Auditing in the NDIS is an essential, if complicated, process to ensure the highest quality care is being provided. All NDIS providers must undergo an audit in order to register or maintain registration. If unprepared, this can be a daunting prospect. However, when equipped with the right knowledge your organisation can not only pass with flying colours, but benefit greatly from the process.
Where Do Organisations Trip Up?
Upon registration and then throughout the life of your organisation, you must engage an independent auditor to assess your compliance to the NDIS Practice Standards. The audit is focussed on participant outcomes, measured against certain quality indicators. As the auditor visits your site, reviews your documentation and interviews staff and participants, there are plenty of pitfalls to watch out for. Many organisations fail to give themselves sufficient time to prepare. Designating tasks in the lead up to an audit and making sure all departments are on the same page can also prove difficult. In light of these common issues, here are four ways to ensure your organisation performs at its best.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
The NDIS auditing process takes time. The system is overwhelmed with providers registering or renewing their registration. Engage an auditor early in the process and have all relevant paperwork prepared. Remember an NDIS audit will assess everything from governance to operations. The scope of an audit might include policies, risk management, participant service agreements, reporting structures and much more. This is a lot to get your head around. It’s sure to keep your team busy for a while. As you begin to prepare, create a checklist and ensure that all requirements are met before an auditor walks through your doors. Give yourself as much of a head start as you can afford. Get organised—early.
Choose an Auditor Carefully
There are more than a dozen approved quality auditors to choose from. You can find the list here. These organisations are approved by the NDIS Commission to execute verification and certification audits. Be sure to shop around. Each auditor has their own strengths. For example, some market themselves as prioritising simplicity while others specialise in rural or regional providers. Doing some research about the options available may secure you a better quote and the best possible process for your organisation.
Given the scope of an NDIS audit, you will need to involve a wide range of staff members. Clear communication and effective delegation goes a long way. Ensure each team member understands the process and their role within it. In the lead up to an audit, it can be helpful to set some goals and deadlines. This means everyone in the organisation is working at the same pace and avoids last minute stress. You may also consider allocating particular oversight roles for audit preparation. Like any major task, good leadership is essential for a successful audit.
Be Ready to Respond
When your auditor presents their findings, be prepared. Even if you meet all compliance standards, a good auditor will still have suggestions for improvement. It’s important your organisation responds quickly. You can prepare for this. Gather your team and brainstorm some new goals—how can your organisation promote better participant outcomes? This process will not only help you make the relevant changes before an audit, but also ensure you are ready to respond to feedback.
NDIS audits are compulsory, but they don’t have to be stressful. In fact, with the right attitude and information, they can be an excellent opportunity to assess your performance and improve. As you help your organisation to prepare, equip yourself with as much time and as many resources as possible.
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