Planning and Assessment - Risk and Safeguards

Operational Guideline – Planning and
Assessment – Risk and Safeguards
Read ss.4, 17A, 44, 74 and 118 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act)
and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Plan Management) Rules 2013 (Plan Management
People with disability should be supported to exercise choice, including in relation to taking
reasonable risks, in the pursuit of their goals and the planning and delivery of their supports.
See s.4(3) of the NDIS Act
People with disability have the same right as other members of Australian society to be able to
determine their own best interests, including the right to exercise choice and control, and to engage
as equal partners in decisions that will affect their lives, to the full extent of their capacity.
See s. 4(8) of the NDIS Act
It is a function of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to ensure that a reasonable
balance is achieved between safety and the right of people with disability to choose to participate in
activities involving risk.
See s.118(1)(a)(v) of the NDIS Act
Assessing risk and safeguards as part of the plan
The assessment of risks and safeguards is part of the plan decision. The National Disability
Insurance Scheme (Supports for Participants) Rules 2013 (Supports for Participants Rules) state
that delegates, when considering whether to approve a statement of participant’s supports, must
assess risks and safeguards in relation to the participant.
See r.4.1(c) of the Supports for Participants Rules.
Risks and safeguards for participants
All people learn through a process of trial and error, often learning as much from their mistakes as
from their successes. The NDIA approaches risk management from the standpoint of putting in
place reasonable safeguards which balance the need for participants to be safe from the risk of
harm while imposing the minimum necessary restrictions to allow participants to exercise choice
and the control over their lives. This approach recognises participant’s ability to take reasonable
risks and make reasonable mistakes.
Operational Guideline
Planning and Assessment – Risk and Safeguards (v 2.0)
Publication date: 16 January 2014
Page 1 of 3
The development of plans through the planning conversation provides an opportunity for open
discussion to identify and jointly explore the actual and potential risks to the participant. Participants
should be supported to consider a range of safeguards and support mechanisms when developing
their plans, determining their support requirements and implementing their plans.
Ways in which safeguards can be discussed with participants include:
Choice and control: People with disability are empowered to make their own decisions about
their supports and the management of their funding arrangements.
Risk-based and person-centred approach: Safeguards are proportionate to the actual level of
risk a person faces, based on their functional capacity, natural support network and the
supports available to them.
Presumption of capacity: People with disability are presumed to have the capacity to exercise
choice and control, and the NDIA will provide support when a person requires support to
develop and exercise this capacity.
In discussing an appropriate range of safeguards for a participant, delegates are to obtain consent
to include a participant’s family and others where that is appropriate for the participant.
10. The participant should be encouraged to develop their own strategies and safeguards to reduce
their potential exposure to harm or to manage the exposure. The following levels of safeguards can
be used as a guide in the development of appropriate measures:
Individual level safeguards: which include both informal and formal safeguards for participants.
Informal safeguards: which acknowledge that people with disability are more likely to be safe
when they are actively involved with their family and community. The things that make people
safe can be seen as the same things that are needed to have a good life. For example, caring
relationships, opportunities for participation and power over the conditions of daily life.
Individual formal safeguards: which include rules for restrictive practices and serious incident
Service level safeguards: all good businesses and service organisations have internal
systems that protect their clients and enable them to provide feedback and make complaints.
Service level safeguards include quality frameworks, complaints mechanisms and workforce
requirements such as qualifications, recruitment practices and performance standards. For
many service providers service level safeguards these will be one of the requirements for
registration with the NDIA.
System level safeguards: The NDIA will use existing system level safeguards that currently
exist to safeguard participants. These include internal and external processes for making
complaints, processes to have decisions reviewed by an independent body and statutory
Community based safeguards: The NDIA uses, and operates in the context of, existing
safeguards that are not formally a part of the disability service system. These include
advocacy organisations, community visitor schemes, Public Advocates or Guardians,
Ombudsman offices and Discrimination Commissioners. People with disability can also use a
range of safeguards available to the community including anti-discrimination, and consumer
protection legislation. People with disability are to have the same protections as everyone else
in our community.
Operational Guideline
Planning and Assessment – Risk and Safeguards (v 2.0)
Publication date: 16 January 2014
Page 2 of 3
11. Additional safeguards the NDIA can put in place through the participant’s plan include:
Setting a shorter period before the participant’s plan is reviewed, or
Setting out arrangements for regular contact between the NDIA and the participant, or
Providing funding for supports to assist a participant to manage their own plan. For example,
budget training.
See r.3.9 of the Plan Management Rules
Operational Guideline
Planning and Assessment – Risk and Safeguards (v 2.0)
Publication date: 16 January 2014
Page 3 of 3