book a virtual meeting Search Search
brisbane

level 16, 324 queen st,
brisbane qld 4000
+61 7 3235 0400

dandenong

40-42 scott st,
dandenong vic 3175
+61 3 9794 2600

melbourne

level 7, 600 bourke st,
melbourne vic 3000
+61 3 8615 9900

sydney

level 21, 20 bond st,
sydney nsw 2000
+61 2 8298 9533

hello. we’re glad you’re
getting in touch.

Fill in form below, or simply call us on 1800 888 966

new approach to workers in the victorian disability sector

16 September 2020
sara demetrios adam foster
Read Time 4 mins reading time

Disability service providers and workers in Victoria need to ensure they understand and comply with obligations under new laws aimed at protecting people with a disability from abuse.

On 1 July 2020, the Victorian Government implemented the Disability Worker Regulation Scheme which was established by the Disability Services Safeguards Act 2018 (Vic).

The Scheme introduces new laws as a part of the state’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the abuse of people with a disability. The new Scheme applies to the entire disability workforce across Victoria, which includes both registered and unregistered disability workers, regardless of their funding source.

aims of the scheme

 The aim of the Scheme is threefold, in that it seeks to:

  1. Ensure the quality of disability care and service standards;
  2. Enable people with disability to have greater control over their lives; and
  3. Stop people who pose a serious risk of harm from providing disability services to vulnerable people.

key changes

There are a number of significant changes that have been introduced by the Scheme. These include the introduction of:

  1. mandatory reporting requirements;
  2. a complaints process in relation to a disability workers’ conduct;
  3. a code of conduct for workers; and
  4. voluntary registration

1. mandatory reporting requirements

Disability workers and providers must notify the Victorian Disability Worker Commission (the Commission) if they reasonably believe a worker has engaged in one of four types of conduct, known as ‘notifiable conduct’:

  1. Practising as a disability worker while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;
  2. Engaging in sexual misconduct while practising as a disability worker
  3. Placing the public at risk of harm because either the disability worker;

i) has an impairment that detrimentally affects, the disability worker’s capacity to practise as a disability worker or

ii) has practised, or is practising, as a disability worker in a manner that is not in line with accepted professional standards.

2. complaint process

A complaints process has been created which will allow anyone to make a complaint to the Commission regarding the conduct of a Victorian disability worker. Complaints will attempt to be addressed in a number of ways, including conciliation (if it is deemed appropriate).

In addition, the Commission will also have the power to ban any worker who is deemed unfit to deliver disability services.

3. code of conduct

To help protect people with a disability from abuse, the Disability Service Safeguards Regulations 2020 (Vic) introduced a new Code of Conduct which sets out obligations that Victorian disability workers must abide by, such as:

  1. respecting the privacy of people with disability;
  2. acting with integrity, honesty and transparency; and
  3. taking all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.

4. voluntary registration

From 1 July 2021, disability workers who satisfied the minimum standards will be able to voluntarily apply to the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria to be registered. Once registered with the Board, it will oversee the regulation of such workers. If a worker remains unregistered, such registration will be regulated by the Commission.

impacts on disability service providers

In Victoria, it is critical that providers and employers understand and adhere to their additional obligations under the new laws, as these changes will fundamentally affect their organisation’s operations.

Disability providers should now take proactive steps to promote compliance within their workforce and stronger safeguards for people with disability, by:

  1. Providing training to ensure your workforce understands the changes introduced by the Scheme;
  2. Ensuring that your internal codes of discipline and practice match the Code of Conduct;
  3. Ensuring that your workforce has policies in place that address the requirements of the Act.
  4. Updating Employment Agreements to reflect the requirements of the Act.

we are here to help

If you require assistance understanding your obligations under the Scheme or would like further information regarding the above, please contact our Employment, Safety and Migration team.

stay up to date with our news & insights

new approach to workers in the victorian disability sector

16 September 2020
sara demetrios adam foster

Disability service providers and workers in Victoria need to ensure they understand and comply with obligations under new laws aimed at protecting people with a disability from abuse.

On 1 July 2020, the Victorian Government implemented the Disability Worker Regulation Scheme which was established by the Disability Services Safeguards Act 2018 (Vic).

The Scheme introduces new laws as a part of the state’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the abuse of people with a disability. The new Scheme applies to the entire disability workforce across Victoria, which includes both registered and unregistered disability workers, regardless of their funding source.

aims of the scheme

 The aim of the Scheme is threefold, in that it seeks to:

  1. Ensure the quality of disability care and service standards;
  2. Enable people with disability to have greater control over their lives; and
  3. Stop people who pose a serious risk of harm from providing disability services to vulnerable people.

key changes

There are a number of significant changes that have been introduced by the Scheme. These include the introduction of:

  1. mandatory reporting requirements;
  2. a complaints process in relation to a disability workers’ conduct;
  3. a code of conduct for workers; and
  4. voluntary registration

1. mandatory reporting requirements

Disability workers and providers must notify the Victorian Disability Worker Commission (the Commission) if they reasonably believe a worker has engaged in one of four types of conduct, known as ‘notifiable conduct’:

  1. Practising as a disability worker while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;
  2. Engaging in sexual misconduct while practising as a disability worker
  3. Placing the public at risk of harm because either the disability worker;

i) has an impairment that detrimentally affects, the disability worker’s capacity to practise as a disability worker or

ii) has practised, or is practising, as a disability worker in a manner that is not in line with accepted professional standards.

2. complaint process

A complaints process has been created which will allow anyone to make a complaint to the Commission regarding the conduct of a Victorian disability worker. Complaints will attempt to be addressed in a number of ways, including conciliation (if it is deemed appropriate).

In addition, the Commission will also have the power to ban any worker who is deemed unfit to deliver disability services.

3. code of conduct

To help protect people with a disability from abuse, the Disability Service Safeguards Regulations 2020 (Vic) introduced a new Code of Conduct which sets out obligations that Victorian disability workers must abide by, such as:

  1. respecting the privacy of people with disability;
  2. acting with integrity, honesty and transparency; and
  3. taking all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.

4. voluntary registration

From 1 July 2021, disability workers who satisfied the minimum standards will be able to voluntarily apply to the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria to be registered. Once registered with the Board, it will oversee the regulation of such workers. If a worker remains unregistered, such registration will be regulated by the Commission.

impacts on disability service providers

In Victoria, it is critical that providers and employers understand and adhere to their additional obligations under the new laws, as these changes will fundamentally affect their organisation’s operations.

Disability providers should now take proactive steps to promote compliance within their workforce and stronger safeguards for people with disability, by:

  1. Providing training to ensure your workforce understands the changes introduced by the Scheme;
  2. Ensuring that your internal codes of discipline and practice match the Code of Conduct;
  3. Ensuring that your workforce has policies in place that address the requirements of the Act.
  4. Updating Employment Agreements to reflect the requirements of the Act.

we are here to help

If you require assistance understanding your obligations under the Scheme or would like further information regarding the above, please contact our Employment, Safety and Migration team.