7.1 How can the NDIS help participants enhance their personal safeguards in order to experience greater independence, economic participation and community inclusion? (2015) 

Safety and freedom


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People with disability are often looking for greater independence, economic participation and community inclusion – but their personal safety must also be looked after.

The IAC looked at how the NDIS could make sure people with disability have the appropriate personal safeguards at the same time as allowing them to take some ‘positive risks’ and exercise choice and control in their lives. It examines how the Agency can assist people to identify services that are below standard as well as well as report abuse or neglect.

What is positive risk?

 Positive risk is about the right of an individual to make their choices and decisions about their care with the support of their family, friends and support team. Risk can never be entirely eliminated from anyone’s life but managing risk in a positive way gives a person with disabilities increased independence, choice and control to live a good life in safety.

How do we exercise choice and control safely?

The IAC proposes two strategies to help people with disability to get this balance right.  The first is supporting them to have relationships with people who are not paid, and the second is empowering them to speak out for themselves if they found services or supports were not up to standard.  The importance of self-advocacy, and some of the challenges in actually doing this, is also discussed in the paper.

The IAC sees the new National Quality and Safeguards Framework as a good starting point for discussing how to balance and manage risks and safety.  As a new way forward, it could help move from the traditional risk-averse approach to providing disability services, to a more forward-thinking way to approach risk in service delivery and life choices.

Read the IAC advice on how the NDIS can assist in enhancing personal safeguards for people with disability.