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 (NSDS). A copy of the standards can be found in the right hand column of this page.

These 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 is adopting the standards for its employment and advocacy services for people with disability.  The Department of Social Services is allowing for a 12-month transition period from 1 January 2014 for employment service providers, and from 1 July 2014 for advocacy agencies funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program. During this period service providers will be able to choose between the existing standards or the NSDS for their audits. 

We encourage organisations to adopt the NSDS as soon as possible. At a minimum, providers must show during the transition period that they are planning for the NSDS 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 existing standards then you should have few issues transitioning to the NSDS.

The NSDS 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 Tables

  • These documents will assist service providers and certifying bodies align the existing standards (including the Key Performance indicators) to the National Standards for Disability Services (NSDS), and prepare for their first audits using the National Standards for Disability Services.

National Standards for Disability Services – Quality Assurance auditing information for consumers

National Standards for Disability Services – Self Assessment Worksheets

  • These worksheets have been developed for service providers to assess their compliance with the National Standards. Developed in a template style, they list each standard and indicator of practice and provide space for providers to include examples of evidence that support compliance, together with any improvement actions that might need to be taken.

National Standards for Disability Services – Frequently Asked Questions

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