Introduction of the new National Quality Safeguard Framework

National Quality Safeguard FrameworkAre you an Australian company dedicated to implementing and maintaining the highest quality standards in your organisation? Then we have news for you: the new National Quality Safeguard Framework will be introduced on July 2019, and your business can benefit from this in multiple ways.

What is the National Quality Safeguard Framework?

The National Quality Safeguard Framework is a guide and set of regulations released by the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council in February 2017 with the purpose of supporting participants at the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The framework emphasises the standards that participants deserve and states clearly the rights and responsibilities of participants, providers, and staff.

The NDIS Commission has been established in early 2018 and is scheduled to start operations in each state and territory by July 1, 2020. The full scheme has already been reached in July 2018 in New South Wales and South Australia, and Western Australia is expected to reach full scheme in July 2020. The role of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services. Objectives include regulating the NDIS market, providing national consistency, resolving problems, and identifying areas for improvement. The NDIS itself represents a significant reform to the way supports and services are provided to people with disability and it enables participants to make informed choices.

The Framework was developed with help from people with disability, family members and carers, service providers, representatives of professional organisations, and advocacy groups. These categories have brought their contribution by providing written submissions, taking part to online forums, and attending public consultation meetings. As a result, new quality and safeguarding arrangements have been developed and they will be applied at full scheme to benefit people with disabilities.

Why transition to the new quality standards stated by the National Disability Insurance Scheme?

So, if you are a provider of NDIS services, you will have to transition to the new framework in a couple of months. But what would be the benefits of doing so?

Improving the well being of people with disability and Australians in general

These people are part of the consumer market, and their well being is your business’s well being. Organisations that look to benefit their communities on the long term are always appreciated and regarded more highly than companies whose only concern is increasing profits. By adhering to the National Disability Insurance Scheme you will take part to attaining goals like making sure participants live as ordinary a life as possible, helping people with disabilities to build their skills and capabilities, and enabling them to engage in education, employment, and community activities.

Supporting a major social reform

Such major and complex changes have not been seen since the introduction of Medicare. Once implemented, the National Quality Safeguard Framework will produce changes like creating a shift from a block-funded welfare model of support to a fee-for-service, market-based approach, will provide reasonable support to 475,000 people, will increase funding in the sector from about $8 billion per year to $22 billion in 2019-2020, and will require the creation of 70,000 additional disability support care worker jobs.

Acquiring more disability knowledge

Many advocacy groups in Australia complain that some planners and businesses hiring people with disabilities do not have sufficient knowledge on the impact that particular conditions have on people’s lives and are not aware of what supports are most effective for the participant’s disability. Understanding your employees and customers better is always beneficial for your business and its success.

Accessing a wider talent pool

Lack of skilled workers is a major issue throughout the world, and Australia, with an expanding economy, has been struggling to meet its need for skilled workers. A common solution is targeting workers from Europe by attracting them with better climate and lower cost of living, but what if the solution can be found right here, at home?

Whether they were born with a disability or have acquired it later in life, people with disabilities can be excellent workers and represent the right person for your job. Hiring costs are lower compared to hiring foreign workforce, and the National Quality Safeguard Framework offers plenty of support if you contact the NDIS and ask for assistance.

The size of the issue is bigger than you might think, considering that over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability, which is 1 in 5 people. Unfortunately, the percentage of unemployed disabled people is still high – 8 in 2018 compared to 3.7 the rate of those with no disability (the statistic refers to unemployed persons that were available for work and actively looking for a job in the 4 weeks preceding the survey).

On the one side, we have employers looking for talented and reliable workforce, and on the other side, we have people with skills but who are not working due to social stigma or lack of support and confidence. What the National Quality Safeguard Framework is planning to do is making the two collaborate and reach a win-win situation.

Higher employee motivation

People with disabilities are often more motivated as they have a desire to give something back. They really appreciate opportunities for personal growth, social inclusion, and job flexibility.

It is important to support people going back to their jobs soon after acquiring a disability, preferably in the first year, as going through a status change has negative effects on self-image and self-esteem aspects and makes these individuals feel helpless and useless. This is why the National Quality Safeguard Framework focuses on early intervention – it’s wiser from the economical point of view and it also helps with programming participants’ motivation. Organisations hiring people with disabilities and workers too should know that the National Quality Safeguard Framework is not a welfare scheme, but is looking to help people with disabilities in a profitable and sustainable manner, and one way of doing that is ensuring intervention at the right moment rather than later when costs involved can be much higher. The NDIS is designed to help people get the support they need so their skills and independence improve over time.

Employing people with disabilities is simply good for everyone – your business, the society, and the individual that is hired by your company instead of spending time at home without using their talents and abilities.

If you are an organisation looking to hire people with disabilities or you provide support to this category of Australians, the introduction of the National Quality Safeguard Framework is definitely of great interest to you and we can help you transition to the new changes in an easy and beneficial manner for your business. There are new quality standards to adhere to and Creative Quality Solutions is already experienced in working with the NDIS and other supporting bodies. We will help you implement the mandated requirements against your current compliance requirements, making sure you sail smoothly through your next NDIS Compliance Audit. Find out more about our work with NDIS and also contact us for further inquiries here!