Navigating the NDIS can be daunting, especially if the NDIS marks the first time you or your loved one are accessing supports and services. The Inform NDIS 101 series aims to take some of the confusion out of understanding, accessing and using the NDIS by providing straightforward information and resources.
What is the Code of Conduct?
The NDIS Code of Conduct is part of the scheme’s Quality and Safeguarding Framework. It exists to promote the safety, health and wellbeing of people with disability. It does that by outlining what is acceptable and appropriate behaviour for providers and workers. The Code of Conduct helps to promote a safe and skilled workforce that not only has the right capabilities but also the right attitudes.
But the Code of Conduct is more than just a list of required behaviours and obligations for providers and workers. The code also aligns with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which establishes the essential rights of people with disability.
Who does the Code of Conduct apply to?
The Code of Conduct applies to everyone who provides services and supports paid for with NDIS funding, including:
- People who work for disability service providers, for example support workers
- Allied health practitioners, for example your occupational therapist
- Local Area Coordinators
- Contractors and volunteers engaged by NDIS providers
- People who provide you with goods and services paid for with NDIS funding, for example assistive technology suppliers
- Organisations delivering projects funded by NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grants
For a full list of who the Code of Conduct applies to visit www.ndiscommission.gov.au
What does the Code of Conduct say?
There are seven elements to the NDIS Code of Conduct. People covered by the code must:
Act with respect for individual rights to freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making in accordance with applicable laws and conventions
- People with disability have the right to make their own decisions. In addition, the code says that people with disability have the same rights and freedoms as any other member of the community.
- Further, workers and providers should communicate in a way that means people with disability can understand and make clear their preferences.
- Finally, workers and providers should have an inclusive attitude and provide supports and services in a way that ensures people with disability feel comfortable and safe.
Respect the privacy of people with disability
- People with disability have a right to privacy. Including in relation to the collection, use and disclosure of information concerning them, their health or disability.
- In addition, services should be delivered in a way that maintains personal dignity. This includes maintaining confidentiality, requesting permission to provide supports that involve physical touch, ensuring the timely provision of services to prevent embarrassment and discomfort and considering everyday personal privacy needs.
Provide supports and services in a safe and competent manner, with care and skill
- People with disability have the right to receive supports and services in a safe manner and from workers with relevant expertise.
- In addition, providers and workers must meet relevant work, health and safety requirements. More information about the work, health and safety requirements in each state and territory can be found at: https://www.business.gov.au/info/run/workplace-health-and-safety/whs-ohand-s-acts-regulations-and-codes-of-practice.
Act with integrity, honesty and transparency
- The Code of Conduct aims to ensure that people with disability receive accurate information, about their providers and workers and the supports and services they receive, that helps them to make informed decisions.
- People with disability should be able to make decisions that are in their best interest. Providers and workers should avoid giving, asking for or accepting inducements or gifts. In addition, workers should be transparent about any possible conflicts of interest.
Promptly take steps to raise and act on concerns about matters that may impact the quality and safety of supports and services provided to people with disability
- Providers and workers have a role to play in providing safe and quality supports and services. In addition, providers and works must take action if they notice any issues.
- Further, providers and workers can improve supports and services by listening to the feedback of people with disability.
Take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against, and exploitation, neglect and abuse of, people with disability
- Providers and workers should identify and respond to situations that could lead to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. In addition, they should report any incidents of violence, exploitation, neglect or abuse to their NDIS provider, the Commission and any other relevant authorities.
- Further, providers and workers should contribute to the reduction and the elimination of restrictive practices.
Take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct
- When providing services and supports, providers and workers should adhere to the highest standards of behaviour, be respectful and ensure people with disability are safe.
- In addition, providers and workers should never engage in sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationship with respect to people with disability. Further, workers should report any sexual misconduct, unlawful sexual or physical conduct or inappropriate relationships to the NDIS provider, the Commission and any other relevant authorities.
What happens if the Code is breached?
Anyone can make a complaint about NDIS funded services or supports. If the Code of Conduct is breached, in the first instance complaints can be directed to NDIS Providers.
The NDIS Commission can also investigate breaches of the Code of Conduct. The Commission has the power to impose a range of sanctions. Breaches that are less serious in nature can result in warnings and additional training. More serious breaches can result in reassessment of worker clearance or be referred to other professional bodies or the police.
How to make a complaint
Complaints can be made via the complaint contact form at www.ndiscommission.gov.au
In addition, you can call the NDIS on 1800 035 544 (a free call from landlines).
Further supports are available via the National Relay Service: www.relayservice.gov.au then 1800 035 544. And the Translating and Interpreting Service: 131 450.
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