The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has a Code of Conduct to make sure that you receive high quality products and services and that you are safe when you are receiving NDIS-funded supports.
The NDIS Code of Conduct is important and ensures your rights are protected in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Code of Conduct is not optional - providers have to stick to the Rules which are made under the NDIS Act 2013.
All NDIS providers need to know the Code of Conduct and serious penalties apply if providers do the wrong thing.
Who does the Code of Conduct apply to?
Everyone who provides services that are paid for with NDIS funding must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct. Yes, everyone!
The Code of Conduct applies to everyone you pay with your NDIS funding, including
- Everyone who works for disability service providers (e.g. support workers, management)
- Everyone who provides you with goods and services (e.g. equipment suppliers, gardeners)
- Allied health practitioners (e.g. Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Psychologist)
- Contractors who NDIS providers use to work with you
- Volunteers engaged by NDIS providers
- Local Area Coordinators
- Early Childhood Early Intervention services
- Organisations delivering projects or programs with NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building funding
- Services who are providing support to participants under the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Program
People who work for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), including NDIS planners, have a different Code of Conduct called the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct (Section 13, Public Service Act 1999). You can find out more about it here: https://www.apsc.gov.au/code-conduct
What does the NDIS Code of Conduct say and what does it mean?
The text in blue is directly from the NDIS Code of Conduct at www.ndiscommission.gov.au
In providing supports or services to people with disability, a person covered by the Code must:
1. Act with respect for individual rights to freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making in accordance with applicable laws and conventions
- Providers must support you to express what you want and need, do what you ask them to do as long as it’s not illegal, and must respect the decisions you make for yourself
- Providers must follow the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in everything they do
- Providers must communicate with you in a way that you can understand
2. Respect the privacy of people with disability
- Providers need to comply with all Commonwealth and State/Territory privacy laws
- Providers need to protect your personal information and must get your permission to share information about you
- Providers must make sure that they respect your privacy when they’re supporting you (e.g. showering, meeting with you to talk about your personal needs)
3. Provide supports and services in a safe and competent manner, with care and skill
- Providers must only work with you if they have the skills to do the job properly and safely
- Providers must train and support their staff to do the work you are paying for
- Providers must keep good records about the support they provide to you
4. Act with integrity, honesty and transparency
- Providers must be honest with you about the cost and likely outcomes of the support they will provide
- Providers must tell you if they will receive any benefits from advice they give to you – they must be honest with you about any conflicts of interest
- Providers must not take advantage of you by offering you gifts or rewards for using their service, must not pressure you to use their service, and cannot make it difficult for you to choose other services if you want to
5. 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 must have a clear and easy process for you to follow if you want to give feedback or make a complaint
- Providers must not punish you if you complain about their service and must not discourage or stop you from asking other people you trust to help you to make a complaint
- Providers must investigate and act on any complaints you make and must cooperate with any investigations by police, the NDIS Commission or other parties
6. Take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against, and exploitation, neglect and abuse of, people with disability
- Providers must never be violent towards you, take advantage of you, neglect or abuse you
- Providers must comply with the law and all reporting requirements if you are abused or neglected
- Providers must reduce and eliminate restrictive practices and comply with all laws and rules if they do use restrictive practices
7. Take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct
- Providers must ensure staff know that they must not do anything sexual that you do not want them to do (e.g. touching you in a sexual way, making sexual jokes)
- Providers must make sure that staff follow guidelines about how and when they can touch you and how they support you with sex or talking about sex
- Providers must report any sexual misconduct to police, the NDIS Commission or other parties to investigate
What happens if someone breaches the NDIS Code of Conduct?
The NDIS Commission investigates reports about breaches of the NDIS Code of Conduct. If a breach is less serious, the Commission might give a warning or make sure the people involved have more training. If the breach is very serious, the Commission can deregister an NDIS provider, can ban NDIS providers and workers from the NDIS sector, and can go to court to ask for civil penalties. If a provider broke the law in the way they treated you, they could be charged and prosecuted by police.
How can I make a complaint about a breach of the Code of Conduct?
Anyone can make a complaint about breaches of the NDIS Code of Conduct - people with disabilities, family members, friends, workers, advocates - anyone! You can make a complaint to your NDIS service provider about the problem, and you can also complain to the NDIS Commission.
Get more information
If you want to learn more about the NDIS Code of Conduct, go to the NDIS Commission’s website at www.ndiscommission.gov.au
To make a complaint about a provider go here www.ndiscommission.gov.au/about/complaints-feedback/complaints
If you need advocacy support because you believe that a provider has breached the Code of Conduct, you can contact VALID on 03 9416 4003 or [email protected]
You can also find advocacy support from other independent disability advocacy organisations here www.valid.org.au/list-victorian-advocacy-organisations