As an NDIS business owner, you are committed to providing quality services to NDIS participants. However, there are several aspects of operating an NDIS business to be aware of and ensure you understand beyond the services you provide. One of these is the NDIA’s auditing process, which you will inevitably face at some stage while running your NDIS business.
Read on to learn what’s involved in an NDIS audit, why they happen, and how to navigate the process step by step.
What is an NDIS audit?
An NDIS audit is a systematic review of your business operations, policies, procedures and financial records. NDIS audits are conducted by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to ensure that your business practices align with the NDIS Practice Standards, a set of rules and regulations promoting participant safety and service quality. The primary purpose of these audits is to ensure overall compliance with the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, one of the fundamental components of running an NDIS business.
What happens if you get audited by the NDIA?
When you register your business with the NDIA, you will need to undertake a mandatory audit within 12 to 18 months. This means that all NDIS businesses will undergo the audit process at some stage. Whether you are preparing for your initial mandatory audit or your business has been selected for an NDIS audit, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. These include providing the NDIA with receipts and invoices relevant to your services over the last 12 months and explaining why certain supports are required.
The NDIA will then review your evidence against the information they have about your business, such as your budget, and let you know if any criteria have not been met. If this is the case, you can rectify any issues the NDIA finds.
How often do you get audited by the NDIA?
Beyond your initial mandatory audit, the frequency of NDIS audits varies and will be influenced by factors such as your business’ size, performance and compliance history. There are also two types of audits – verification and certification audits – performed at different frequencies and involve different costs. Audits must be performed by an Approved Quality Auditor (AQA) such as HDAA.
A verification audit is a routine check for smaller NDIS providers delivering low-risk support. Low-risk supports may include gardening and home repair services, transport and travel support, therapeutic support and the sale of assistive products. Verification audits are conducted every three years and performed remotely, which makes them quicker and less costly than certification audits. The process is as follows:
- You select an external auditor
- The auditor reviews your documentation
- The auditor creates a report detailing your strengths and any areas for improvement
If your performance aligns with the NDIS standards, you will receive a “conformity” rating.
A certification audit is a comprehensive assessment of NDIS service providers offering high-risk support. This is a multi-stage process and takes several months to complete. The auditor will:
- Scrutinise your documentation to identify any issues
- Conduct an on-site assessment to evaluate service delivery and potential policy gaps
- Interview your staff and clients
You will then receive a detailed report outlining what changes need to be made before the audit process is completed.
What do you need for an NDIS audit?
Download a free NDIS audit checklist here or read below.
Maintain comprehensive records of participant information, policies, procedures and financial transactions. These documents will demonstrate your commitment to transparent operations.
Evidence of compliance
Collate evidence that your business has adhered to the NDIS Code of Conduct. This may include reports and other relevant data relating to compliance.
Staff training records
Keep a record of staff training and competencies relevant to NDIS requirements. This reflects your investment in a skilled and capable workforce dedicated to providing exceptional care to your participants.
Showcase robust safeguarding protocols that prioritise the well-being of NDIS participants, such as clear procedures for handling concerns and incidents.
Software to help your NDIS audit go smoothly
Given all the things you need to think about as an NDIS business owner, ensuring that your record-keeping and compliance are always up to date can be overwhelming. If you need a helping hand, consider an NDIS software solution that automates these aspects of your business and helps you stay compliant. Software that monitors, tracks and securely stores participant, staff and business data will be instrumental in making the audit process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Don’t be afraid of the NDIS audit process
By understanding the ins and outs of NDIS audits, your business will be well-placed to handle the process when it inevitably arises. By prioritising accurate record-keeping, seeking to identify and close any operational gaps, and implementing specialised NDIS software, you can make compliance a breeze and ensure that your business passes any audit with flying colours.
NDIS Business Audit Readiness Checklist
Preparing for an NDIS audit is crucial in ensuring compliance, quality, and accountability within your NDIS business. Download our NDIS audit checklist to ensure that your business is well-prepared for a successful NDIS audit.
- Review NDIS Standards: Familiarize yourself with the latest NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators applicable to your business. Ensure that your operations align with these standards.
- Document Review: Collect and organise all relevant documentation, including policies, procedures, client records, contracts, agreements, and incident reports.
- Staff Training: Ensure all staff members are trained on NDIS policies, procedures, and their roles in maintaining compliance and quality service delivery.
- Risk Management: Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. This includes safeguarding vulnerable individuals, ensuring privacy and confidentiality, and addressing health and safety concerns.
- Quality Improvement Plan: Have a documented plan outlining how your business continuously monitors and improves service quality.
Documentation and Record-Keeping
- Client Records: Ensure accurate and up-to-date client records, including assessments, support plans, progress reports, and communication logs.
- Policies and Procedures: Have well-documented policies and procedures that cover all aspects of service delivery, staff conduct, incident reporting, and client rights.
- Incident Reporting: Maintain records of all incidents, accidents, or near-misses, along with the actions taken to address and prevent recurrence.
Compliance and Quality Assurance
- Service Agreements: Ensure written service agreements are in place with clients, outlining services, costs, rights, and responsibilities.
- Feedback and Complaints: Implement a process for receiving, addressing, and resolving feedback and complaints from clients, staff, or stakeholders.
- Regular Audits: Conduct internal audits to assess compliance with NDIS standards, identify gaps, and implement corrective actions.
- Qualifications and Training: Verify that all staff members possess the required qualifications and training for their respective roles.
- Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each staff member, including accountability for specific tasks related to compliance and quality.
- Code of Conduct: Ensure staff members adhere to a code that promotes respectful and ethical behaviour in all interactions.
Physical Environment and Equipment
- Safety and Accessibility: Ensure that your premises are safe, accessible, and meet the necessary health and safety standards for clients and staff.
- Equipment Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain all equipment used in service delivery to ensure safety and functionality.
- Quality Indicators: Monitor and measure key quality indicators to assess your services’ effectiveness and identify improvement areas.
- Feedback Loops: Establish mechanisms for clients and staff to provide feedback on service delivery, which can inform your continuous improvement efforts.
- Review and Update: Regularly review and update your policies, procedures, and practices to stay aligned with any changes in NDIS regulations and industry best practices.
Audit Day Preparation
- Documentation Readiness: Have all relevant documentation organised and readily accessible for audit review.
- Staff Preparedness: Ensure staff members know the audit and their roles in assisting auditors.
- Audit Liaison: Designate a point of contact to facilitate communication between auditors and your business during the audit process.
By diligently addressing each item on this checklist, your NDIS business will be well-prepared to undergo an NDIS audit successfully. This ensures compliance with regulations and demonstrates your commitment to providing high-quality and accountable services to the NDIS community.