NDIS Checks are regulated by the NDIS Worker Screening Unit (Screening Unit) and it is important to understand and comply with obligations under the NDIS Worker Screening Act.
Workers in risk assessed roles
Workers in risk assessed roles for registered NDIS providers must have either an NDIS Check or an acceptable check. People working on an acceptable check must apply for an NDIS Check in line with the phasing in requirements.
Applicants and clearance holders
Under the NDIS Worker Screening Act, you must notify the Screening Unit of any changes in your personal particulars. This includes your name, contact information or employer details. You can notify the Screening Unit of a change by logging into your DoTDirect account.
You must also notify the Screening Unit if there is a ‘relevant change’ in your criminal record. A relevant change, under the NDIS Worker Screening Act, is when there is a charge or conviction for a Class 1 or Class 2 offence. You can do this by emailing the Screening Unit at NDISCheck@communities.wa.gov.au.
Penalties apply to both applicants and clearance holders who do not advise the Screening Unit of changes to their particulars, or of relevant changes to their criminal record.
Interim Bar holders
Workers who are issued an interim bar are prohibited from working in risk assessed roles for registered NDIS providers until a final decision is made to issue an exclusion or grant a clearance.
Workers who are issued an exclusion are prohibited from being employed or engaged in a risk assessed role for a registered NDIS provider.
Obligations under the NDIS Worker Screening Act exist to help minimise the potential for an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability. The Screening Unit conducts proactive compliance activities to assist NDIS Check holders and applicants comply.
From time to time, NDIS Check holders may be requested by the Screening Unit to provide information for compliance purposes. This is designed to encourage and ensure compliance.
If you are issued an adverse outcome and are not sure what this means for you, you should contact the Screening Unit or seek independent legal advice. The Screening Unit monitors high risk individuals to ensure they are complying and may carry out investigations. If a breach is found, the Screening Unit may prosecute individuals, which can result in large fines and/or imprisonment.
To further ensure a robust NDIS Worker Screening program, the Screening Unit works collaboratively with the NDIS Commission. Underpinned by formal arrangement, the two agencies work closely together to inform and assist each other in resolving compliance issues.
Under the NDIS Worker Screening Act, a number of penalties apply to workers who do not comply.
It is an offence to:
- start or continue to work in a risk assessed role for a registered NDIS provider without holding a valid clearance, without having applied for an NDIS Check clearance, or if you are subject to an exclusion, suspension or interim bar. The penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment and a fine of $60,000.
- not notify the Screening Unit in writing of a relevant change in particulars (name, residential address, contact details, change in employer) as soon as practicable after the relevant change occurs. The penalty is a fine of $5,000.
- not notify the Screening Unit in writing of a relevant change in your criminal record (a charge or conviction for a Class 1 or Class 2 offence). The penalty for this is five years imprisonment and a fine of $60,000.
- knowingly give false or misleading information to the Screening Unit. The penalty for this is two years imprisonment and a fine of $24,000.
The Screening Unit acknowledges that in most cases, people do, or are willing to, comply with their obligations under the NDIS Worker Screening Act. The primary approach to achieve compliance is to inform and educate workers to identify and understand their obligations.
Strategies to achieve compliance range from encouraging compliance through to enforcement activities. To determine an appropriate response to compliance issues, the Screening Unit will consider the seriousness of the issue, the person’s attitude towards the issue and the likelihood of harm to a person with disability.
Strategies to achieve compliance include:
Informing and encouraging
- Providing advice and creating awareness through customer support, website material and resources.
- Carrying out community engagement activities such as presentations or webinars.
Assisting and monitoring
- Conducting targeted education campaigns addressing specific or high-risk issues.
- Following up on persons issued with interim bars, suspensions, or exclusions.
- Referring matters to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
- Carrying out investigations of alleged breaches of the NDIS Worker Screening Act.
Full force of the law
- Issuing formal warnings or conducting a prosecution of an offence under the NDIS Worker Screening Act.
The Screening Unit’s regulatory powers are set out in the NDIS Worker Screening Act and Regulations. In performing its functions under the Act, the Screening Unit must regard the safety and wellbeing of people with disability, and in particular their right to live a life free from abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation, as the paramount consideration.