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NDIS Worker screening check - All you need to know

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In this comprehensive resource we answer all your questions about the NDIS Woker screening process. We will be answering:

What is the new NDIS Worker Screening Check?

The NDIS Worker Screening Check assesses whether a person who works (or wants to work) with people with disability are safe to do so.

The screening aims to determine whether individuals will pose a risk to people with disability, and will clear or exclude certain people from working in various roles depending on the outcome.

Individual states and territories will manage the worker screening units, and registered NDIS providers hold the onus of ensuring that their workers engaged in risk assessed roles have clearance under the NDIS Worker Screening Check.

How to get an NDIS Worker Screening Check?

The NDIS Commission has created a flow chart specifically for registered providers looking to get their workers a screening check.

It can be summarised as follows:

  1. Workers must first complete an online application to the state or territory NDIS Worker Screening Unit (WSU) and nominate an employer or self-managed participant.
  2. Payment is made to the WSU, and then WSU will confirm the identity of the worker and send the application to the NDIS Worker Screening Database (NWSD).
  3. This triggers an automatic email notification to the employer/provider and prompts them to log onto NWSD to verify the worker.
  4. The worker will then be identified on the database and they will become ‘linked’ to the provider.
  5. WSU then takes a risk assessment of the worker based on the information they have provided.
  6. WSU will then determine whether the worker can be cleared or excluded, and the result is sent through to the NWSD.
  7. Finally, another email is generated to the linked employer advising them of the result, and employment or continuation of employment can then commence.

Why was the NDIS Worker Screening Check introduced?

The core reasoning behind introducing this screening process is to ensure that individuals who have the potential to be harmful are not working with people with disability.

Prior to this screening check, not every clearance was equal, and harmful individuals were slipping through the cracks and engaging in risk assessed roles.

This had a direct impact on the safety and wellbeing of NDIS recipients.

Many people with disability have experienced abuse and poor treatment by workers with the required clearance, and this screening process aims to stop that.

Previously, many clearances did not take into account enhanced police information due to privacy reasons. Government screening processes like this one take into account a broader range of information, meaning providers can get a better understanding of whether or not an individual is a potential risk or not.

The check will also give self-managed participants and non-registered providers access to the same information as registered providers. This will enable them to make appropriate decisions about the workers they employ.

When does NDIS Worker Screening Check begin?

In all states and territories of Australia except for the Northern Territory the NDIS Worker Screening Check came into effect on 1 February 2021. 

The Northern Territory will commence its arrangements on 1 July 2021.

As the screening process was introduced only a few months ago, we are currently in a period of transition. This means that not all workers need to be screened immediately.

NDIS Screening Check NSW, QLD, WA and SA

If a worker has an existing checks (on or before 1 January 2021) and they meet the current acceptable clearance requirements for an NDIS check, they will remain valid until they expire.

After they expire, workers in these states require a clearance with the new NDIS Screening Check.

For all workers who do not have any current clearance, the NDIS Worker Screening Check must be completed.

NDIS Screening Check VIC

Things are a little different: If a worker holds a current acceptable check, they will have until 31 July 2021 to receive a clearance under the new screening check process.

However, if the worker currently also holds a Working with Children clearance, they may wait until that expires also to apply for the screening check.

See your state / territory website for important resources including information on their transitional periods.

For all workers who do not have any current clearance, the NDIS Worker Screening Check must be completed.

NDIS Screening Check NT

Since they have not commenced its territory-wide screening yet, providers must ensure any person engaged in a risk assessed role has a clearance notice (ie. an Ochre Card) and that the Ochre Card allows the individual to engage in the role concerned.

Once the national screening is implemented in the Northern Territory, a person that met these requirements during this transitional period may continue to work in their role for two years, or until the clearance is expired.

Every state and territory has different requirements when it comes to the transition period

As the screening process has started across most of Australia, registered NDIS providers will only engage workers who have received clearance through the screening for certain roles, but each state and territory has different requirements.

Check each state's website for the transition period requirements

Who needs an NDIS Worker Screening Check?

It is mandatory for all workers of registered providers engaged in risk assessed roles to obtain a clearance from the screening process.

Unregistered providers and self-managed participants can choose whether or not to have their workers obtain the check.

See the process as a step by step

What is classed as a risk assessed role?

Providers are responsible for determining whether a worker is in a risk assessed role or not.

According to the NDIS Commission, a risk assessed role is:

  • A key personnel role of a person or entity (for example, a CEO or Board Member)
  • 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, including:
    • physically touching a person with disability; or
    • building a rapport with a person with disability as an integral and ordinary part of the performance of normal duties; or
    • having contact with multiple people with disability as part of the direct delivery of a specialist disability support or service, or in a specialist disability accommodation setting.

This means that every individual who works for a registered provider and has any direct or indirect contact with people with disability must receive a clearance under the new check.

What about workers not engaged in risk assessed roles?

For workers not engaged in a risk assessed role, it is not mandatory to receive a check. For example the person doing the admin tasks in the back office of a disability organisation.

Note: Providers can still require workers to get a worker screening check even if they are not in a risk assessed role.

Do workers in all states need an NDIS Worker Screening Check?

Yes. This requirement does not differ by state, but if an individual works in two different states the provider is required to ensure they hold acceptable checks in both states or territories.

There is good news though - as this new worker screening check is a nationally accepted scaffold, workers will be able to move seamlessly between roles, departments, organisations and states/territories without having to obtain another check within the five-year period of its validation.

Do unregistered providers need a worker screening check?

As mentioned above, unregistered providers are able to decide whether they want their workers to undergo the screening process. Although the screening process is not mandatory for workers at unregistered providers, providers can still request risk assessed workers to demonstrate their clearance or an acceptable check, as well as requesting that the worker apply for one.

What about self-managed participants?

Self-managed participants are also able to decide whether they will require screening checks for their workers. It is, however, encouraged that self-managed participants do so, and worth noting that participants can change their minds and require screening checks of their workers at any time.

Are there any exceptions?

Exceptions include secondary students who are participating in formal work experience placements with registered NDIS providers.

These individuals do not require a screening clearance or acceptable check to engage in a risk assessed role. This is valid assuming the student is directly supervised by a worker who holds a current NDIS clearance.

What is the cost of an NDIS Worker Screening Check?

Each state or territory sets their own fees for the Worker Screening Check. This fee will be paid by the worker or the employer, not by the NDIS Commission. Please see below for a chart outlining the fees in different jurisdictions:

State

Fees (paid)

Fees (volunteer)

QLD

$117.00

Free

NSW

$80.00

Free

VIC

$119.40

Free

TAS

$113.40

$19.44

ACT

$135.00

Free

SA

$115.00

Free

WA

$145.00

$11.00

FACT SHEETS

Fact sheet: NDIS Worker Screening Check: What registered Residential Aged Care NDIS providers need to know

Fact sheet: NDIS Worker Screening Check: What self-managed NDIS participants need to know

Fact sheet: NDIS Worker Screening Check (for general stakeholders)

Flow chart: Registered providers: Worker screening checks required

Flow chart: NDIS Worker Screening Check – Application process

Flow chart: Unregistered providers: NDIS Worker Screening Check

WORKER SCREENING QUICK REFERENCE GUIDES

For registered providers

         NDIS Worker Screening Check verification request

         Link a worker

         Find a worker and check their clearance status

         Unlink a worker

For unregistered providers

         Request access to the NDIS Worker Screening Database (NWSD)

         Manage NWSD access and email preferences

         NDIS Worker Screening verification request

         Find a worker and check their clearance status

         Link a worker

         Unlink a worker

For self-managed participants

         Request access to the NDIS Worker Screening Database (NWSD)

         Manage NWSD access and email preferences

         NDIS Worker Screening verification request

         Find a worker and check their clearance status

         Link a worker

         Unlink a worker

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