Glossary of NDIS related terms and acronyms

Accreditation – certification by a licensed agency (Approved Quality Auditor) that a service provider complies with mandated standards.

Approved Quality Auditor – a person or body approved by the NDIS Commission to conduct audits using the NDIS Practice Standards.

Australian Government. Refers to the Commonwealth Government of Australia.
(Also known as the Government).

Behaviour Support. The goal of behaviour support in the NDIS is to improve quality of life outcomes for people with disability and reduce and eliminate restrictive practices.

Benchmark. A standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.

Block Funding. Prior to the NDIS, the majority of supports were delivered through government agencies, and providers were ‘block funded’ by government agencies to deliver particular supports to a certain number of people with disability. Block funding was contract or program based and paid to a provider in quarterly advance.

Board. A board is one of several names used to signify the group of people assigned the responsibility to govern an organisation, company, or other similar entity. A board is a legal requirement of a number of different forms of for-profit and not-for-profit organisations.

Board Member. A legally voted member of a board. Board members are often referred to as directors.

Branding. A marketing practice where an enterprise creates a name, symbol or designs that are easily identifiable as belonging to the company. There are many areas that are used to develop a brand including advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise, reputation, and logo.

Certification. (See ‘Accreditation’).

Certification Audit.  An NDIS Certification Audit is undertaken by providers that provide high risk and more complex supports and services. In a certification audit, providers are assessed against the NDIS Practice Standards which may include assessment against the core module and any supplementary module relevant to the type of support they deliver. The registration requirements outline the compliance requirements for the core and supplementary modules by registration group.

Change Management. The methods and manners in which an enterprise describes and implements change within both its internal and external processes.

Change Management strategies. The specific ways an enterprise will generally address change in and around it. It includes any mechanisms that aim to minimise any negative effects the changes bring about, while at the same time capitalising on the transformation. Effective communication is one of the most important success factors for effective change management.

Choice and control. An NDIS participant has the right to make their own decisions about what is important to them and to decide how they would like to receive their supports and who from.

COAG. The Council of Australian Governments including the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments.

Compliance. Meeting specific requirements (of, for example, standards, legislation, or regulation).  Compliance is often determined by audit against such benchmarks.

Complaints management and resolution. An essential component of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding FrameworkThe National Disability Insurance Scheme Complaints Management and Resolution Rules 2018 require registered NDIS providers to have an effective system for management and resolution of complaints about the supports or services they provide.

Continuous improvement/continuous quality improvement (CQI). The process of assessing, reviewing, and making improvements in an ongoing manner.

DSS. Department of Social Services (Commonwealth Government).

Data. Information collected for use in planning, decision making or evaluation.

Director. A person formally elected and/ or appointed under law to a board, in accordance with the organisation’s constitution. Note: Some organisations refer to the members of their governing body as management committee members. Refer also to Board Member.

Disability Sector. The disability sector is comprised of thousands of organisations, large and small, that provide support services to people with disability. It also includes the peak bodies that represent them.

Ethical rights-based practice. Ethical rights-based approaches are about turning human rights from purely legal instruments into effective and ethical policies, practices, and practical realities.

Evaluation. The formal process of assessing whether the implementation of a strategic business plan, or an activity, has been successful.

Evidence. Documents, reports, or other information, including obtained via interviews that demonstrate compliance or performance.

External review. Checking of evidence to ascertain compliance against a set of standards by an independent third party (also referred to as external or third-party verification).

Financial sustainability. The ability to start, grow and maintain an enterprise with short- and long-term financial stability.

‘For-purpose’ business model. An alternate name for a ‘profit for a purpose’ business model where NDIS participants are sold products and/or services by organisations that were traditionally not-for-profits. This alternate name creates the understanding that the NDIS is a market driven environment where providers offer services to NDIS participants to purchase with their Approved Plan funding.

Governance. The framework of rules, relationships, systems, and processes within and by which authority is exercised and controlled in agencies and systems.

Individualised supports. Supports that are based on and tailored around the individual needs of an NDIS participant.

Individualised funding. NDIS Participants engage in a planning process where their needs are articulated by the participant. They are then provided with an NDIS Plan. Each Plan developed with the participant and their family or other informal support networks has funding attached to it for that participant.

Insurance-based model of disability supports. The word ‘Insurance’ in the National Disability Insurance Scheme refers to the scheme’s use of proactive insurance principles to manage long-term financial sustainability, and that it aims to make sure any Australian citizen will have costs covered in the event they are born with or acquire a disability. The insurance model takes a long-term view of the total cost of disability and operates on a system of reducing the lifetime costs for a person and funding what is necessary for each eligible person’s life.

IT. Information Technology.

ICT. Information and Communications Technology.

KPI. Key Performance Indicators are the benchmarks or targets that have been chosen to measure how successfully a service provider has achieved its objectives.

Leaders. A general term that includes governing bodies such as boards, executive managers such as the Chief Operating Office/Chief Financial Officer and other senior managers. Also referred to as Leadership bodies.

Marketing. The business of promoting and selling services and includes market research and advertising.

Milestones. The measurable stages of progress towards achieving a planned objective, such as the date something is achieved or the quantity of an output.

Mission-driven enterprise. Mission-driven enterprises are formed and/or managed to accomplish goals that extend beyond profits for stakeholders, shareholders, and owners to include a societal benefit.

Monitor. To check, supervise, observe critically, or record the progress of an activity, action, or system on a regular basis to identify change.

NDA. The National Disability Agreement 2009. This is the system of State, Territory and Commonwealth government agreements for the provision of disability supports. The NDA was replaced by the NDIS.

National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.  The Australian Government legal instrument that established the NDIS. Often referred to as the NDIS Act.

NDIA. National Disability Insurance Agency. The Australian Government organisation administering the NDIS.

NDIS. National Disability Insurance Scheme. Also referenced as ‘the Scheme’.

NDIS Code of Conduct. The NDIS Code of Conduct articulates the safe and ethical behaviours that both NDIS workers and NDIS providers are accountable for demonstrating in terms of respecting and upholding a participant’s rights to safe and quality supports and services.

NDIS Funded supports. Supports the NDIS pays for through a participant’s plan. These supports must be reasonable and necessary.

NDIS Funded Support Package. The funding available to a participant. There are 3 budgets in a support package: Core, Capacity Building and Capital.

NDIS Plan. A written agreement worked out with the participant, stating their goals and needs, and the reasonable and necessary supports the NDIS will fund for them. Each participant has their own individual plan.

NDIS Practice Standards. A set of NDIS required standards that create important benchmarks for NDIS registered providers to assess their performance, and to demonstrate how they provide high quality and safe supports and services to NDIS participants.

NDIS Provider. Someone who has products or services to help participants achieve the goals in their plan. Participants can choose their providers and change providers at any time, this is also known as choice and control. See also ‘Registered NDIS Provider’.

National Disability Insurance Scheme Practice Standards and Quality Indicators. A cornerstone document that lists both the NDIS Practice Standards (referenced above) and the associated quality indicators NDIS providers can use to demonstrate compliance.

NSDS. The National Standards for Disability Services (The National Standards) promote a nationally consistent approach to improving the quality of services for all service providers. The focus of the National Standards is on rights and outcomes for people with disability.

NDIS Price Capping. The NDIS regulates and funds the delivery of services according to the maximum prices for each service category listed in the current NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue. The prices are capped in that participants can only be invoiced up to the maximum price listed at the time the service is delivered. The Price Guide reflects the annual price reviews and indexes prices as a result of the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) is a new independent Commonwealth agency established to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services The Commission oversees and regulates the implementation of the NDIS whereas the NDIA has more of a focus on administering the NDIS.

NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. The NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework provides a nationally consistent approach to help empower and support NDIS participants to exercise choice and control, while ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place and establishes expectations for providers and their staff to deliver high quality supports.

NDIS Worker orientation training module ‘Quality, Safety and You’. This education module explains the obligations of workers under the NDIS Code of Conduct and evidences compliance with the NDIS Code of Conduct. All NDIS workers are required to have completed this module.

NDIS Workforce Capability Framework. The Capability Framework translates the NDIS Commission principles, Practice Standards and Code of Conduct into clear and observable behaviours that service providers and workers should demonstrate when delivering services to people with disability.

Objectives. What a service provider wants to achieve as a result of its planned activities. Sometimes the term ‘objective’ is used interchangeably with the terms ‘goal’ or ‘aim’.

Ordinary life. A life where people with disability have the same opportunities as people without disability.

Organisational culture. The behaviours, attitudes and beliefs relating to the values of the people that makes up an organisation and the stated mission of the organisation.

Outcomes. The results of planned actions.

Paradigm. A paradigm is a standard, perspective, or set of ideas – a way of looking at something.

Paradigm shift. When you change or shift paradigms, you are changing how you think about something.

Parkinson’s. An abbreviation for Parkinson’s disease. The use of this abbreviated term places the focus on the condition and not on Parkinson’s being a disease.

Participant. Also referred to as ‘NDIS participant’. A participant meets the NDIS access requirements. A participant who is eligible is granted an NDIS Plan.

Permanent and significant disability. A disability that a person is born with or acquires which substantially impacts on how they manage everyday activities, and which requires life-long support.

Person-centred approach. A way of supporting and working with people with a disability that puts the person at the centre of planning, funding and support and service arrangements.

Positive customer experience. Customer experience is your customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your business or brand. It is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from navigating the website to talking to staff and receiving the product/service they bought from you. A positive customer experience is created when the customer interaction meets or exceeds their expectations.

PRODA. The secure Australian Government Provider Digital Access (PRODA) system.

Qualitative. Relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity.

Quality Improvement Plan. A Plan for action to make improvements that will impact the quality of service delivery or operations. Often the term ‘continuous improvement plan’ is used interchangeably.

Quality management process. Any set of procedures or activities that control or monitor the quality of the service provider’s work.

Quality management system. A structured set of processes for monitoring and managing quality within a service provider.

Quantitative. A numeric measure of an outcome.

Reasonable and necessary supports. Reasonable means something fair and necessary means something you must have. The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports relating to a person’s disability to help them live an ordinary life and achieve their goals.

Registered NDIS provider. A registered NDIS provider is a person or organisation that is registered with the NDIS Commission. NDIS providers must be registered to deliver some kinds of supports (e.g., implementing regulated restrictive practices in a behaviour support plan). A registered NDIS provider has met the NDIS requirements for qualifications, approvals, experience, capacity, and quality standards to provide a product or service.

Reportable incident. Incidents relating to participants that must be reported to the NDIS Commission including death, serious injury, abuse or neglect, unlawful sexual activity and use of restrictive practices.

Restrictive practices.  A restrictive practice is any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. Under the NDIS Rules, certain restrictive practices are regulated.

Risk. The chance of something happening that will have an impact on an organisation’s objectives. Risk is measured in terms of likelihood and consequences.

Risk management. The process of identifying and implementing strategies to prevent or control the impact of risks.

Risk Management Framework. A management framework that embeds best practices into the providers’ risk culture. A typical Risk Management Framework includes 5 essential systems:

  1. Risk Identification
  2. Risk Measurement
  3. Risk Mitigation
  4. Risk Reporting and Monitoring
  5. Risk Governance

Standards (industry or service standards). Specific procedures or outcomes that service providers are required to meet within an industry area.

Stakeholders. Any person or organisation with an interest in the operations of a service provider.

Strategic business planning. A process to map how a service provider can use its resources to successfully achieve its objectives over a period of time (usually three to five years).

Strategic directions. The parameters for defining what a service provider will do, based on an analysis of its operating environment and its internal capacity.

Strategic plan. A strategic plan is a document used to communicate an organisation’s goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.

Strategic thinking. Strategic thinking is an ability to plan for the future. It is the capacity to prepare strategies and conjure ideas that will both cope with changing environments and consider the various challenges that lie ahead.

Supports. Things to help a person undertake daily life activities and enable them to participate in the community and reach their goals.

Surveillance audit. A mid-term audit used to monitor compliance between full reregistration audits. An NDIS Approved Provider registration term is for three years and then re-registration is required.

Targets. Specific levels of performance set by the service provider in relation to plans and performance measures.

Unregistered NDIS provider. A provider of NDIS supports and services that has not been registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Unregistered NDIS providers usually deliver lower risk supports to NDIS participants – for example, house maintenance.  Only participants who self-manage or plan-manage their NDIS funding are able to choose to receive supports and services from unregistered NDIS providers.

Verification. See ‘Accreditation’.

Verification Audit: an NDIS verification audit is undertaken where providers are delivering lower risk/lower complexity supports and services.  An NDIS approved quality auditor conducts the verification audit against the four standards and each outcome within the verification module of the NDIS Practice Standards.

Worker Screening. Registered NDIS providers must ensure that key personnel and other workers in certain types of roles have a worker screening clearance that meets the requirements of the NDIS Practice Standards. It is mandatory

Workforce. Refers to people working in the disability support sector.