NDIA Report Signals New NDIS Practice Standards for Accommodation Services, and Increased Oversight of Unregistered Providers

Date of Change:
Takes Effect:
16 January 2023

The NDIA’s Own Motion Enquiry into Aspects of Supported Accommodation report has been released, signalling new NDIS Practice Standards for accommodation services. Supported, or group accommodation is a critical component of the support provided by the NDIS that is often accessed by people with disabilities who have complex support needs, requiring a significant level of support in order to live independently in the community.

In August 2021, the NDIA announced an Own Motion Inquiry that was tasked with investigating over 7,000 reportable incidents across seven of the largest NDIS supported accommodation providers in the country. The Inquiry’s purpose was to identify trends in issues occurring in supported accommodation, the causal factors, models of best practice to eliminate or address these issues, and how the NDIS Commission can use its powers to support the delivery of higher standards of support in these settings.

The Inquiry Report, released in January, made several recommendations, including the need for new NDIS Practice Standards relating to accommodation services. Recommendations also related to collection of data and participant information, culture, worker skillsets and experience, practice improvements, increased oversight of unregistered providers, and better ability for participants and their supporters to raise complaints and report issues.

Minister Bill Shorten’s subsequent press statement highlighted the key observations made in the report, including:

  • There are issues with how people with disability in supported accommodation can make changes to their living arrangements.
  • People living in group homes often have less choice and control over their NDIS supports than other NDIS participants, requiring greater engagement to support their exercise of control.
  • The negative attitude and aptitude by a small number in the workforce drives a high number of the issues evident in group home settings, requiring significant changes to workplace culture.
  • The interface with health and the supported accommodation system is not effective for many people living in supported accommodation.
  • We need to better understand the supported accommodation market and how people interact with it including by improving the collection, monitoring and analysis of relevant data.

In response to report, the NDIA has developed an Action Plan, and as identified in the Minister’s statement, the initial priority for the NDIA will be to:

  • implement changes to regulation and monitoring of supported accommodation, including the introduction of new standards for supported accommodation
  • develop a targeted program of communication, engagement, and education with people with disability in supported accommodation to support them to exercise their rights and
  • increase oversight of unregistered Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers and ensure they are meeting the NDIS Code of Conduct.

The outcomes of this inquiry have effectively put NDIS supported accommodation providers – registered and unregistered – on notice: more compliance requirements and oversight are coming, and soon.

The Inquiry, its findings, and the actions to be taken by the NDIA to address the identified issues are incredibly welcomed, albeit too late for many stakeholders and participants in the sector. Providers, participants, and stakeholders who have engaged with the NDIA’s supported accommodation model have been aware for some time that significant improvement is required to achieve its intended outcomes. While various advocacy activities have been undertaken, and work arounds with local providers and government agencies have been developed, systemic, structural reform is clearly required to ensure supported accommodation meets the needs of the participants accessing these services.

Let us Help You Prepare for the New NDIS Practice Standards

Provider Institute of Australia memberships are an affordable and simple way to keep up to date with your regulatory obligations, and to get support to deliver high-quality and safe services to your participants. Our members receive regular updates on changing regulatory requirements, and tools to help implement them, as well as a range of support options to help you operate a great NDIS service.

If you’re an unregistered provider who wants to register, or you simply want to operate in line with best practice requirements, check out our Certification Pack – it will provide you with a tailored quality management system that meets the requirements of all relevant legislation and NDIS Practice Standards, within a 3-week timeframe. Our Verification Pack will provide you with the policies and procedures you need to operate in line with the NDIS Verification Practice Standards. If you’re not sure if Certification or Verification applies to you, use our VeriCert tool to find out.