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NDIS Requirements For Aged Care: Are Your Worker Screening Checks Still Valid?

On 1 December 2020, residential aged care providers who deliver services to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants automatically became registered NDIS providers.

From 1 February 2021, all NDIS providers are subject to the National NDIS Worker Check arrangements (except in the Northern Territory where the arrangements commence 1 July 2021).

Who needs a National NDIS Worker Check? Do your current workers need to get the NDIS Check now or can they rely on other existing checks? What about new workers? Contractors? In this article we answer the key questions.

 

What is the National NDIS Worker Check?

The NDIS Worker Screening Check is a national screening system designed to help ensure that workers in certain high-risk roles do not pose an unacceptable risk to the safety and wellbeing of NDIS participants.

The NDIS Check involves a check of a worker’s known past criminal history, professional misconduct, and other relevant information. It replaces the different screening arrangements in most states and territories, and sets a single national standard for all workers providing NDIS supports and services.

 

Who is required to have an NDIS Worker Check?

Every worker who is in a “risk assessed role” must have an NDIS Worker Check (unless they have another check that is still valid; see the next section). This includes employees and volunteers.

The NDIS Commission has some precise definitions of which workers are in a “risk assessed role”, but in the aged care context the term effectively covers:

  • all members of your board/governing body
  • anyone whose normal duties require “more than incidental contact” with a person with a disability (this would probably include all your nursing and care staff and may include others as well, e.g. activities or lifestyle staff).

Do current workers need an NDIS Worker Check or can they rely on other valid checks?

Workers who have an existing “acceptable check” can rely on them temporarily before getting their NDIS Check. Details depend on which check they have.

 

Workers with National Police Checks

Workers who have National Police Check certificates giving clearance to work in aged care which were issued prior to 1 February 2021 will be able to rely on this clearance for a period of three years from the date of the Police Check clearance, unless the clearance is revoked. These workers may still have to meet other state/territory requirements. See immediately below.

 

State and territory NDIS “acceptable checks”

Before the commencement of the National NDIS Worker Check, a worker could obtain an “acceptable check” in their state or territory. To see what constitutes an “acceptable check” in your state or territory see the NDIS Commission’s information on transitional and special arrangements.

If the worker obtained an acceptable check before 1 February 2021, it will still be valid, and they will still be allowed to work in a risk assessed role. Each state and territory has different rules about how long a person can rely on their acceptable check before they have to get an NDIS Worker Check.

NOTE: These acceptable checks are not portable. Until a worker has an NDIS Worker Screening Clearance, they can only work in a risk assessed role in the state/territory where they have an acceptable check.

 

New South Wales

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check when their criminal record check gets too old. How old is too old?

  • If the criminal record check was done before 1 July 2018, it must be no more than four years old.
  • If the criminal record check was done between 1 July 2018 and 31 January 2021, it must be no more than two years old.

 

Queensland

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check when their acceptable check expires.

 

Victoria

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check when their acceptable check expires. However, the worker must make an application for an NDIS Worker Screening Check before 1 July 2021.

 

South Australia

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check when their acceptable check expires.

 

Western Australia

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check before 1 February 2023 or before their acceptable check expires, whichever is sooner.

 

Tasmania

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check before 1 February 2024 or before their acceptable check expires, whichever is sooner.

 

ACT

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check before 1 February 2024 or before their acceptable check expires, whichever is sooner.

 

Northern Territory

The worker will have to get an NDIS Worker Check before 1 February 2023 or before their acceptable check expires, whichever is sooner.

 

Do new workers require an NDIS Worker Check?

If the worker is going to work in a risk assessed role, then yes, they must have an NDIS Worker Screening Check.

According to the NDIS Commission, “Now that the new national worker screening arrangements have started, registered NDIS providers are required to only engage workers who have an NDIS worker screening clearance in … risk assessed roles.”

 

Do contractors require an NDIS Worker Check?

If the contractor is going to work in a risk assessed role, then, yes, they must have an NDIS Worker Screening Check.

Additionally, the NDIS Commission advises that you can only allow a contractor to engage in a risk assessed role if you have:

  • identified to the contractor each risk assessed role that the individual will engage in
  • entered into an appropriate contract with the contractor for that staff member. An appropriate contract must meet the specific requirements listed in section 5A of the Worker Screening Rules
  • taken reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the individual has an NDIS worker screening clearance.

 

More Information

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission: Worker Screening Requirements

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission: Transitional and Special Arrangements

ACE: New NDIS Requirements for Aged Care Providers: What you Need to Know and Do

Mark Bryan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Mark Bryan
Mark is a Legal Research Consultant at CompliSpace and the editor for ACE. Mark has worked as a Legal Policy Officer for the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the NSW Department of Justice. He also spent three years as lead editor for the private sessions narratives team at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts/Law from the Australian National University with First Class Honours in Law, a Graduate Diploma in Writing from UTS and a Graduate Certificate in Film Directing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

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