New National Standards for Disability Services

At the 18 December 2013 meeting of the Standing Council on Disability Reform ministers from all jurisdictions endorsed the revised National Standards for Disability Services. A copy of the new standards can be found in the right hand column of this page.

These new standards are seen as a transitional reform enabling nationally consistent quality standards to apply for the disability services sector.  They have a greater focus on person centred approaches and promote choice and control by people with disability. These are considered critical under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Australian Government will adopt the new standards for its employment services for people with disability.  The Department of Social Services is allowing for a 12-month transition period from 1 January 2014.   During this period service provider organisations will be able to choose between the old or the new standards for their audits. 

We encourage organisations to adopt the new standards as soon as possible. At a minimum, providers must show during the transition period that they are planning for the new standards and discussing those plans with their certifying bodies.  Planning and progress against those plans must be documented in the audit reports.

It is important to note that the intent of the standards in promoting quality services remains the same.  If your organisation meets the old standards then you should have few issues transitioning to the new standards.

The new standards have been through exhaustive stages of consultation, validation and user testing, culminating in a set of six standards that are able to be applied across a broad range of circumstances. 

They are:

  • Rights
  • Participation and Inclusion
  • Individual Outcomes
  • Feedback and Complaints
  • Service Access
  • Service Management.

Two versions of the standards and supporting documents are provided here.

  • A version for printing that includes graphics and
  • A web accessible version for people who use a screen reader.

Supporting Documents

National Standards for Disability Services - Easy English Posters

  • Promotional posters for display in the workplace.

National Standards for Disability Services – Easy English version

  • An Easy English workbook, designed for workers to use with people who have difficulty reading and understanding written information

National Standards for Disability Services – Stories

  • Short examples of what each National Standard could look like in practice

National Standards for Disability Services - Evidence Guide

  • A guide to support staff and service providers understand and apply the National Standards to their work and services

National Standards for Disability Services - Conversation Tool

  • A short guide for workers and teams with direct client contact to consider how best to promote the National Standards and engage people in conversations about the standards.

National Standards for Disability Services - Mapping and Compatibility Table.

  • This document will assist service providers and certifying bodies align the old standards (including the Key Performance indicators) to the new standards (including the indicators of practice).

National Standards for Disability Services – Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the new Standards can be forwarded to

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