Victoria’s Disability Worker Regulation Scheme (the Scheme), established under the Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018 (the Act), includes a voluntary registration scheme for Victorian disability workers.
The Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria (the Board) will regulate disability workers and students who are registered with the Scheme. The Victorian Disability Worker Commissioner will regulate unregistered disability workers.
The Board is responsible for registering disability workers and for setting the standards for registration. The Board will use registration standards to assess whether an individual is suitable for registration because they can demonstrate they can practice competently and safely.
The Board has set three registration standards – criminal history, continuing professional development and competency in English.
The Board will undertake a criminal history check before deciding an application for registration (as required under section 152 of the Act). The criteria for the criminal history check will be consistent with the criteria for the NDIS worker screen.
Continuing professional development
The Board will require registered disability workers to complete a minimum of 10 hours of continuing professional development in the second registration period (1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023).
Continuing professional development activities will be expected to support workers to keep up and improve their knowledge and skills to practise safely, and that they be recognised for relevant learning as well as promoting their future employability.
Competency in English
Registered disability workers must be competent in speaking or communicating in English to practise as a disability worker as required by section 156(c) of the Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018.
Disability work is diverse and wide ranging and the levels of English competency required to perform certain roles and types of work may vary. But the Act requires all registered workers to be competent in speaking or otherwise communicating in English to provide safe and quality services.
Applicants will be required to declare in their registration application whether or not they are competent in speaking, reading, writing, signing or otherwise communicating in the English language.
As the scheme is new, transitional arrangements apply until 30 September 2022. Two alternate pathways are available to workers to demonstrate that they satisfy the requirement to be qualified for registration if they apply for registration before 30 September 2022.
The first pathway is the ‘adequate qualification’ pathway and it allows a person to qualify for registration if:
- the Board considers that their qualification or training as a disability worker is adequate for the purposes of providing disability services and
- they satisfy the Board that they are professionally competent as a disability worker
The second pathway is the ‘2 years’ experience’ pathway and it allows experienced workers who do not hold a qualification or training that the Board considers adequate, to use their experience providing disability services to demonstrate that they are suitably qualified. The Board may decide that they are qualified if:
- they have provided disability support services of the kind related to the type of registration applied for at any time between 30 September 2012 and 30 September 2022 for a total of at least 2 years; and
- they satisfy the Board that they are professionally competent as a disability worker.
Further information and guidance about transitional provisions will be provided in early 2021.