In early 2015 the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) released a consultation paper regarding the development of a quality and safeguards framework for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The purpose of the framework is to ensure that recipients of NDIS supports can make decisions about their supports while also enabling them to live free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The aim of the framework is to promote innovation, continuous improvement and best practice in the provision of supports.

WWDA collaborated with People With Disability Australia (PWDA) on a submission to this consultation in May 2015. The joint submission addressed key overarching issues concerning the development of a comprehensive and rigorous NDIS Quality and Safeguarding framework that protects the rights and interests of all people with disability. In particular, WWDA and PWDA argued that the framework must be grounded in, and consistently apply, a human rights framework, informed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and related human rights instruments. WWDA and PWDA made ten recommendations, including:

1) The Q&S Framework must be embedded in a human rights framework;

2) The Q&S Framework must explicitly acknowledge ongoing legislative, policy and practice reform regarding the exercise of legal capacity for people with disability;

3) Stronger measures must be incorporated into the Q&S Framework that focus strongly and positively on promoting and supporting people to effectively assert and exercise legal capacity;

4) Supported decision-making must be integral to the Q&S Framework;

5) The Q&S Framework should include a principle, ‘Human Rights’ that states that achieving human rights for people with disability is paramount in the implementation and evaluation of the NDIS and the Q&S Framework;

6) An independent market regulation body focused on human rights should be established to monitor the NDIS market and its interactions with other markets;

7) The concept of ‘risk’ within the Q&S Framework must be clearly understood within a human rights framework;

8) The identification of high risk providers of support needs to be connected to the circumstances of the person, their interaction with different providers of support and the evidence regarding how, where and what creates risks for people with disability;

9) DPOs, independent advocacy and DSOs should continue to be block funded and receive increased recognition that they remain fundamental to quality and safeguarding for people with disability;

10) Establish an independent, statutory, national protection mechanism that has broad functions and powers to protect, investigate and enforce findings related to situations of exploitation, violence and abuse.

Copyright PWDA, WWDA, 2015.