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Participant safeguards

The NDIS has not worked well enough to safeguard all participants, while making sure they can still have choice and control. More must done to empower and build the capacity of participants to help keep themselves safe, and ensure systems are working together to improve safety and outcomes.

Judy Brewer AO speaks about how the NDIS has not done enough to safeguard you.

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What you told us is not working

From what you told us we understand:

  • The NDIS has not done enough to build the capacity of participants and strengthen their natural safeguards so they can get the support they need, be safe, and manage the risks they face.
  • Natural safeguards include being part of a family, having friends, being part of a community, understanding your rights and having support to speak up when something is wrong.
  • It is challenging to balance ensuring participants can exercise choice and control, recognise the importance of dignity of risk, while also having the right regulations in place to keep people safe.
  • Regulatory arrangements for providers and workers have not responded to changes in the NDIS and the market, such as new types of supports available to participants, and more participants self-managing their funding and using unregistered providers.
  • Some unregistered providers are providing high quality and very innovative supports.
  • Participants, providers and workers feel regulation is more about ticking boxes than improving the quality of services.
  • More can be done to build the capacity of participants to keep themselves safe, manage the risks they face and get the supports they need.
  • More needs to be done to reduce and eliminate the use of restrictive practices that limit participants’ freedom of movement and their rights.
  • Information sharing between government agencies needs to be more timely and effective to prevent harm and support people to be safe.

Participants also need to be given information about their rights from their provider whether registered or unregistered.

– Participant

We have been through registered agencies, and they have been really bad for us… Sometimes [support workers] come in from the agency and they don’t know how to change a diaper, or how to care for someone having a seizure; they are basic things that I would expect someone coming from an agency to know.

– Parent of an NDIS participant

My experience with [that support] made me feel very exploited.

– Participant

What we want to know now

How should the safeguarding system be improved for a better NDIS?

Prompts to help you answer this question:

  • How can the regulation of providers and workers be used to improve the quality of services and supports?
  • How can the NDIS build your capacity and natural safeguards to support you to be safe and get good outcomes?
  • What should the NDIS do to get the right balance between your choice and control, the dignity of risk, and supporting you to be safe?
  • How can all levels of government work together to prevent harm and promote quality in the supports you receive?
  • What can be done to make progress in reducing and eliminating practices that restrict your rights or freedom of movement?

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