The National Disability Services Standards have been developed in the context of the Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement (CSDA).
The Standards have been developed by a Working Party comprising Commonwealth and State government representatives, plus three each of consumer and service provider representatives. The Standards have been the subject of wide consultation nationally during 1992 and have a primary focus of ensuring results for consumers that are consistent with the Principles and Objectives of Commonwealth and State/Territory legislation.
They must be viewed in the context of both international agreements or statements and relevant Australian legislation such as laws relating to discrimination, guardianship provisions, Equal Employment Opportunity, Occupational Health and Safety, and Freedom of Information.
Review of the National Standards for Disability Services
In January 2009, State, Territory and the Australian Government Disabilities Ministers signed up to a new National Disability Agreement (NDA), providing a national framework and key areas of reform for the provision of government support to services for people with disability.
One of the key focus areas in the NDA is to provide a nationally consistent approach to Quality Assurance. In response, all Disability Services Ministers have agreed to develop a National Quality Framework (NQF) for Disability Services in Australia, the aim of which is to promote and drive quality of services and outcomes for those who use them.
To support the implementation of the NQF, a review of the National Standards for Disability Services (introduced in 1993) has been announced. From the review it is expected that gaps in the current National Standards will be addressed, and contemporary language and concepts will be included. As part of the development and implementation of a NQF, investigation will also be undertaken of opportunities to introduce, where appropriate, generic or common quality requirements across the country.
From March to July 2010, consultations will be held in every state and territory to enable all key stakeholders the opportunity to provide input into the National Standards. Participation by people with disability who access disability services, their family members and carers, as well as disability service providers funded under the NDA, advocacy organisations and relevant disability sector peak bodies, is strongly encouraged.
Details regarding the NQF, and links to information about the upcoming consultations, are available on the Victorian Government Department of Human Services website.