or are intending to be engaged. The provider or self-managed participant will then need to verify that the worker is engaged by them, or is intended to be engaged by them.
Rules which have not changed
Moving forward to the full rollout of the NDIS Worker Screening requirements, some requirements will remain the same as they were under the interim arrangements, including:
- Risk assessed roles remain roles which include more than incidental contact with people with disability, and include key personnel such as CEOs and Board Members;
- Record keeping requirements remain unchanged, with NDIS providers required maintain a list of the risk assessed roles in their organisation, along with the details of workers engaged in those roles; and
- Rules for engaging workers before they have a check remain the same as they were under the transitional arrangements, and differ from state to state.
Self-managed participants or unregistered providers
If supports are being provided to a self-managed participant, or the provider is unregistered, worker screening checks are not mandatory. However self-managed participants and unregistered providers may request a worker obtain a clearance by undergoing an NDIS Worker Screening Check.
Residential Aged Care NDIS providers
The same worker screening rules will apply to aged care providers who provide NDIS supports. However the Commission has made it clear that aged care provider checks obtained before February 2021 will be viewed as valid for the full 3 year period of the check.
Queensland-specific worker screening rules
In Queensland, it is an offence for a registered NDIS provider to engage a person to work if they do not have clearance, or are subject to suspension interim bar or exclusion.
To help your organisation ensure that its worker screening processes are aligned to the incoming requirements of the NDIS Commission, we have a number of resources including:
- Policy template: Worker Screening (Disability);
- Template: Risk Assessed Roles List;
- Template: Risk Management Plan for Unscreened Workers;
- Template: Worker Screening Register.
Want to know more?
For more information about worker screening and the NDIS generally, sign up for SPP!