Common Findings in NDIS Audits and How to Avoid Them
NDIS Audit Findings and What They Mean
There are four potential NDIS audit findings that you could receive:
Conformity with Elements of Best Practice
This is the best possible result. You comply not just with the minimum requirements of the NDIS Practice Standards but with the established best practices. You show a dedication to the continuous improvement of systems, processes and outcomes. Moreover, you are responsive and innovative.
This is a positive NDIS audit result. It shows that you meet quality and safeguarding framework requirements in a way that is proportionate to the size of your business. Any risk is negligible.
A minor non-conformity represents a non-negligible amount of risk. It typically means that for one of your processes, policies or procedures, you lack either supporting documentation or evidence of implementation.
A major non-conformity in an NDIS audit normally occurs when you cannot prove you have the required processes and structures for NDIS quality management standards. This is considered a high-risk situation.
However, there are other ways you could end up with a major non-conformity. Three minor non-conformities in the same module count as a major non-conformity. A minor non-conformity will also be escalated to a major non-conformity if it’s not resolved within 18 months.
What Are the Consequences of a Non-Conformity?
If you’re found to have a non-conformity as part of the NDIS audit process, you can still achieve (and maintain) NDIS registration. However, you’ll need to develop and implement a corrective action plan. You must present the plan to the NDIS commission within seven working days.
In the case of minor non-conformities, the implementation of your corrective action plan will be checked in the next audit. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should put it off till the last minute. The sooner you implement it, the better for your NDIS audit preparation.
If the NDIS auditors find a major non-conformity, however, you’ll be expected to show an almost immediate improvement.
In our webinar on getting audit-ready, Amanda Watson of Audit Hub explained, “You are provided with an opportunity to give a corrective action plan. Those corrective actions need to be implemented within 90 days, and a follow-up audit will be conducted to verify that. That will be at an additional expense to you.”
How NDIS Providers Can Avoid Non-Conformities
While you’re always given an opportunity to correct non-conformities, it’s better if you can avoid them altogether. Let’s look at the things you should prepare to help ensure a successful NDIS audit.
Review NDIS Requirements
The best NDIS audit preparation begins with a review of the relevant NDIS modules. A thorough understanding of the NDIS quality standards and safeguarding framework will help you avoid non-conformities. It’s also a good idea to review the NDIS audit process so you know what to expect.
Assign Key Roles and Responsibilities
This is an area that trips up many NDIS service providers, especially ones that have experienced rapid growth. Make sure you have well-defined roles and responsibilities for your team members. You should be able to explain why you’ve allocated specific responsibilities to key staff based on their skill sets and training.
Set Up Systems
The NDIS Commission will want to see that you have systems for routine quality management as well as for handling incidents. They will pay close attention to a provider’s complaints mechanisms and their reporting process. Make sure that your systems work as planned, that you have supporting documentation for them and that your team members know how to use them.
Gather NDIS Audit Evidence
It’s possible to have excellent systems and still have non-conformities. The auditors can only reach their findings based on the evidence you provide them with, which means NDIS providers should have their audit evidence organised ahead of time.
Evidence can include:
Interviews with NDIS participants
Written descriptions of team members’ roles and responsibilities
Supporting documentation for your quality, complaints and safeguarding systems
Incident reports and other reports generated by your systems
Don’t forget that to avoid a minor non-conformity, you need to provide evidence of both supporting documentation for your systems and the implementation of your systems.
Use a Document Management System
A secure, well-organised and easy-to-access document management system will help you achieve document compliance and provide auditors with the evidence they need. Everything from NDIS participants’ consent forms and risk assessments to staff certification needs to be stored in this system. NDIS providers will benefit from a system with document expiry notifications.
Conduct an Internal Audit
Internal NDIS audits aren’t just a mandatory part of being a registered NDIS provider. They’re also an excellent way to spot potential non-conformities so that you can fix them before the auditors come. Our step-by-step guide to conducting an internal audit will walk you through the process.
Tools That Will Support You in the NDIS Audit Process and Beyond
Making NDIS audit preparation part of your day-to-day routine will help your NDIS provider business achieve a positive result when audited. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be hard work. You just need the right systems, along with supporting documentation and evidence of their implementation.
ShiftCare’s NDIS software is designed with NDIS providers in mind. It has rigorous tools for quality management and documentation management, along with features for rostering, client management, NDIS billing and more. With automated notifications and documentation templates, you can trust that routine quality management tasks are being done correctly. What’s more, it’s quick and easy to use. You can set ShiftCare up in minutes.
Discover how ShiftCare can support your business with NDIS quality management. Try ShiftCare for free.