OPA proposes alternative for NDIS Safeguarding

OPA has proposed an alternative model for NDIS participant safeguarding in its submission to the NDIS Independent Review Participant Safeguarding Proposals Paper.

The proposed model includes recognition of the roles of protective bodies including OPA (and much needed information sharing agreements) alongside clearer responsibilities and regular training for NDIS actors.

The Independent NDIS Review, was announced by Minister Shorten in October 2022, with the Independent Panel, co-chaired by Prof Bruce Bonyhady and Ms Lisa Hall, releasing consultation papers on a variety of topics in relation to their terms of reference.

OPA supported the Panel’s proposal in relation to the key roles participant capacity building and social inclusion play in participant safety, but sought to clarify how effective participant safeguarding could only be truly achieved by a clear and effective collaboration between the NDIA and state and territory safeguarding bodies (including OPA).

The 2-part model

Part 1: Clear safeguarding responsibilities for the NDIS and NDIS funded actors

  • Sufficient and appropriate investment in participant capacity building and peer support opportunities
  • A strong ‘second tier’ system to empower both participants and other people with disability
  • Clear safeguarding responsibilities and accountabilities which are regularly communicated to all NDIS actors.

Part 2: Effective safeguarding of NDIS participants requires collaboration with state and territory actors

  • An agreement between the Australian Government and states and territories that specifies responsibilities for key adult safeguarding systems, enables their effective operation (through appropriate information sharing) and addresses remaining safeguarding gaps.

The submission made 16 recommendations for the Panel to consider. The Panel is due to report by October 2023.

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