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Understanding and adhering to the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators is crucial for any NDIS provider aiming to deliver high-quality, participant-centred services. These standards are designed to ensure that NDIS participants receive safe, respectful and responsive support tailored to their needs and goals. In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know as a new or established NDIS provider, from what the four NIDS Practice Standards are to how to follow them.

What are NDIS practice standards?

The NDIS Practice Standards are a set of guidelines and requirements established by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to create a consistent and reliable framework for NDIS providers. These standards set out the level of service required for providers to become and remain registered with the NDIS. They cover a wide range of areas, including person-centred support, rights and responsibilities, service delivery and safe environments.

The NDIS Practice Standards serve as a crucial benchmark for assessing provider performance, ensuring that high-quality and safe supports are consistently delivered to participants. During the registration process, an approved quality auditor will use these standards and their associated quality indicators to evaluate a provider’s compliance. This evaluation includes reviewing relevant documentation and engaging with participants to gather feedback on their experiences with the services provided.

Why are the NDIS Practice Standards important?

The NDIS Practice Standards are important because they provide a structured framework to ensure that NDIS participants receive high-quality, safe and respectful support. Crucially, these standards help to:

  • Enhance participant well-being: By establishing clear guidelines for service delivery, the NDIS Practice Standards ensure that the needs, preferences and goals of participants are at the forefront of care. This participant-centred approach enhances the well-being and quality of life of individuals with disabilities.
  • Maintain consistency and quality: The standards promote consistency across different providers, ensuring that all participants receive a reliable and high level of care regardless of who provides it. This uniformity helps build trust in the NDIS system and ensures that best practices are followed across the board.
  • Ensure safety and rights: The NDIS Practice Standards emphasise the importance of safety and the protection of participant rights. By adhering to these standards, providers create safe environments and uphold the dignity and rights of individuals, reducing the risk of harm and abuse.
  • Foster accountability and improvement: The standards hold providers accountable for their services and encourage continuous improvement. This accountability ensures that providers regularly evaluate and enhance their practices, leading to better outcomes for participants and higher overall service quality.

What are NDIS Practice Standards used by service providers?

The NDIS Practice Standards include a core module and several supplementary modules that apply based on the types of services a provider delivers and its  organisational structure. Quality indicators prepared by the NDIS Commission are attached to the modules, which each contain high-level, participant-focused outcomes.

What does the core module cover in the NDIS Practice Standards?

The core module consists of four NDIS Practice Standards. It covers the rights of participants and the responsibilities of providers, ensuring person-centred supports that respect legal and human rights. It also includes governance and operational management, the delivery of supports and the environment in which supports are provided.

1. Rights and Responsibilities

The NDIS Practice Standards set out the rights of participants and the responsibilities of providers that deliver supports and services to them. The standards include:

  • Person-centred supports: Supports that promote, uphold and respect participants’ legal and human rights and enable participants to exercise informed choice and control.
  • Individual values and beliefs: Supports that respect participants’ culture, diversity, values and beliefs.
  • Privacy and dignity: Supports that protect participants’ dignity and right to privacy.
  • Independence and informed choice: Supports that help participants make informed choices and maximise independence.
  • Violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination: Supports free from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation or discrimination.

2. Provider Governance and Operational Management

These standards outline the governance and operational management responsibilities for NDIS providers. They include: 

  • Governance and operational management: Robust systems relevant to the size and scale of the provider and the complexity of supports.
  • Risk management: Identification and management of risks to participants, workers and providers.
  • Quality management: Quality management systems promoting continuous improvement.
  • Information management: Accurate, current, confidential participant information management, with information accessible to participants and appropriately used by workers.
  • Feedback and complaints management: Accessible complaints management and resolution system and a respectful and well-managed handling of feedback and complaints.
  • Incident management: Effective incident management system safeguarding participants.
  • Human resource management: Competent workers with relevant qualifications, expertise and experience.
  • Continuity of supports: Timely and appropriate support without interruption.

3. Provision of Supports

These standards set out the responsibilities for NDIS providers when delivering supports to participants. They include:

  • Access to supports: Supports that meet participants’ needs, goals and preferences.
  • Support planning: Active participant involvement in developing and regularly reviewing support plans.
  • Service agreements with participants: Clear understanding of chosen supports and their provision.
  • Responsive support provision: Timely, competent and appropriate supports meeting participants’ needs and goals.
  • Transitions to or from a provider: Planned and coordinated transitions between providers.

4. Provision of Supports Environment

These standards outline the environment in which supports are provided to participants. They include:

  • Safe environment: Safe, appropriate environments for support delivery.
  • Participant money and property: Secure management of participant money and property.
  • Management of medication: Confident administration, storage and monitoring of participants’ medication.
  • Mealtime management: Nutritious, appropriately prepared meals tailored to individual needs.
  • Management of waste: Protection from harm due to exposure to waste, infectious, or hazardous substances generated during support delivery for everyone in the support environment.

What do the supplementary modules cover?

The NDIS Practice Standards supplementary modules address specialised areas of support to ensure quality care and effective management for participants with specific needs. These modules include:

1. High Intensity Daily Personal Activities

This module covers supports for participants who require assistance with daily activities that involve complex care needs. These activities may include, but are not limited to, managing medications, enteral feeding, tracheostomy care and complex bowel care. Providers must ensure that support workers are trained and competent to deliver these high-intensity supports safely and effectively, maintaining the participant’s health, safety and dignity.

2. Specialist Behaviour Support

This module focuses on the provision of specialist behaviour support services, including the development and implementation of behaviour support plans. It ensures that providers use evidence-based practices to support participants who exhibit challenging behaviours. Providers are required to conduct comprehensive behavioural assessments and develop individualised behaviour support plans that aim to reduce the use of restrictive practices and promote positive behavioural outcomes.

3. Early Childhood Supports

Early childhood supports are designed for young children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. This module ensures that early intervention is provided in a family-centred manner, supporting the child’s development and participation in everyday activities. Services may include therapeutic interventions, educational support and developmental monitoring, all aimed at enhancing the child’s learning, development and inclusion.

4. Specialised Support Coordination

This module covers specialised support coordination services for participants with complex needs. It ensures that support coordinators have the expertise to manage and coordinate a range of supports, navigating complex service systems and addressing barriers to accessing services. The aim is to assist participants in achieving their goals through effective planning, coordination and implementation of supports tailored to their unique circumstances.

5. Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

The SDA module outlines standards for the provision of housing solutions designed for participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. This module ensures that SDA providers deliver accommodation that is safe, accessible, and tailored to the individual needs of participants. It includes requirements for the design, construction, and maintenance of specialist disability accommodation to promote the participant’s independence and quality of life.

What are the new NDIS Practice Standards?

The three new NDIS Practice Standards, introduced in 2021, bring significant improvements in ensuring the quality and safety of supports provided to NDIS participants. They include:

1. Mealtime Management Practice Standard

The NDIS Mealtime Management Practice Standard applies to providers responsible for assisting participants, including those with mild dysphagia, with mealtime management. It aims to ensure the quality and safety of mealtime support by addressing aspects such as nutritional value, texture, planning, preparation and delivery of meals. 

2. Severe Dysphagia Management Practice Standard

The Severe Dysphagia Management Practice Standard applies to providers registered to deliver high-intensity daily personal activities and specifically addresses severe dysphagia management. Providers are required to ensure that participants with severe dysphagia receive appropriate support tailored to their individual needs and preferences. 

3. Emergency and Disaster Management Practice Standard

The Emergency and Disaster Management Practice Standard is designed to guide providers in planning, preventing, managing and responding to emergency and disaster situations. It aims to mitigate risks and ensure the continuity of supports critical to the health, safety and wellbeing of NDIS participants. 

What is the difference between NDIS verification and certification?

To help providers easily understand which Practice Standards they must satisfy to complete their registration, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has grouped them into modules based on the complexity of the supports delivered. The two NDIS audit pathways are Verification and Certification. 

NDIS Verification Audit

For NDIS providers who deliver lower risk, lower complexity supports and services, the NDIS Verification Audit module applies. Supported by Verification Guidelines, this module requires providers to meet standards in complaints management, incident management, risk management and human resource management. 

NDIS Certification Audit 

For providers engaged in more complex, higher-risk supports and services, the NDIS Certification Audit module applies. All higher-risk providers, except those only registered for Specialist Disability Accommodation, must complete the NDIS Practice Standards core modules. Additionally, relevant supplementary modules may apply.

What NDIS provider evidence is required for the NDIS Practice Standards?

To demonstrate compliance with the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators, NDIS providers must present a range of supporting documentation during their quality audit. The standard of evidence required varies depending on the size and complexity of the services provided. Smaller providers offering less complex supports are not expected to provide the same level of evidence as larger corporate entities. 

Required documentation includes:

  • Proof of identity
  • Professional qualifications
  • Experience
  • Ongoing professional development
  • Criminal and character checks
  • Insurances
  • Completion of the NDIS mandatory worker orientation program

Providers must also show evidence of systems and processes for managing human resources, work health and safety, incident and complaint management and risk management. This is where care management software is invaluable, offering a comprehensive suite of business tools on a single platform that streamline NDIS providers’ processes.

The NDIS provider’s evidence is reviewed through a desktop audit by an approved quality auditor, who ensures that the documentation is proportionate to the risk, complexity and scale of the provider’s operations. Participants’ experiences are also considered to give a comprehensive view of the provider’s compliance with the standards. This proportional approach ensures that all providers, regardless of size, meet the required benchmarks for delivering high-quality, safe and participant-centred supports.

For more information on what evidence to upload as an NDIS provider for the Practice Standards Verification Module, read the NDIS Commission’s required documentation guide.

NDIS software that simplifies compliance for providers

By adhering to the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators, providers can create an environment where participants feel respected, empowered and supported in their journey towards achieving their personal goals. However, whether you’re a new or established provider, navigating the NDIS system and providing quality services can be challenging without the right care management solutions. If you’re ready to optimise your NDIS business so it complies with the Practice Standards, operates efficiently and delivers the best care for participants, request a demo today. 


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