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A New Policy Makes the NDIS Safer for Participants

It’s long been acknowledged that those with a disability are at greater risk of abuse and neglect; it’s one of the core reasons behind the creation of the NDIS. But there is still work to be done to improve participants’ safety.

To this end, the NDIA have crafted a new Safeguarding Policy, which we’re going to take a look at in this blog. Who was consulted? What is it trying to achieve? And what does it mean for you?

What is the NDIS’ Participant Safeguarding Policy? Simply put, it’s a new initiative to improve NDIS participants’ safety and wellbeing. It focuses on all groups involved in the NDIS: the carers, the NDIA itself and, of course, the participants. It attempts to educate everyone on how and why abuse or neglect may occur, how to recognise or anticipate it, and – most importantly – empower the participants themselves. Who did the NDIS talk to when designing this policy? If you’re going to write a policy that promotes the wellbeing of a particular group of people, then you need to get their input – and that’s exactly what the NDIA did. In 2022, they talked with over 210 people, 40% of whom were NDIS participants. 75 hours of online workshops were held with participants and their family and carers. These workshops were held between June and December last year and delivered in three parts. The staggered nature was intended to create an environment in which everyone felt relaxed and comfortable with discussing and sharing their views and experiences. Given the nature of the conversations, the NDIA brought in trauma counsellors from Relationships Australia to help with the workshops and make sure participants’ wellbeing was always the main concern. What are the guiding principles of the policy? After a lot of research and consultation with the right people, the Safeguarding Policy was developed to hone in on four focus areas that will improve participants’ safety and wellbeing under the NDIS. Below, we take a look at each focus area and the relevant policies and practices that Sunrise2Sunrise has in place. Focus Area 1: The NDIA will re-evaluate their risk indicators so that they can better determine if and when a participant is at risk of harm. This will make the NDIA much better at letting participants know what they might be at risk of, when that might occur and how to manage it. What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area? Having the right risk indicators in place is incredibly important, which is why we at Sunrise2Sunrise perform our own risk assessments with our own checklist that has evolved along with our experience. The staff who perform these risk assessments have years in the industry and know what each individual participant needs. These assessments also make it easier for us to match the right staff and support workers to the participant – another vital consideration. Focus Area 2: The second focus area of the policy is all about improving the training and education of workers and carers. It’s important these people are armed with the right knowledge and skills so they can properly support those living with a disability. What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area? Continual training and education is the only way to ensure our services remain industry leading. At Sunrise2Sunrise, we have our own training modules, from face-to-face to eLearning, which include ways in which to safeguard our participants. Our support workers and staff are always looking to improve and be the best that they can be, and we have the systems in place to help them achieve that. Focus Area 3: This focus area is all about safeguards. What can be done to stop abuse and neglect before it happens? Similar to the previous focus point, much of this has to do with educating workers so they know how to help participants develop safeguards appropriate for them. What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area? Having the right support worker makes all the difference. That’s why we have a rigorous recruitment process that increase our chances of finding the best available. They go through an internal induction and are provided with on-going training, often tailored to the participant they’re matched with. Focus Area 4: What happens after abuse or neglect has happened? This is the fourth focus area, and it’s all about the NDIA finding better policies and processes to support participants when things go wrong. What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area? Incidents will always occur, and how they’re resolved is incredibly important. Apart from reports made to relevant government bodies, we also perform our own investigation and provide re-education and further training where necessary. We’re committed to providing the best NDIS support services available. To this end, we have invested in developing our own CRM portal which helps us manage our participants and improve our level and quality of communication. An important policy that marks a step in the right direction This new policy represents a shift in attitude. Not only does it recognise the need for better safeguards for NDIS participants, it also recognises that participants should have a say in their own lives and treatment. The fact that they have been consulted so heavily is probably the most heartening aspect of this new policy. As for Sunrise2Sunrise, we look forward to seeing what this policy achieves, while having confidence in the safeguards we’ve already put in place for our own clients.

 

What is the NDIS’ Participant Safeguarding Policy?

Simply put, it’s a new initiative to improve NDIS participants’ safety and wellbeing. It focuses on all groups involved in the NDIS: the carers, the NDIA itself and, of course, the participants.

It attempts to educate everyone on how and why abuse or neglect may occur, how to recognise or anticipate it, and – most importantly – empower the participants themselves.

Who did the NDIS talk to when designing this policy?

If you’re going to write a policy that promotes the wellbeing of a particular group of people, then you need to get their input – and that’s exactly what the NDIA did.

In 2022, they talked with over 210 people, 40% of whom were NDIS participants. 75 hours of online workshops were held with participants and their family and carers.

These workshops were held between June and December last year and delivered in three parts. The staggered nature was intended to create an environment where everyone felt relaxed and comfortable discussing and sharing their views and experiences.

Given the nature of the conversations, the NDIA brought in trauma counsellors from Relationships Australia to help with the workshops and make sure participants’ wellbeing was always the main concern.

What are the guiding principles of the policy?

After a lot of research and consultation with the right people, the Safeguarding Policy was developed to hone in on four focus areas that will improve participants’ safety and wellbeing under the NDIS. Below, we take a look at each focus area and the relevant policies and practices that Sunrise2Sunrise has in place.

Focus Area 1: The NDIA will re-evaluate their risk indicators so that they can better determine if and when a participant is at risk of harm. This will make the NDIA much better at letting participants know what they might be at risk of, when that might occur and how to manage it.

What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area?

Having the right risk indicators in place is incredibly important, which is why we at Sunrise2Sunrise perform our own risk assessments with our own checklist that has evolved along with our experience. The staff who perform these risk assessments have years in the industry and know what each individual participant needs. These assessments also make it easier for us to match the right staff and support workers to the participant – another vital consideration.

Focus Area 2: The second focus area of the policy is all about improving the training and education of workers and carers. It’s important these people are armed with the right knowledge and skills so they can properly support those living with a disability.

What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area?

Continual training and education is the only way to ensure our services remain industry leading. At Sunrise2Sunrise, we have our own training modules, from face-to-face to eLearning, which include ways in which to safeguard our participants. Our support workers and staff are always looking to improve and be the best that they can be, and we have the systems in place to help them achieve that.

Focus Area 3: This focus area is all about safeguards. What can be done to stop abuse and neglect before it happens? Similar to the previous focus point, much of this has to do with educating workers so they know how to help participants develop safeguards appropriate for them.

What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area?

Having the right support worker makes all the difference. That’s why we have a rigorous recruitment process that increase our chances of finding the best available. They go through an internal induction and are provided with on-going training, often tailored to the participant they’re matched with.

Focus Area 4: What happens after abuse or neglect has happened? This is the fourth focus area, and it’s all about the NDIA finding better policies and processes to support participants when things go wrong.

What is Sunrise2Sunrise doing in this area?

Incidents will always occur, and how they’re resolved is incredibly important. Apart from reports made to relevant government bodies, we also perform our own investigation and provide re-education and further training where necessary.

We’re committed to providing the best NDIS support services available. To this end, we have invested in developing our own CRM portal which helps us manage our participants and improve our level and quality of communication.

An important policy that marks a step in the right direction

This new policy represents a shift in attitude. Not only does it recognise the need for better safeguards for NDIS participants, it also recognises that participants should have a say in their own lives and treatment. The fact that they have been consulted so heavily is probably the most heartening aspect of this new policy.

As for Sunrise2Sunrise, we look forward to seeing what this policy achieves, while having confidence in the safeguards we’ve already put in place for our own clients.

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