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Queenslands quality and safeguards during transition

Why is there a quality and safeguards system?

Queensland’s quality and safeguards system is in place to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of Queenslanders with disability. As we move to the NDIS, where people have greater choice and control over their supports and services, it is important to have quality assurance checks and safeguards in place to keep people safe and protect their rights.

It was agreed between the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Australian and Queensland governments that during transition to the NDIS (from now until 30 June 2019), Queensland’s existing quality and safeguards requirements will apply to NDIS registered providers. This means that NDIS participants can be assured that NDIS registered providers are required to have quality assurance systems and meet certain legislative requirements.

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What are Queensland's quality and safeguards requirements during NDIS transition and how do they apply?

The Queensland quality and safeguards system is made up of legislative and non-legislative protections. Providers need to meet quality assurance requirements and their obligations as outlined in legislation.

Queensland legislation

The Disability Services Act 2006 regulates:

  • the positive behaviour support and restrictive practices framework
  • criminal history screening
  • complaints management process
  • monitoring and investigative powers

The Public Guardian Act 2014 regulates:

  • The Adult Visitor Program

The Coroners Act 2013 requires:

  • that every death in care be reported to the police or coroner, regardless of the circumstances or cause of death

The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 requires:

  • a person who engages in paid or voluntary child-related work to have a blue card

Queensland quality assurance

  • The Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) provides the system to assess and promote continuous improvement in the quality of human services.
  • Providers must also have internal policies and processes to manage risk, prevent and respond to abuse, neglect and exploitation and manage complaints.

Queensland’s quality and safeguards system applies until such time that the Quality and Safeguards Commission is established in Queensland and the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework is implemented (refer to questions 29-31).

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How does the quality and safeguard system impact me as a provider?

Individuals or organisations who wish to deliver services to an NDIS participant who chooses not to self-manage their plan, need to register with the NDIS.

During transition to the NDIS (from now until 30 June 2019) if an organisation wishes to register to deliver ‘prescribed’ disability services (those listed in Schedule 1 of the Disability Services Regulation 2017) in Queensland, they need to meet the requirements of the Queensland quality and safeguards system.

At registration, a provider needs to show evidence of meeting Queensland’s Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF), which includes the requirement for worker screening, and having policies and processes in place to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect and exploitation.

NDIS registered providers are also required to meet their legislative obligations. Refer to questions 2 and 7 for the Queensland and Commonwealth legislation.

Providers need to be able to demonstrate how they comply with these and other legislative requirements when they undergo an audit under the HSQF.

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What is state approval?

If assessed as “Pending State Approval” by the NDIA, providers are required to contact Queensland’s Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to make sure you meet Queensland’s quality assurance requirements for registration with the NDIS. Providers are required to provide a copy of their “Pending State Approval” advice to the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors to commence the state approval process.

In Queensland, state approval can be met:

  • if a provider has already achieved HSQF certification, or
  • if the department accepts a provider's alternative accreditation, or
  • if the department accepts a self-assessment (completed by the provider).

Look at the HSQF website to learn more.

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Why am I required to obtain state approval for some registration groups?

State approval is only required if providers wish to register to deliver ‘prescribed’ disability services (those listed in Schedule 1 of the Disability Services Regulation 2017) in Queensland, see Disability Services Regulation 2017 (PDF), at Schedule 1.

These are:

  1. Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement
  2. Daily personal activities
  3. Development of daily living and life skills
  4. Therapeutic supports
  5. Early intervention supports for early childhood
  6. Specialist positive behaviour support
  7. Assistance in coordinating or managing life stages, transitions and supports
  8. Management of funding for supports
  9. Participation in community, social and civic activities
  10. Interpreting and translation
  11. High intensity daily personal activities
  12. Group and centre based activities
  13. Support coordination.

There are other registration groups listed in the NDIA Provider Registration Guide to Suitability, available in the Provider Toolkit, but only those listed in the Disability Services Regulation 2017 require state approval.

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Are the requirements for registration the same in every state?

Each state has different requirements for registration during transition (from now until 30 June 2019). Providers need to check the requirements for each state in the NDIA Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability.

Until such time that there is a national quality and safeguarding framework in place that will outline the requirements for registration with the NDIS, each state and territory are responsible for their own quality and safeguards and therefore there are different registration requirements in each state.

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What legislation should I be aware of?

Providers should be aware of Commonwealth and State legislation that they are required to meet. There is a list of relevant Commonwealth and State legislation in the Quality assurance and safeguards working arrangements for transition in Queensland, otherwise known as “the Working Arrangements”.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Coroners Act 2003 (Qld)
  • Disability Services Act 1986 (Commonwealth)
  • Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld)
  • Disability Services Regulation 2017
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Commonwealth)
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (Registered Providers of Supports) Rules 2013 (Commonwealth)
  • Public Guardian Act 2014 (Qld)
  • Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld) and Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Regulation 2011

Providers also need to identify other relevant legislation that apply to the operation of their business such as work health and safety, fire safety, information privacy, child protection, fair work etc.

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The Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) is Queensland’s quality improvement framework that has been in place for funded providers of disability services since 2012. It is a quality assurance and continuous improvement system that requires Disability Services providers to achieve and maintain certification through a third party audit. During transition, NDIS registered providers who register to deliver prescribed disability services are required to meet the requirements of the HSQF.

HSQF has two roles during Queensland’s transition to the NDIS to make sure people with disability are safe, protected and their wellbeing is maintained in the delivery of their supports and services.

When registering to be an NDIS provider

As part of the registration process to deliver prescribed disability services in Queensland, a provider is required to meet State requirements. The provider needs to upload evidence of meeting Queensland’s HSQF system. This can either be with their current HSQF certificate, a letter from the State recognising a provider’s alternative accreditation or a letter from the State accepting a provider’s completed self-assessment (in the case of a new provider).

Ongoing quality assurance

As a general rule, an NDIS registered provider needs to achieve and maintain HSQF certification and continue to meet the legislative and non-legislative requirements of Queensland’s quality and safeguards system.

The HSQF is the non-legislative component of this system. The provider must achieve and maintain HSQF certification (through a third party audit) within 18 months of the date of NDIA approval of registration. Exceptions may apply on a case by case basis where a provider’s alternative accreditation or professional qualifications are accepted as meeting HSQF requirements on an ongoing basis (e.g. allied health professionals quality assured by their professional body).

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What is the myplace Provider Portal?

The myplace Provider Portal (myplace) is the NDIA’s online portal that allows providers to view and manage their services with a participant including:

  • viewing registration details
  • making payment requests for services provided to participants
  • managing and viewing the details of agreements entered into with participants
  • instant messaging with participants.

Details about how to set up a myplace account can be found in the NDIA Provider Toolkit.

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What is the Declaration of Suitability?

The Declaration of Suitability is required by the NDIA. It requires providers to declare that they will remain compliant with the requirements of being a NDIS provider. These include complying with state and territory quality and safeguards arrangements and ensuring that either you, or relevant staff, have the experience, qualifications and professional membership/registration required for the registration groups you have selected in your application.

The Declaration of Suitability needs to be signed and uploaded to the myplace Provider Portal as part of your application to be a registered provider.

The Declaration of Suitability can be found in the NDIA Provider Toolkit.

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What are the NDIA Terms of Business?

The NDIA Terms of Business are available in the NDIA Provider Toolkit and specify a range of conditions that are binding on a registered provider. The Terms of Business outline the commercial requirements for doing business as an NDIA Registered Provider. This includes expectations in relation to:

  • business practice and service delivery
  • payments and pricing
  • reporting and conflict of interest management
  • maintenance of records and audits
  • complaints handling procedures
  • compliance measures, including the Quality Assurance and Safeguards Working Arrangements.

Failure to comply with the Terms of Business may provide grounds for the NDIA to consider revoking the registered provider’s registration.

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What is the NDIA Provider Registration Guide to Suitability?

The NDIA Provider Registration Guide to Suitability is available in the NDIA Provider Toolkit. The Guide to Suitability provides information to assist providers understand their quality, safeguards and compliance obligations as providers of supports funded through the NDIA. It also prescribes the minimum registration requirements for registered providers delivering each relevant support, including specific professional qualifications and experience.

A new provider who requires quality assurance approval under the Queensland Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) for any registration groups, is required to provide documentary evidence that staff hold the relevant qualifications, memberships and experience, to Queensland’s Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

The Provider Registration Guide to Suitability also details the state and territory requirements for specialist disability providers.

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I am starting my own business to provide supports to people under the NDIS - where can I go for information and assistance?

Visit the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors' website to see a range of resources, information or workshops that is available to help providers understand how to get ready for the NDIS.

The Business development package aims to support organisational readiness for the changes occurring across the community services industry.

Visit the NDIA website for information for providers and there is a Provider Toolkit that details the process for registering as an NDIS provider.

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As a new provider, what do I need to know about quality and safeguards and how they will apply to my business?

An individual or organisation choosing to register to deliver disability supports to NDIS participants need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations during transition (now until 30 June 2019) and also into full scheme (beyond 1 July 2019).

During transition, NDIS providers need to meet the requirements of both the State quality and safeguards system and NDIA obligations. They need to meet these obligations for the full period of registration with the NDIA.

The National Quality and Safeguarding Framework provides an overview of the framework that will come into effect as each state and territory transitions to full scheme. Queensland is scheduled to transition to full scheme by 1 July 2019.

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Do I need to register as provider with the NDIA?

To be paid by the NDIA for providing disability supports or services to an NDIS participant who chooses not to self-manage their plan, providers will need to register with the NDIA using the online provider portal, myplace.

NDIS participants who self-manage their plan can decide how they will pay their suppliers. The person will arrange this with their supplier and the supplier does not have to register with the NDIS to receive payment.

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I am a new provider - why do I need to complete a self-assessment against the HSQF and how will it be assessed?

As part of the registration process, all NDIS providers in Queensland need to meet the requirements of the NDIA and the quality and safeguards system of the state. More information about Queensland’s quality and safeguards system.

Part of the requirement to become a registered provider is to be approved by the state to deliver prescribed disability services in Queensland. New providers need to complete a self-assessment to demonstrate their capacity to meet the Human Services Quality Standards and submit this to the Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) team on hsqf@communities.qld.gov.au.

More information about Queensland’s Human Services Quality Framework.

The submitted self-assessment is then reviewed for completeness and the provider will be sent a letter by email with a response from Queensland’s HSQF team. As part of this review process you may be asked to provide copies of key policies and procedures and other guiding documents such as your vision and mission statement and business plan to the HSQF team for review.

When the letter from Queensland says that the self-assessment is complete it can be used as evidence to upload to the NDIA myplace Provider Portal along with any other evidence required. If the self-assessment is not complete, the provider will receive written advice and have the opportunity to submit the self-assessment once the identified gaps or areas for improvement have been addressed.

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I am a new provider and am providing services in another state or sector. Will my alternative accreditation be recognised as meeting HSQF requirements?

As a provider registering to deliver services in Queensland, who delivers services in another state, your alternate accreditation will be assessed by Queensland’s Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) team as part of the registration process to see that it aligns with the intent, purpose and outcomes of the HSQF. You may be asked to provide additional information such as copies of key policies and procedures as assurance that you understand Queensland’s quality and safeguards requirements.

If the alternate accreditation is considered to meet these requirements, you will receive written advice from Queensland’s HSQF team for you to upload to the NDIA myplace Provider Portal, along with any other evidence required to complete registration.

Contact Queensland’s HSQF team on hsqf@communities.qld.gov.au to talk about seeking recognition of alternative accreditation.

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I am a new provider - do I need to meet ongoing quality assurance requirements in Queensland once I am registered with the NDIS? How will I know what I am meant to do and by when?

All NDIS registered providers, need to meet the legislative and non-legislative (quality assurance) requirements of Queensland’s quality and safeguards system during transition to the NDIS (from now until 30 June 2019).

There are some Queensland requirements that must be met up front as part of registration, and there are also ongoing obligations to meet the legislative and quality assurance requirements during the transition period or until such time that the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework is in place.

For quality assurance, NDIS registered providers need to achieve certification to the Queensland’s Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) through third party audits within 18 months of the NDIS date of registration. Certification needs to be maintained for the full period of transition.

There may be some providers who are exempt from this (i.e. allied health professionals) as they are quality assured by their professional body. Information about this can be found in the Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability.

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I am a sole trader disability support worker - do I need to comply with quality and safeguards?

Queensland’s quality and safeguards framework (HSQF) applies to NDIS registered providers who deliver prescribed disability services (those services listed in the Disability Services Regulation 2017) in a NDIS participants plan, regardless of business structure. This framework is designed to provide protections to the people that you provide supports to, as well as to you as a business operator.

There are some exemptions to this. Where professionals are registering to deliver a prescribed disability service solely under a professional registration group that directly aligns to their professional registration or certification (i.e. AHPRA registered practitioners - see section 4.5 Professional registration groups in the NDIA Provider Registration Guide to Suitability) they are not required to show evidence of compliance with the HSQF at registration or ongoing. They are required to meet their legislative obligations.

Additionally, registered health practitioners are exempt from criminal history screening under the Disability Services Act 2006 if their engagement with a department funded non-government service provider or NDIS non-government service provider relates to their functions as a health professional.

The following professions are captured by the definition of a registered health practitioner in the Disability Services Act 2006:

  • chiropractors
  • dentists
  • doctors
  • nurses
  • occupational therapists
  • optometrists
  • osteopaths
  • pharmacists
  • physiotherapists
  • podiatrists
  • psychologists.

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I am a sole trader and will not be employing staff, am I expected to have policies and procedures in place?

Yes, although a sole trader may not have staff, they will require policies to address risk, complaints, how to respond to abuse, neglect and exploitation, manage personal information and how people access their services and receive person centred supports. Sole traders will also need to have a continuous improvement process to ensure ongoing delivery of high quality services.

This will be checked through the independent audit process under the Queensland Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF), to be conducted within 18 months of registration approval from the NDIA. An auditor will talk with participants and their families as part of the audit process to confirm that a provider’s policies and processes are working and that the provider is delivering services and supports that meet the Human Services Quality Standards.

Professionals, who may also be sole traders, who are applying to deliver professional services that align with their qualifications, and align with their professional registration or certification, are not required to meet HSQF requirements.

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I am a sole trader - how do I know what legislation applies to me when providing supports under the NDIS?

A sole trader who is an NDIS registered providers who deliver prescribed disability services (those listed in the Disability Services Regulation 2017 (PDF)) must meet their legislative and non-legislative requirements. (Refer to questions 2 and 7)

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I am a sole trader disability support worker - how can I get state approval for a professional registration group?

To register for and deliver supports in the NDIS professional registration groups, providers require specific professional qualifications and experience as a prerequisite. This is because these supports require specific skills and experience to be safely provided. The list of professional registration groups and requirements can be found in 4.5 in the NDIA’s Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability.

Professionals who wish to provide prescribed services must comply with Queensland’s quality and safeguards requirements in order to register.

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I am an allied health professional, do I need state approval to register to provide professional services for NDIS registration groups that I have qualifications for?

If an allied health professional applies to deliver supports that fall within the registration group for which they are qualified and for which they have professional registration or certification, they do not need to meet the quality assurance requirements of the Queensland Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) at registration. This is because allied health professionals require registration or accreditation with their relevant professional body, in this case, AHPRA. They are however, required to meet their legislative obligations.

If however, an allied health professional applies for a registration group that is outside their professional qualifications, they are required to meet Queensland’s quality assurance (HSQF) requirements at registration. More information about this can be found in the NDIA’s Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability.

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I am an allied health professional, what are my ongoing quality assurance requirements and what safeguards apply?

Refer to the list of Commonwealth and State legislation in the Quality assurance and safeguards working arrangements for transition in Queensland (PDF), otherwise known as “Working Arrangements. Allied health professionals will also need to identify other relevant legislation that apply to the operation of their business such as work health and safety, fire safety, information privacy, child protection, fair work etc.

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I am an allied health professional, why has the NDIA not approved by request for a non-professional registration group such as participation in community, social and civic activities?

An allied health professional applying for a non-professional registration group is required to meet Queensland’s quality and safeguards requirement, and in order to progress registration the NDIA require supporting documentation from Queensland to say that they have done so.

A new provider can complete a self-assessment which will show how they intend to meet the Queensland Human Services Quality Standards and this will be reviewed.

If the provider has accreditation against other standards, Queensland will review the suitability of this alternative accreditation and provide them with an approval that can be used as supporting documentation to upload to the NDIA portal to finalise registration.

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I am a qualified teacher, will Queensland accept my qualifications/registration as meeting quality assurance requirements for registration to provide professional services?

A teacher is able to register to deliver early intervention supports for early childhood. In addition to a teacher qualification and relevant teacher registration in Queensland, there is a need to demonstrate experience in early childhood interventions with children with disability and experiences in providing service within a trans-disciplinary framework. For more information on professional registration groups, see the NDIA’s Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability.

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I am a qualified counsellor, will Queensland accept my qualifications/membership with a professional body as meeting quality assurance requirements for registration to provide professional services?

A counsellor with qualifications and relevant experience and membership of the Australian Counselling Association or equivalent, is able to register for the Early Intervention for Early Childhood registration group as well as the Therapeutic Supports registration group without the need to complete a self-assessment for the Queensland Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF).

For Early Intervention for Early Childhood, a qualified and experienced professional is required to show evidence of experience in early childhood intervention with children with disability and experience in providing service within a trans- disciplinary framework.

For Therapeutic Support registration group, in addition to qualifications and membership of the Australian Counselling Association or equivalent, it is necessary to also show experience in professional/clinician supervision and development as defined by the professional registration requirements of the relevant profession.

For further detail see the NDIA’s Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability.

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When I register for Support Coordination, what is it that I am registering to deliver?

As outlined in the Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability, Support Coordination is a professional registration group. It is about providing support coordination for people with complex needs. The support is time limited and focusses on addressing barriers and reducing complexity in the support environment, while assisting the participant to connect with supports and build capacity and resilience.

In order to register for this group, there is a requirement for staff to be either a psychologist, occupational therapist, social worker or other allied health practitioner, developmental educator or social or health science professional all with experience in support coordination for people with complex needs.

As outlined in the Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability, Support Coordination is a professional registration group. It is about providing support coordination for people with complex needs. The support is time limited and focusses on addressing barriers and reducing complexity in the support environment, while assisting the participant to connect with supports and build capacity and resilience.

In order to register for this group, there is a requirement for staff to be either a psychologist, occupational therapist, social worker or other allied health practitioner, developmental educator or social or health science professional all with experience in support coordination for people with complex needs.

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I am a qualified accountant, will Queensland accept my qualifications as meeting quality assurance requirements for registration group Plan Management?

A Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) applying to provide services under NDIS Registration group ‘Management of Funding of Support (Plan Management), are exempt from fulfilling the requirements of the Queensland Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF). Refer to the NDIA’s Provider Toolkit, Provider Registration Guide to Suitability for more information.

They are however, still required to meet their legislative obligations.

Should CPAs or CAs apply for registration groups other than plan management, this exemption would need to be reviewed.

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What is the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding framework?

The NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework (the Framework), sets out a new nationally consistent approach to regulation for the NDIS. This was publically released on 3 February 2017.

The Framework is designed to support the rights of people with disability by ensuring they have access to quality and safe services under the NDIS.

The Framework will be in place for NDIS full scheme and until such time states, territories and the Commonwealth remain responsible for the quality and safeguarding arrangements, including managing complaints and feedback, along with the NDIA.

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When with the national framework be in place?

The NDIS National Quality and Safeguarding framework will be implemented in jurisdictions as they transition to NDIS full scheme. For Queensland, that is from 1 July 2019.

Until such time, organisations need to register with the NDIS and meet the requirements of both the NDIS and the relevant quality and safeguards system in the jurisdictions in which they wish to deliver services to NDIS participants.

Further information on the design of the quality and safeguarding framework for NDIS full scheme, is available on the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services website.

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Who will be responsible for quality and safeguards when the NDIS is in full scheme?

An independent Commonwealth body is being established to oversee the delivery of quality supports and services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Quality and Safeguards Commission and Other Measures) Bill 2017 to establish the Commission was passed by the Australian Parliament on 4 December 2017.

The Commission will implement the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework which was released by the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council in February 2017. The Framework will come into effect as each state and territory reaches full scheme NDIS. The Framework sets out a national system to support NDIS participants, carers and providers – upholding the standards that participants deserve, and ensuring clarity on the rights and responsibilities of participants, providers and their staff.

The Commission will be established in early 2018, and is expected to commence operations in each state and territory by 1 July, 2020. In New South Wales and South Australia, that happens from July 2018. Remaining states reach full scheme in July 2019, except Western Australia which is expected to reach full scheme in July 2020.

The Commission will support NDIS participants to exercise choice and control, ensure appropriate safeguards are in place for NDIS supports, and establish expectations for providers and their staff to deliver quality support.

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Download documents

Download the print version of Frequently Asked Questions about Queensland's quality and safeguards during transition.

Guidance to prospective NDIS-Registered Providers regarding their obligations and considerations around quality and safeguards if the wish to deliver 'prescribed services'.

Overview of the NDIS registration process for individuals and organsiations who want to deliver disability supports and services to NDIS participants in Queensland.

Help with downloading documents

Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.