NDIS Worker Screening Check

A new national worker screening process for NDIS workers

On 1 February 2021, a new national worker screening process begins across all states and territories for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) workers that provide supports and services to people with disability. It will replace the current screening processes used.
 
The NDIS Worker Screening Check (NDIS Check) will be completed by Worker Screening Units in each state or territory. In Western Australia (WA), NDIS Checks will be completed by the Department of Communities, within which the WA NDIS Worker Screening Unit operates.
  
If you are currently an NDIS worker or are seeking to work for an NDIS provider in future, you can find out more about the NDIS Check in the below drop-down list.   
 
Additional information for NDIS workers can also be found on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) website.
 
If you are an NDIS provider or self-managed participant, you can find out more relevant information at the NDIS Commission website:

What is the NDIS?

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The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an Australian Government Scheme that provides support to eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory and psychosocial disability. Early intervention supports can also be provided for eligible people with disability or children with developmental delay. 

Under the NDIS, a person with disability can choose providers to supply the supports and services they require. 

About the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

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The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) is an independent government body that will work to:

  • improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services
  • strengthen the skills and knowledge of workers, providers and participants across Australia. 

The NDIS Commission framework includes the development of a nationally consistent process for screening NDIS workers in certain roles. This is called an NDIS Worker Screening Check (NDIS Check).

The NDIS Check will be applied across all states and territories and will replace the different screening processes currently used in the disability services sector.  

What is an NDIS Check?

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People with disability have the right to be provided with safe and quality supports and services. As such, registered NDIS providers have a responsibility to make sure they do not employ unsuitable people, and that their workers are not acting or behaving in any way that puts people with disability at risk. Providers must put a range of risk management strategies in place to manage this, one of which is the NDIS Check.

The NDIS Check is a national tool that can help NDIS providers determine that individuals seeking to work (or already working) in certain NDIS roles do not present an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability. It is one of the ways to help protect and prevent people with disability from experiencing the possible harm that could arise from them receiving poor quality or unsafe supports or services under the NDIS. 

The NDIS Check will replace the different screening arrangements that have been operating in each state and territory by setting a single national standard and screening process for all NDIS workers delivering supports and services to people with disability.

More information on the NDIS Worker Screening Check is available on the NDIS Commission website.

Why do I need to get an NDIS Check?

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From 1 February 2021 onwards, proposed legislation (the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Bill 2020) will require that, if you are a worker delivering supports and services with a registered NDIS provider, you will need to undertake an NDIS Check and hold a valid clearance to be able to work in certain NDIS roles. It will be an offence to work without a valid NDIS Check clearance, or without having applied for a clearance, and penalties will apply. 

Who needs an NDIS Check?

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An NDIS Check and clearance will be mandatory if you are to be engaged in a ‘risk assessed role’ for a registered NDIS provider. 

What is a ‘risk assessed role’?

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A ‘risk assessed role’ includes:

  • key personnel (such as management and operational positions)
  • a role for which the normal duties include the direct delivery of specified supports or specified services to a person with disability
  • a role for which the normal duties are likely to require ‘more than incidental contact’ with people with disability. This includes: 
  1. physically touching a person with disability; or
  2. building a rapport with a person with disability as an integral and ordinary part of the performance of those duties; or
  3. having contact with multiple people with disability either as part of the direct delivery of a specialist disability support or service; or in a specialist disability accommodation setting. 

Contact’ includes any form of face-to-face or physical contact, and communication, whether oral, written or electronic.

Your employer will determine whether your role is risk assessed, or if an NDIS Check is required for you. 

When is an NDIS Check not mandatory?

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An NDIS Check is not mandatory for:

  • individuals with only ‘incidental contact’ with an NDIS participant
  • individuals working for a self-managed participant or an unregistered provider.

Whilst an NDIS Check is not mandatory for these roles, your employers or self-managed participants could still request that you complete an NDIS Check and have a valid clearance. 

You will need to find out from your employer or self-managed participant whether they wish for you to complete an NDIS Check and have a valid clearance.

If I have a Working with Children Check, why do I also need an NDIS Check?

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There are key differences between the Working with Children (WWC) Check and NDIS Check. 
 
The WWC Check and NDIS Check both involve different legislation. The WWC Check is based on the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA) and the NDIS Check will be based on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Screening) Bill 2020

Under legislation, each of the two checks consider different types of information and factors when determining whether the individual’s past behaviour presents an unacceptable risk of harm. 

There are also other differences between the WWC Check and NDIS Check: 

  • An Assessment Notice (card) issued as a result of a WWC Check is state based, and not portable across states and territories. It is also valid only for a period of three years.  
  • A clearance issued as a result of an NDIS Check is national, and portable across all states and territories. It will be valid for a period of five years. 

If you will be working with children with disability in Western Australia for a registered NDIS provider, you will need to apply for both the WWC Check and the NDIS Check. 
 
 

When does the NDIS Check process begin?

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All states and territories currently intend to commence the NDIS Worker Screening Check process as of 1 February 2021. There will be individual transitional arrangements and special arrangements in place for each state to ensure that:

  • until 1 February 2021, workers will have an acceptable check; and
  • after 1 February 2021, existing workers who have an acceptable check will not need to apply for an NDIS Clearance until that check expires.

More information on acceptable checks in Western Australia will be available soon.

When do I need to apply for an NDIS Check?

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Western Australia will phase in workers over a period of time. It is intended that existing workers, who meet certain criteria, will not be required to apply immediately from 1 February 2021.

More information on when you should apply will be available soon. 

How will I apply for an NDIS Check?

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From February 2021, you will be able to apply for an NDIS Check by completing an online application form, and then attending a Western Australian Driver and Vehicle Service Centre, or authorised agency, in person, to show your necessary ID documents. An application fee will apply.

Further details will be coming soon about the online application process and fees.   

An alternate lodgement process will also be available for individuals who cannot complete an application in person. You will be able to contact the local Worker Screening Unit if you have any difficulties meeting the application requirements.

What is checked?

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The NDIS Check, conducted by the NDIS Worker Screening Unit in each state, will include a check of an individual’s known past criminal history, and other relevant types of information. 

What are the possible outcomes following an NDIS Check?

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Once the NDIS Check is completed by the NDIS Worker Screening Unit, a worker will either receive a clearance or an exclusion.  

A clearance means the worker is cleared to work with people with disability in a risk assessed role. The NDIS worker screening check clearance will allow an individual to work for registered NDIS providers across Australia for five years, subject to ongoing monitoring and review. If adverse information arises about the worker after they have received a clearance, it may result in the worker losing their NDIS worker screening check clearance.

An exclusion means the worker is excluded from working with people with disability in a risk assessed role. An exclusion is given when a person’s past behaviour indicates that they pose an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability. An exclusion will generally be in place indefinitely in Western Australia, unless an application is made for it to be cancelled. For certain very serious criminal offences, the exclusion will always be permanent.  

The NDIS Commission will also hold the ‘NDIS Worker Screening Database’ which keeps a record of decisions about a worker’s clearance status. The database will allow registered NDIS providers, unregistered providers and self-managed participants to verify workers and their clearance status.

An application fee will apply. Further details to come.

Page reviewed 22 December 2020