The Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS has decided to conduct an inquiry into the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (the NDIS Commission). VALID has taken part in the process and has made these recommendations:
• The Federal Government must provide the resources the NDIS Commission needs to fully discharge its responsibilities to NDIS participants and their families including more staff to take enquires and complaints, more investigators and unannounced visitors, and staff with the offices and time available to work with people who need full support to exercise their right to make a complaint.
• The NDIS Commission needs a clear and published process which is adequately resourced to provide intensive assistance to people who are living in situations where complaining puts their safety or critical supports at risk.
• The NDIS Commission needs to build relationships with self-advocacy groups and advocacy organisations, and work to become familiar to people in closed, congregate and segregated services across Australia.
• The NDIS Commission must engage people with intellectual disabilities and their advocacy organisations to co-design new ways of working with and learning from people who use specialist services, particularly people who cannot make a complaint independently, people living in closed and congregate settings, people with complex communication and behaviour support needs, and people who have limited or conflicted decision-making supporters.
• The NDIS Commission needs a more direct role in influencing the operational practices of the NDIA and Local Area Coordinators (LAC) that put participants at risk of abuse, neglect and/or exploitation. The NDIS Commission needs to prioritise work to minimise conflict of interest in and ensure the integrity of the complaint-making process, and to ensure transparency in its own decision-making.
• VALID believes the NDIS Commission must work quickly to establish an agreed formal practice with independent disability advocacy organisations that make clear the roles and relationships, including specific processes for the involvement of independent advocates for people who cannot provide consent.
You can read the rest of the submission here.