5 Things to Prepare Ahead of an NDIS Audit
We spoke to Amanda Watson, Principal Managing Partner and Founder of compliance and certification consultancy Audit Hub, in a webinar on getting your business audit ready. As an NDIS lead auditor, there’s no better person to speak to about what to prepare ahead of being audited. Here are five of her recommendations.
“Participant interviews are one of the most powerful things the auditor can do in an audit,” says Watson. “It is about hearing directly from your participants about how they are experiencing your service.”
Ahead of the audit, you should confirm with your clients that they agree to be interviewed and explain what that would mean. This is your responsibility, not the auditors, and overlooking it could lead to the auditor not getting the evidence they need.
A client can choose not to participate in the interviews. In that case, you need to document this and let the auditor know. Watson recommends emphasising that clients’ rights to support are not being audited so as to help put their minds at rest.
“Highlight that this is an informal process designed to get their feedback about your service. It is not a financial audit… Participant interviews and their feedback is also de-identified.”
Key Roles and Responsibilities
You might think your team is already aware of their roles and responsibilities, but in Watson’s experience, “this is quite often overlooked.”
In the audit, she explains, you and your team will be asked questions like “Do you have roles defined and descriptions available for your key personnel?” and “Who in your key personnel is responsible for what, based on what competency?”
It’s not enough to be able to explain the key roles and responsibilities. You also need to demonstrate that you have a system in place to ensure that workers are capable of doing their job.
Watson says, “I would be asking as an auditor, ‘Can I please see evidence that you have identified the required competency, the skill sets, that are required for each of these roles?’ I might be asking to see your position descriptions, and for a larger provider, we might see something like a skill and competency matrix.”
The auditors might also ask to see an organisational chart, and this chart needs to show which staff members are NDIS workers. Additionally, they need to have undergone risk assessments by you. “That needs to be documented,” Watson stresses.
Auditors will also want to see evidence that staff members have received mandatory training as well as your induction program. “Log when that was provided,” she recommends, “because your induction program should change over time as your compliance requirements change and the way you do things change.”
It’s one thing to meet all the requirements for the audit. It’s another to be able to prove it. You need to have documentation breaking down your systems and processes that you can show auditors.
For example, you have to be able to demonstrate that you have a risk management process, systems in place for managing conflicts of interest, emergency planning, financial planning, and more.
Participant documentation is also important, particularly the consent forms, strength and needs assessment, risk assessment, support plan, service agreement and progress notes. You can read our blog post on how participant documentation can support you during an audit for more information on how to prepare this.
A service blueprint will help you spot the things you need to amend ahead of the audit and understand how to do it. This isn’t something to leave until the week before auditors visit you. Instead, you should be doing it as part of your internal audits.
Watson explains that a service blueprint is about identifying every stage of a client’s relationship with you and what you need to do in those moments. What systems need to be in place, and what documentation should be visible?
Those stages, she says, include “the discovery, when they're learning about you; when they come on board; when you set them up for service delivery; then you monitor how things are going; and you respond to change and complaints and incidents; you review the progress towards outcomes; and you act and you support them through potentially their NDIS plan review and finally through the exit.”
Then, once you’ve identified the stages and systems, select a participant to check. “Look at their record,” Watson recommends, “and provide yourself assurance that you can see evidence of these systems being implemented for your participant that removes complexity.”
Internal audits are mandatory, and auditors will ask for evidence of them. When running an internal audit, make sure you are also developing corrective action plans and internal audit reports. At a minimum, the auditors will expect to see the report. Read our guide for a detailed breakdown of how to conduct an internal audit and create the required documentation.
Preparation Is the Key to a Successful NDIS Audit
NDIS audits can be nerve-racking, but there’s no need to panic. With the right preparation, you can set your business up for a positive experience.
Remember, auditors aren’t looking to catch you out. They’re just looking for evidence that you are providing safe, high-quality support. With the right systems and documentation, you can give them all the proof they need.
Here at ShiftCare, we design software that makes documentation and compliance management easy. But whether you use our product or your own internal systems, you just need to demonstrate that your processes enable you to adhere to the NDIS quality standards.
For more advice on preparing for an NDIS audit, watch our webinar with Watson on getting your business audit ready.