From 1 February 2021, the NDIS Worker Screening Check went live, except for the Northern Territory where it will be effective on 1 July 2021.
Who needs an NDIS Worker Screening Check?
Following on from our December CheckMate Newsletter, the NDIS Worker Screening Check is a new requirement for current and/or potential employees (“workers”) of NDIS providers, who are considered to be in an NDIS risk assessed role. The check will replace the transitional and special arrangements in place, although this will depend on the individual requirements of each state and territory, and not all workers will require an NDIS Worker Screening Check straight away. The NDIS Worker Screening Check is a risk assessment that delves in to a worker’s criminal history, current or previous AVOs, workplace misconduct, past employment history, juvenile offences and any other relevant information that may determine whether a worker poses a risk to a person with disability.
The National Disability Scheme website provides rules and fact sheets per state. For any NSW workers and/or providers, further details can be found within the FAQ and fact sheets below under ‘References’.
How can NDIS Worker Screening Checks be undertaken?
Workers engaged to provide NDIS support and services to registered NDIS providers, unregistered NDIS providers and self-managed participants, can apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check through a state or territory agency that now have in place a dedicated ‘Worker Screening Unit’. This unit is responsible for accepting and processing NDIS Worker Screening Check applications from workers, and will undertake the required risk assessments in order to determine whether a worker receives a clearance.
For example, in the state of NSW, the NSW NDIS Worker Check (“NDISWC”) will be operated by a new Worker Screening Unit within the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian and the check will be valid for 5 years. NSW workers are to apply for an NDISWC via Service NSW, and our other Australian states/territories check details can be found via the relevant Worker Screening Unit agency. We have provided the list of agencies under ‘References’.
How much will the new NDIS Worker Screening Check cost?
Pricing will vary per state/territory agency; however, as an indication, the NDISWC in NSW is $80.
What is the NDIS Worker Screening Database?
The NDIS Worker Screening Database supports the NDIS Worker Screening Check, and the database is maintained and operated by the NDIS Commission. NDIS Providers and self-managed participants (aka NDIS participants that manage their own NDIS funding), are required to apply for access to the database via the NDIS Commission. The NDIS Commission provides a brief explanation as to the purpose of the database, as outlined below.
- contains a register of cleared and excluded workers from all states and territories to enable national portability of clearances;
- supports national ongoing monitoring of the conduct of workers with clearances;
- means NDIS providers across the country can sponsor applications and check the clearances of prospective workers through the NDIS Worker Screening Database, without needing to contact individual state and territory worker screening units; and
- helps NDIS providers with record-keeping requirements.
Additionally, during the NDIS Worker Check application process, a worker is required to input their NDIS provider or self-managed participant that engages them (or intends to engage them) to provide NDIS support and services . The NDIS provider or self-managed participant then needs to verify that they engage (or intend to engage) the worker, for the purposes of delivering NDIS supports and services and they do this via the NDIS Worker Screening Database. The application will not proceed to assessment until the relevant NDIS provider or self-managed participant has verified the application.
What does that mean for me as an employer?
From 1 February 2021, an existing national police check or Working With Children Check (WWCC) (that fulfils the requirements of an interim ‘acceptable check’ under the NDIS for NSW) will remain a valid NDIS worker screening check until expiration. This means some workers are unlikely to need a NDISWC for some time. Please look in to the relevant state/territory agency for specific requirements.
So if you have an employee/candidate who holds a valid Police Check or WWCC and it is yet to expire, there is nothing more you will need to do for the moment. After expiration of the WWCC, candidates will then be required to apply for an NDISWC.
PeopleCheck is unable to undertake an NDIS Worker Screening Check as we are not an authorised agency (which as you may know, is the same stance for the WWCC). If our PeopleCheck team has supported you with undertaking Police Checks for NDIS risk assessed roles, these will no longer meet your compliance requirements for these roles going forward. We can still assist you with a Police Check for working with vulnerable persons if the employee is not in an NDIS risk assessed role.
National Disability Scheme (has various details on rules and requirements for each state and territory)
NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission (provided information across all states and territories – please refer to NDIS Worker Screening Check and Worker screening requirements (registered NDIS providers) for more information)
State/Territory Worker Screening Unit Agencies:
- Australian Capital Territory: Access Canberra
- New South Wales: Office of the Children’s Guardian
- Northern Territory: NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services
- Queensland: Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
- South Australia: Department of Human Services
- Tasmania: Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
- Victoria: Department of Justice and Community Safety
- Western Australia: Department of Communities
The information contained in this post is the opinion of PeopleCheck and does not form the basis of legal advice.