How to Conduct an Internal NDIS Audit

Rob Scott

Written on 20 June, 2022
Internal NDIS audits aren’t just a requirement. They’re also a way to evaluate your business and improve your operations. Plus, they can be easier to conduct than you might think.

Although they might seem intimidating or time-consuming, a good internal NDIS audit system will ensure they’re efficient, effective and useful. In turn, this will ensure internal audits support your business operations instead of disrupting them.

Amanda Watson, Principal Managing Partner and Founder of compliance and certification consultancy Audit Hub, recently joined us at ShiftCare for a webinar on getting your business audit ready. She’s an NDIS lead auditor who has been working in compliance for almost ten years. Here’s what we learned from Watson about conducting an internal NDIS audit.

Why Conduct Internal NDIS Audits?

Conducting internal audits is mandatory for NDIS-registered providers, and you will be asked to provide evidence of them when audited. 

However, your goal with internal audits shouldn’t just be to tick off a list of requirements and then forget about them. An audit, when done well, is also an excellent chance to spot ways to improve your services and systems. 

As Watson says, they are “an opportunity to identify what is working really well for you, where some gaps may be, and what you need to correct to ensure that you have those robust processes and systems in place, to give you assurance that you're compliant.”

Whether you discover that it’s unclear who is responsible for certain key tasks or that your client onboarding documentation could be more reader-friendly, this is all useful information that will help you deliver better and safer care. 

Moreover, conducting an internal audit helps you prepare for your external audits. You’ll have a better understanding of the information auditors need to see, which can increase the likelihood of a successful and undisruptive external audit. After all, good preparation is the key to a positive NDIS audit experience.

Conducting an Internal NDIS Audit: Step-by-Step

An internal audit might seem like a large undertaking, but when approached systematically, it becomes much more manageable. Here’s how to conduct an NDIS audit:

  1. Refer to the Module Requirements 

Your aim in an audit is to demonstrate that you comply with all the criteria for the relevant modules of the NDIS Practice Standards. As such, your first step should be reviewing the modules and ensuring that you know exactly what the requirements mean. Examine down point by point and identify exactly what you need to demonstrate.

While the modules you need to prepare for will depend on your business’ scope, all NDIS providers need to demonstrate compliance with the core module. Watson breaks down what those requirements are in our webinar.

  1. Review Your Processes and Evidence 

This stage is the most time-consuming part of the audit process. You need to review your processes to determine three things: whether they meet the module requirements, if they are being adequately implemented and if you can provide sufficient evidence (i.e. documentation) of them.

The NDIS recommends that internal audits “examine those areas that present the greatest risk to the organisation”. In other words, you do not need to go over every client’s experience with a fine-tooth comb, but you do need to identify high-risk situations and review those in more detail. 

Begin by creating an audit plan outlining the areas you will focus on, and then start reviewing your systems. As well as checking participant and process documentation, the NDIS also suggests asking staff to explain their work processes and understanding of what is required of them. This will allow you to confirm that your policies are being implemented correctly.

If you come across areas that need improvement, don’t be dismayed: this is the purpose of an internal audit. Now you have an opportunity to address it.

  1. Develop a Corrective Action Plan 

You might be familiar with corrective action plans from your external NDIS audits. They are a mandatory requirement after a major or minor non-conformity. They are also an excellent tool after an internal audit, as they will help you put your insights into action.  

As Watson says, “Internal audits are designed to… make sure you are driving continuous improvement and correcting gaps and incidents and complaints.” The objective isn’t to be perfect but to constantly find better ways to operate.

When creating your corrective action plan, be specific about the steps you will take and the timeframe you plan to achieve them in. Schedule a review to check that these actions have been taken.

  1. Create an Internal Audit Report

Your final step will be to create an internal audit report, ready for when you are externally audited. It should include a summary, your objectives, audit methodology, findings, evidence and planned actions. In this last part, you can either include the entire corrective action plan or summarise it while making reference to the full document. 

When writing the internal audit report, make sure that your language is clear, concise and neutral. Review the document to see if it is easy to understand the findings and actions taken.  

Reaping the Benefits of Internal Audits

Internal audits help you remain compliant, improve your services and ensure you’re prepared for anything from an external NDIS audit to an emergency. 

In Watson’s words, an internal audit “really is the most efficient way for you to review your as-is processes and systems and to develop a corrective action plan that you'll be able to implement to get you ready for that [external] audit.”

What’s more, using this four-step guide, you’ll be well-positioned to run a thorough and efficient internal audit, glean useful insights and prepare the documentation external auditors will want to see.

For even more tips on preparing for an NDIS audit, watch the entire webinar with Watson on getting your business audit ready.

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