NDIS Review’s proposal for mandatory registration of providers ‘difficult, controversial’ 

by | Feb 27, 2024 | The Big Story, Wire

Recommendation 17 in the NDIS Review proposes introducing mandatory registration for business. Disability Services Consulting's Jessica Quilty says it's an overhaul aimed at enhancing market visibility and regulatory quality, but one that's proving controversial.

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The surging proliferation of unregistered providers is one of the major concerns of the NDIS Review. More than 154,000 unregistered providers are currently receiving payments, compared to approximately 16,000 registered providers. The Final Report noted that this poses real challenges in ensuring proper quality and safeguarding for NDIS participants.

To address this the Review proposed introducing a ‘risk-proportionate’ regulatory model. This would enhance market visibility and improve responses to quality and safeguarding concerns.

The Review particularly pointed to the excessive regulatory burdens on registered providers, saying these not only discourage registration but also impact smaller organisations. Sole traders are finding these requirements particularly hinder their ability to comply effectively.

Worker screening also emerges as a critical issue, with mandatory screening being limited to risk-assessed roles in registered providers. For unregistered providers, however, such checks are optional, even though a lack of screening poses other risks. Unscreened workers may harm participants – even accidently.

Proposed solutions in Recommendation 17 include a ‘risk-proportionate’ approach to regulation. This includes streamlined registration processes, improving worker screening, and better incentives for quality improvement. It also advocates for pricing changes reflecting market needs and a responsive regulator to address emerging issues promptly.

In essence, the NDIS Review’s Final Report underscores the necessity for comprehensive regulatory reforms to address the evolving landscape of the NDIS effectively. These proposed changes aim to enhance the quality and safeguarding measures within the scheme while promoting market visibility and responsiveness to emerging challenges.

However changes – particularly ones as dramatic as these – have sent shock waves rippling around the businesses operating in the sector. 

These will become a focus for DSC’s 2024 Conference in Sydney on the 26th of March.