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Summary of key messages

  • Participants have the same right to be safe as other members of the community, including when they use NDIS supports and services. We are looking at how the NDIS can better support participants to be safe.
  • The NDIS is a large system, and everyone has a role to play in supporting participants to be safe. The different actions that parts of the NDIS take to do this are called ‘safeguards’.
  • Safeguards can be natural (for example, skills, confidence and support from family, friends and community to speak up if you are unhappy with a support or service) or formal (for example, rules that providers and workers must follow, actions taken by organisations with formal responsibility for the safety of people with disability, and other supports such as advocacy, visitation and outreach, and support coordination). These safeguards work together to support people to be safe.
  • We have started hearing from participants, carers and families. They have so far told us that they want their safeguards to:
    • support participants to uphold their rights
    • ensure supports and services are safe and high quality
    • recognise each participant’s circumstances
    • be psychologically safe
    • respond when circumstances change.
  • We have identified that building strong natural safeguards is important, that risk and safeguarding processes need to be fit-for-purpose for participants, and that more intensive safeguards may be needed where participants might have more difficulty accessing or building natural ones.
  • This paper outlines three complementary ideas we have about how safeguarding in the NDIS could be improved. Any changes should be participant-centred and focused on empowering participants to exercise their rights and be safe.
  • The first idea is creating an NDIS-wide strategy on participant safeguarding, so that everyone has a clear idea of how to support the safety of participants.
  • The second idea is to explore options for how participants and their supporters can communicate about risks and safeguards, and develop a proactive plan of supports and actions to manage the individual risks they face.
  • The third idea is to have a better variety of safeguards available that prioritise building and strengthening natural safeguards.

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