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Client Booklet ~ Disclosure Terms Conditions

We like our clients to be as informed as possible. This booklet informs you of your rights and responsibilities.

This booklet has been developed over time in discussion with clients, industry, professional associations, and NDIS Independent Auditors. In particular, we wish to thank our clients for assistance in review of this information.

Where possible, this booklet is presented in brief and simple language. 

Visit our website for any changes or updates to this information found under “Client Booklet Disclosure, Terms and Conditions.”

This booklet is a requirement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If you are a participant of the NDIS this booklet will help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

Introduction

Ability Therapy Specialists Pty Ltd is an online telehealth counselling and psychotherapy agency that is a Registered Provider of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Ability Academy Australia is a project of ATS Pty Ltd that offers education and training within the non-accredited professional and personal development sector.

  • We offer clinical and training services online and telehealth.
  • We work with clients who pay themselves in a private capacity.
  • We work with NDIS clients where the Scheme pays for our services.
  • We offer courses and other tailored training solutions.

We work with a wide range of people for example,

  • People with disabilities and mental health concerns
  • People seeking behaviour support therapy, review, assessment, and treatment support planning
  • Individuals of all ages seeking psychotherapy and counselling
  • Individuals looking for personal development
  • People going through grief and loss, depression, anxiety
  • Others making career and job related changes
  • Individuals seeking spiritual insight, guidance, and support

We also work with companies or organisations to help staff or management. For instance,

  • Counselling or social service agencies looking for staff support
  • Providers in various sectors looking for innovative solutions
  • In staff training and development of capability

We serve people with a wide range of specialist needs. For example, we design tailored solutions to help people with

  • Assessment and diagnosis of various conditions,
  • Major life transition support,
  • Mental Health concerns,
  • Intellectual disability, 
  • Autism, 
  • Acquired brain injury, 
  • Aged Care, Dementia,
  • Physical disability including sensory disability, 
  • Learning disabilities, 
  • Dual diagnosis of disability and mental health, and 
  • Complex cases.

We are based in Armidale NSW. Our clients come from across Australia.

Our Values and Standards

We uphold the following core values of respect for

  1. Person Centred Supports
  2. Individual Values and Beliefs
  3. Privacy and Dignity
  4. Independence and Informed Choice
  5. Prevention of violence, Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, and Discrimination
  6. Governance and Operational Management
  7. Risk Management
  8. Quality Management
  9. Information Management
  10. Feedback and Complaints Management
  11. Incident Management
  12. Human Resource Management
  13. Continuity of Support
  14. Access to Support
  15. Support Planning
  16. Service Agreements where applicable
  17. Responsive Support Provision
  18. Transitions to or from the Provider
  19. Safe Environment
  20. Respect for Money and Property

Ability Therapy Specialists (ATS) operates alongside international, Australian national, and NSW state based frameworks for the care and protection of all clients particularly children, women, and vulnerable populations. 

Our approaches are 

  • Person centred – Building on your strengths and needs,
  • Holistic and ecological – helping within your environment and relationships, 
  • Solution focused – on outcomes that make a difference,
  • Psycho-educational – practical and easy to understand and practice. 

We are senior members with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). Our founder Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers is an Honorary of ACA, a clinical specialist and senior Counsellor Psychotherapist. Dr Bowers received awards for national leadership in founding Australia’s first international counselling research journal as well as for excellence in teaching counsellors in Australia. Our founder Dr Dwayne Kennedy is a Clinical Member of ACA who combines specialisations in Counselling Psychotherapy with expertise in teaching, early childhood education and disability support. 

  • We uphold the ethical standards of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics and Practice 2013.
  • Our legislative frameworks uphold the Australian Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Act), and the Privacy Act 1988. 
  • We uphold the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners.
  • We uphold the NDIS Code of Conduct, and the Objectives and Principles of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, and relevant Australian anti-discrimination legislation; including the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948. 
  • Accordingly we do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, marital status, pregnancy, age, ethnic or national origin, disability, sexual preference, religious or political belief.
  • In compliance with these policies and procedures, ATS Pty Ltd requires from individual practitioners the annual tabling of evidence regarding professional membership, indemnity and public liability, record of clinical supervision, and signed agreement with our Disclosure Terms and Conditions and any additional and relevant policies and procedures from time to time. Where individual practitioners work in a field that is self-regulating and outside of Australian legislative guidelines and where they are not Counsellors or Psychotherapists registered with the ACA, practitioners will abide by the ACA Code or its equivalent in their respective Association.

How Standards Apply to You

Your Consent Form 

  • Consent is your agreement to receiving our service.
  • These Disclosure, Terms, and Conditions apply to our service.
  • We view consent as an ongoing process of learning and respect.
  • To agree to our service means deciding how you want to engage with what we have to offer. 

NDIS and Consent

  • Consent for NDIS services means we need your agreement to contact the NDIS and other NDIS providers who are helping you or supplying services. 
  • Our Consent Form is built around this understanding – otherwise it is very difficult for us to provide a service. In some cases when a person has refused to allow us to contact the NDIS or other providers, we have had to say sorry we cannot provide a service. 
  • This is your right to refuse consent. It is our right as a provider to refuse service if we feel that consent does not match our need to meet obligations and responsibilities.
  • The NDIS Act 2013, and its developments during 2018, particularly for Behaviour Support, have a range of standards for the provision of services. For example, when you need a Behaviour Support Plan we need to assess whether this needs to be lodged with the NDIS Commission and your relevant State level Agency. To receive behaviour support at this specialist level requires Consent Agreement to these standards and procedures.

Consent and Confidentiality

  • Our Consent Form specifies the nature and limits of confidentiality. 
  • The nature and limits of confidentiality are laid out by the Australian Counselling Association, the NDIS Standards, the Privacy Act 1988, and the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998. 
  • Confidentiality means we keep your information private within certain contexts and limitations.
  • For example, when you give us Consent Agreement, we may discuss your details with your GP or Psychiatrist. When you give your Consent Agreement, we may speak with your Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist. When we have your Consent Agreement we may then provide documents or ask for documents from other practitioners or providers.
  • Other circumstances provide limits for confidentiality. For example, if you or someone you know was at risk of violence and harm, and where a child or under age person is at risk of violence or harm, we are a Mandatory Reporter. This means we are obligated under the law to inform relevant third parties of any reasonable perception of risk and harm. For example, we may need to contact the Department of Family Services or similar organisation, and/or the Police.
  • Under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, when ‘concerns of risk of significant harm’ arise, an additional consent conversation is not required for us to communicate to an appropriate authority. In most cases where we feel this is safe to do, we would speak with you about this development.

How Your Consent is Managed

  • Consent is ideally put into writing on our Consent Form and is signed and dated. 
  • When new information comes to light, like you give us permission to contact a new professional not listed on the Consent Form, we may add this to your Consent form. We may ask you to initial and date, or we may with your permission initial and date the change based on your verbal consent. 
  • Consent to contact third parties will imply the nature of the request and its purpose in the context of service provision. The Provider will supply any information requested to, from, or between third parties such as doctors, therapists, agencies, or other relevant parties, in relation to the provision of support within a reasonable time frame or as specified in the request.
  • Consent may be written or verbal. When we communicate with other providers or professionals on your behalf we seek written or verbal consent that is documented. 
  • Consent can also be implied by your participation with our service. Implied Consent is when you participate in therapy on a weekly basis. We gain your ongoing Consent by providing you with choices and options, by asking if you are comfortable or how you are feeling, by seeking what you wish to do, by understanding how you wish to proceed, etc…

Privacy

The Privacy Policy is both represented within this section and including the full document of Client Booklet Disclosure Terms and Conditions in as much as the issue of privacy and its limitations, risks, and procedures are integral to Client Consent and is subject to and contingent on the Consent of the Client to the service context and its associated limitations and risks as well as to the other terms and conditions.

This Privacy Policy clearly explains to clients, and to people with disability and workers, the nature of Consenting to the Client Booklet Disclosure Terms and Conditions in light of privacy considerations. 

Client consent is primarily documented in the Client Consent Form, through ongoing consultation and implied by participation, and in various ways by use of the ATS Pty Ltd and Ability Academy Australia website(s) and online Consent-implied procedures such as the Email Contact Form and in Registration or Membership in our website courses and/or community.

Privacy is a human right. Rights related to privacy are set out in the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 and State and Territory privacy laws. 

Consistent with the Australian Counselling Association Code of Conduct and the NDIS Code of Conduct, factors that may be relevant when assessing if conduct complies with this element of the Codes include but are not limited to ATS Pty Ltd employee’s:

  • Complying with Commonwealth and State and Territory privacy laws
  • Individuals have the right not to have personal information disclosed to others without their informed consent. 
  • Personal information is information or an opinion about a person whose identity can be determined from that information or opinion. 
  • Examples of personal information include a person’s name, address, date of birth and details about their health or disability.
  • ATS Pty Ltd employees will respect and protect the privacy of everyone that receives support and services.
  • ATS Pty Ltd employees will also ensure that they manage health information about the people that we support in accordance with privacy laws related to the management of health information.
  • This policy and procedure helps to ensure that we will manage information about people in accordance with privacy laws, and ensure our workers understand these policies and procedures.
  • Client information is stored in a secure manner whether by paper locked filing cabinets or by password protected electronic systems, the latter within the limits of confidentiality and of risks associated with technical and third party information and data systems as discussed throughout the Client Booklet: Disclosure, Terms, Conditions.
  • The kinds of personal information that will be collected and held, including how and if recorded/audio and visual material is held and for how long,
  • If and why this information is held, as in most cases ATS Pty Ltd employees will not take carriage of recorded audio or video files, and request that client’s remain in ownership and control of this kind of information within whatever information exchange system the client chooses to use for the purpose of temporarily sharing a recording with the therapist or instructor,
  • Who will have access to this information, within the limits of confidentiality and of known or perceived risks associated with technical and third party information and data systems,
  • How we will ensure the information is secure, within the limits of confidentiality and of risks associated with technical and third party information and data systems,
  • How this information will be used,
  • How to access and amend information held about them,
  • How to make a complaint if you feel that ATS Pty Ltd has breached our privacy obligations.

Disclosure of Personal Information

There are certain circumstances where ATS Pty Ltd should disclose information about a person without consent from the person involved. This might include mandatory reporting requirements on child protection matters, and obligations to report incidences of violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse, and sexual misconduct. Such reporting may be to the Department of Community, NDIS Commission, and/or the police.

The limits of confidentiality as discussed in other sections of the Client Booklet: Disclosure, Terms Conditions are here noted as to apply when by necessity of law as Mandatory Reporters we need to,

  1. By reasonable perception of risk in reducing or preventing a serious or imminent threat to an individual’s life, health or safety, or preventing a serious threat to public health or safety.
  2. By reasonable perception of risk in preventing, detecting, investigating, prosecuting or punishing of criminal offences and other breaches of the law that attract a penalty.
  3. By reasonable perception of risk in preventing, detecting, investigating or remedying of seriously improper conduct or proscribed conduct.
  4. Under the preparation or conduct of proceedings before any court or tribunal.
  5. Under required Clinical Supervision (for the Provider), wherein client details are de-identified unless there is a compelling need for details as required for quality assurance and/or standards of safety and risk.
  6. The Provider maintains a professional framework supported by ongoing clinical supervision as a regular requirement of professional practice. This exchange of information within professional supervision maintains Client confidentiality and privacy with the exception of statutory requirements as noted above.

Privacy and Online Environments and Training Contexts

All clients, and particularly people with disability have a right to privacy including in relation to the collection, use and disclosure of information concerning them and the services they receive. 

Privacy as a principle necessarily includes the client offering Consent in various ways to use and disclose their personal information including health information for the  purposes of ATS Pty Ltd providing a quality clinical, educational, and/or capacity building and training purpose.

All clients, and particularly people with disability who have provided Consent to use their information in specific ways and contexts have the right to service provision that respects their dignity and human rights by the appropriate use of their information within the clinical support, review, and where applicable in the training, online training, and capacity building environment.

ATS Pty Ltd and Ability Academy Australia have from time to time provided quality training, education, and capacity building to disability providers on behalf of a client or clients. In such situations, the clients or their parents or guardians have provided documented Consent. 

As ATS Pty Ltd services during 2020 and during the Covid-19 pandemic have increasingly moved into the online consultation and service provision environment, it has become increasingly necessary to inform clients of the perceived risks versus benefits of online telehealth, information exchange, and participation in online programs, learning, and clinical training services that are associated with the client’s case and personal information.

Where the online and cloud-based services have become increasingly normative across society and within the human services industry, ATS Pty Ltd has invested considerable time and resources into improving our online capacity to offer clinical telehealth services with video conferencing services, an online website community, online resources, and to develop online courses in personal growth, disability, behaviour support, and other areas.

Clients who decide to engage in online telehealth services including in courses or other resources will understand that to use these services the client must necessarily Consent to the risks associated with the use of third party technologies, third party  cloud based applications, third party video conferencing services, as well as third party data and internet servers, data systems, and information retrieval systems in that are based in Australia and/or based overseas. 

We stress that clients need to understand that not the least of these risks is the chance that your personal and health information may be compromised whether by mistake or by external malicious intention or by a breach in the security or operations or by any number of failures by third parties involved in the provision of distance and cloud based technology services.

While ATS Pty Ltd would take all precautions within our limited control in relation to the safe storage and retrieval of client’s personal information, such as carefully guarding passwords and access to online systems, and that we would take whatever actions are reasonable in the event of our being made aware of a breach to the systems and applications being used; we also must acknowledge that ATS Pty Ltd like all service providers does not control the highly technical computer systems that interact with our work. 

The client therefore indemnifies ATS Pty Ltd and our employees from all claims and losses and implied harm that may be implied or perceived or in material or actual form due to the breach of technical and online and training systems whether by fault, omission, mistake or by any other means and the client accepts whatever resulting personal liability and responsibility arising as such being both inherent or integral to the exercise of their personal choice and control and in providing Consent to the risks of this service provision that necessarily in this day and age includes these known and unknown risks and notwithstanding any relevant statutory obligations under the law of NSW Australia.

This being said, ATS Pty Ltd cares about our client’s personal and health information and so we seek to reduce risks where possible even while venturing into online telehealth systems at the request and need of our clients. As such we provide the following protocols and guidelines to uphold the privacy and security of client information.

  1. Client forms and personal data is held within locked cabinets and/or within online password protected databases.
  2. Where clients, carers, family, guardian, and/or staff enroll in a course or into an ATS Pty Ltd owned online community website, they will be asked to choose a Nickname that we recommend be created for this sole purpose (i.e. not a nickname they use in real life). Our online course and community website allows us to only display the nickname, and to hide the person’s name entered into the registration side of the website.
  3. Where clients enroll into a course or an ATS Pty Ltd owned online community website, we will suggest that they create a new free email address (i.e. in Gmail or another free email system) and password for the purpose of using the online system.
  4. We will further suggest that they might create and record in a secure location specific false contact information that they can put into the system to preserve their privacy and confidentiality. This may include a false date of birth, address, and/or contact information.
  5. Where a client requests and/or requires online training among their family, guardian, and/or staff, and the client has limited intellectual and/or other disability conditions that prevent direct participation, they will be given a false Nickname, date of birth, location/place names, and their information will be changed, masked, altered, and/or deleted.
  6. ATS Pty Ltd will ensure that all participants within the online training site are informed and will be encouraged to maintain the highest standards of confidentiality, privacy, and dignity of persons by the way  that they use and discuss case based information, which in the first instance ought to be changed in ways that provide for useful training and clinical discussions without compromising standards.
  7. ATS Pty Ltd acknowledges that in some cases engaging the above procedures may make online training difficult if not impossible for the family or staff group involved if/when the respective parties do not have the capability to maintain appropriate standards; in such cases it remains at the sole discretion of ATS Pty Ltd to alter, change, adjust, or stop a training programs at any time and without the need to provide detailed explanation to the parties involved.
  8. Given that the training online environment warrants that the risk of making mistakes in the use of real names and details is always present among the users of the site owned by ATS Pty Ltd, we need to inform the client, guardian, family, carers, and staff that the Consent to use online training and community resources necessarily needs to explicitly include that information shared may at times include personal details and health information and that the substance of these clauses is that ATS Pty Ltd and those who agree to use our systems would make efforts to reduce risk and to delete or have deleted in a timely manner identifying information that comes to light that was or is placed online by a client, participant, carer, family member, guardian, or staff member.
  9. In the event that clients, understanding the risks and protocols discussed above and within the Client Booklet Disclosure Terms and Conditions, decide to allow and Consent to their personal and/or health information being shared in some manner within the online training and consultation spaces, it will always remain at the sole discretion of ATS Pty Ltd to engage, curtail, limit, and/or to refuse service depending on our evaluation of the contexts.

Legal Jurisdiction of New South Wales

Under the fullest extent made possible by the law and in respect of the legal jurisdiction of New South Wales Australia and any other laws deemed relevant by this jurisdiction that 

  • The Client’s decision to access our website and to use the services offered by the Provider conveys a clear and reasonable level of informed consent. 
  • The Client agrees that informed consent implies a high degree of indemnity assurance to the Provider as to the Client actively taking personal and/or corporate responsibility as the case may be in reading understanding and providing informed consent in light of and congruent to these “Disclosure Terms and Conditions.”
  • The Client agrees to provide a reasonable level of consent in writing or verbally or by virtue of the act of access that applies to the whole of their interaction with this website and the services offered by the Provider. 
  • The Client agrees that consent is ongoing, and consent can be freely withdrawn at any time. 
  • The Client agrees that having read, understood, and made an informed decision on the use of our website and the services offered by the Provider the Client will decide if the Client wishes to access engage and/or pay for our services.
  • The Client agrees that in relation to any and all legal issues arising the Client and the Provider are governed by the legal jurisdiction of the State of New South Wales Australia and that all legal matters arising will be referred to this jurisdiction.

Definitions

Agency: An agency is a legal entity such as a corporate client, medical doctor or clinic, psychologist(s), non-government organisation, or government department.

Client: Any person(s) or entity who enters into communication with the Provider via any means or media and/or via a contractual arrangement for services. NDIS use the term Participant. Participant and Client hereby mean the same thing.

Client Direct Consultations: CDC’s are available to the public only, and not to professionals or corporate bodies (for relevant categories please see ‘corporate,’ and ‘clinical supervision’).

Third Party Provider: Another professional, such as a doctor, community health nurse, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, minister, or any other support system that the client specifies.

Third Party Payment: Where an insurance provider or other payment is arranged by or part of the service to the client.

Participant, Client or Entity: A participant, client, or entity is an individual person or a legal entity that communicates with the Provider by any means or media and/or uses the services of the Provider.

Provider: The Provider refers to Ability Therapy Specialists as the author of this website and the provider of services that are used by the participant, client, or entity. Individual therapist practitioners may from time to time be contracted by Ability Therapy Specialists and/or be in association with the Provider for professional, collegial, and/or administrative purposes.

NDIS: The National Disability Insurance Scheme as managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Service Agreement: In the first instance, the Service Agreement is this “Disclosure Terms and Conditions.” Under normal circumstances the Provider may offer a template and/or tailored “service agreement” that is relevant to the service requested. In the context of NDIS ‘Service Agreement’ may refer to a contract for services between a participant of the NDIS and Ability Therapy Specialists as a Registered NDIS Provider.

Therapy with Young People

“Young people” is a phrase used to describe developmental stages from birth through to the early 20s. Of particular importance for this guideline are the early stages of human development in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood where legal guardianship is warranted and maintained by adults in the young person’s world. 

Legal age in Australia and under the jurisdiction of NSW under which this policy applies is 18 (eighteen) years. The following are guiding principles of our practice with people who are under the legal age.

  • ATS works within a holistic, ecological, and relational model of therapy where the child or under aged person is addressed as a member of a family and community
  • ATS works with under aged persons within a family therapy model
  • We see children or young persons within the presence of adult parental or guardian-based relationships – we do not see under aged persons alone or apart from their adult support relationships
  • ATS works with young persons under parental or guardian arrangements only where there is an adult present in the room and nearby i.e. within visual and auditory distance
  • The adult(s) present with the under aged person are actually part of the therapeutic process and are treated as such, i.e. adults are also clients subject to therapeutic intervention and need to consent to this holistic family-context approach
  • Where private issues arise for under aged persons, for example, with trauma issues or personal identity issues that the child cannot disclose in front of parents or guardian-based relationships, the adults present in therapy are asked to provide additional space via a partition in the room or sitting outside the room but within visual or auditory range whichever seems more appropriate
  • We work intentionally with adult’s presence, space, and distance as elements of positive attachment theory that at various life stages provides indications of and methods for addressing therapeutic issues
  • In some cases another therapist may be present nearby to assist and/or observe

At our therapy studio, ATS may use closed circuit video equipment to monitor our environment and with prior consent this equipment can be used to record sessions to provide an additional means of reflection on clinical interventions and for clinical supervision and quality assurance.

Information Provided to You

  • Our website and all information from ATS is provided for information purposes only. 
  • While we have made every effort to ensure the information provided is free from error. 
  • The Provider does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of the material provided. 
  • All information is subject to change or deletion without notice. 
  • We recommend that you seek independent advice before acting upon material on our website and elsewhere provided.
  • Where the Client wishes to engage the Provider for any and all services such agreements will be engaged on their own merit irrespective of representations made. 
  • We reserve the right to change, alter, delete or modify any service provided and all information on this site as required at any time. 
  • In relation to the course of business and to any decisions therein, our website and information provided does not constitute a definitive representation of the substance or details of business transactions. 
  • All agreements, covenants, contracts or other kinds of arrangements made between parties are represented under direct contracts, agreements, covenants or other schedules entered into in respect to the business undertaken by the parties.

Your Risk in Using Communication Technologies

  • ATS Pty Ltd operates in the context of using information technologies including the world-wide-web, email, text, mobile phone, Skype for video, and relevant systems for data management and security.
  • Consent to use our service includes your agreement to using certain of the now standard communication technologies that characterise contemporary service provision and business management. 
  • You have the right to refuse the use of communication technologies under certain limitations, i.e. depending on how you wish to proceed, we may not be able to provide a service where certain systems are necessary for our legislative, legal, and standards compliance.
  • We do not guarantee that use of our website or any third party websites or servers or email providers will be safe or without virus or other threats to security.
  • We do not guarantee or imply your safety in the use of any third party technology systems or companies involved in the technology and communications industries.
  • We expressly provide warning hereby giving notice of your risk in using any or all technologies associated with the world-wide-web and/or national and/or global telecommunications industries. 
  • We do not warrant that your use of any technologies will be free from viruses, or that access to our website or any third party website or email system or server or other communications technology or company involved in this service will be uninterrupted, uncompromised, or that security will be maintained. 
  • We do not guarantee, warrant, or control the quality and security and functioning or confidentiality of the server(s) and/or other systems through which information is routed via telecommunications and the world-wide-web, including through emails and/or audio, video, text, or other types of communications as facilitated via third party technologies.
  • In the fullest extent possible and in respect of the law of New South Wales, Australia, and of any other applicable law as deemed relevant by our legal jurisdiction, we will not be held liable for error, omission, loss, corruption, interruption, security breach, lack of quality or functioning, or any other problem associated with or arising from problems with communications exchanged via third party companies and in the course of business provision. 
  • We do not warrant the security, safety or confidentiality of passwords, messages, video, audio, emails or any other communications used and/or sent and received in the course of business provision and during the course of professional consultation particularly in respect of such communications being of confidential and highly sensitive nature.
  • The Client as the service user accepts full responsibility in regards to your choice and consent in undertaking these and related risks in disclosing your personal information in these contexts and by these communication methods. 
  • As such you the Client agree to indemnify the Provider of all liability under the fullest extent possible under the law of NSW or all manner of loss, harm, damage, grief, and suffering that may arise whether directly or indirectly now or at any time in the future and in perpetuity in association with failures of communication systems that are reasonably accepted to be outside of our direct control.
  • Subject to any responsibilities implied by law and which cannot be excluded, we are not liable to you for any losses, damages, liabilities, claims and expenses (including but not limited to legal costs and defence or settlement costs) whatsoever arising out of or referable to any material on this website or any third party website whether in contract, tort including negligence, statute or otherwise. 
  • Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on our website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  • Your use of any information or materials on our website or with this service is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available will meet your specific requirements. 
  • Our website and information provided to you contains material which are owned by or licensed to the Provider. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these “Disclosure Terms and Conditions.” 
  • Unauthorised use of our website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offense. From time to time this website may also include links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s).

Clients Sharing Information and Video

Our person centred service operates within the modern technological world where many or indeed most of our clients are using handheld devices, IPads, desktop computers, and the wide range of third party applications (apps) that exist and are in common usage.

Your Client Booklet Disclosure, Terms, and Conditions outlines the use of third party technology systems and the commonly known data security limitations and risks associated with third party applications that you the client may take on when you decide to use these systems. This section outlines the common ways people make use of video sharing options. 

The decision of what and how to use these technologies is entirely yours alone and the risks you take in communicating personal information over these third party systems is also at your own risk. 

ATS Pty Ltd must also make our own decisions about what technologies we will use and in some cases how a technology will be used for optimal safety and data security. As new information comes to light, our policy and practice may change.

Video Sharing happens in two ways:

  • In real time, like talk over Skype or Messenger video chat. Often the video data stream is slow or compromised, leading to talking only with voice. These systems also act like a telephone for talking. Their advantage is that they are either free or very inexpensive to use.
  • In delayed time, like video or audio sharing by use of a file or communication that is stored in a system. For example, in WhatsApp a short one minute video can be shared and stored on the receiver’s phone. In other words, something you recorded on your phone or IPad or Laptop or Computer or Smart TV or other device is shared with someone via a file that is sent or stored on an external device like a Thumb Drive.

In past state based behaviour and disability support systems included limited use of pre-recorded video resources shared between families or providers and a clinician. 

  • For instance, a family may film during behavioural episodes and share the clips with a specialist who is unable to be present or visit the family.
  • Another example is a service provider working with a client to record video clips of social interactions with staff. These may then be used for training staff to work effectively with the individual. 

In all these cases and generally in the social and human services environment, documented consent is of primary importance – consent to make, to define use, to allow access, to establish a timeline for use and then to establish a delete date for this information. These agreements are central to protecting privacy and human rights and are to be upheld by all providers of services.

  • Under our policy, ATS Pty Ltd does not keep any video or photographic material for clients. Clients may share video information with us, but ATS therapists will then delete the information or pass it back to the client. All such materials remain the property of the individual and their parent or guardian.
  • ATS Pty Ltd also has not used client photographs in our public materials. 
  • When a family or client requests, we may use a headshot taken by the family or staff in a personal document like a behaviour support plan. However the use of this document is controlled by the participant, parents and/or guardian.
  • ATS reserves the right to refuse participation in accessing personal materials via certain systems without any need for explanation. 
  • As stated in the Client Booklet Disclosure Terms Conditions, ATS Pty Ltd will not be held responsible or liable for loss of personal data, information, or compromises to security of data for any reasons including any perceived or plausible errors or mistakes by our employees. Clients who chose to use these systems under our Client Booklet Disclosure, Terms and Conditions do so at your own risk.

Video Sharing Practice and Protocol

  • ATS Pty Ltd therapists prefer not to view recorded videos on systems where there are potential data security risks. 
  • ATS therapists generally prefer “real time” live chats, on an encrypted App ideally, where the client uses a smartphone or video camera on a laptop or computer to allow us to see what is happening at the moment. 
  • Where behaviours or issues happen when a client has their phone, but are not talking with us, often clients or parents or a staff member with permission and consent will take a short video and will want to share this with the therapist or behaviour specialist. 
  • Sometimes people will then show the smartphone video by using a separate device to look at the video being played. This way the information can be shared with the therapist and then deleted.
  • Videos of specific social interactions between a family member and a person with a disability can be helpful for a wide range of reasons. These can help the therapist to understand relationship patterns and behaviours of concern. 
  • Discussion with the person with disability can provide more insight about what is happening and how to proceed, and how to help family or carer to change what they are doing to help the individual.
  • Video used in this therapeutic way can help the therapist to observe and point out ways to improve the communication or social interaction. The participant, family member and/or staff may then practice new skills, which they may also record on video to share progress.
  • Use of video for sharing this kind of personal information must happen under very careful guidelines to ensure documented consent agreement, comfort, respect, dignity, and privacy are maintained to the highest standard. In a disability provider service setting deletion of data must always be carefully considered, scheduled, and verified by people using video or text information of a personal nature.
  • The pace of change with technology makes it difficult to cover the many contingencies involved. The best that anyone can do is to research, and make as informed a decision as possible. Consider the risks, and then work to minimize those that are within your control.
  • For these reasons ATS Pty Ltd is developing and continually reviewing policy and practice guidelines for the use of information and video sharing.

Conflict of Interest

  • Regarding conflict of interest that may come to light during service provision the Provider will act to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. 
  • Where an issue comes to light the Provider will raise the concern, discuss the issue, and work to resolve the potential for conflict of interest.
  • The Provider will have no financial or other interests that could directly or indirectly influence or compromise the provision of support to a Client. 
  • The Provider will not accept offers of money, gifts, services or benefits that would cause the Provider to act in a manner contrary to the interests of the Client.
  • The Provider makes clear that we provide a wide range of services i.e. to NDIS participants we provide behaviour support, counselling and assessment therapies, support coordination, and specialist support coordination etc… The Provider also provides a wide range of counselling psychotherapies for individual, relationship, and community sectors i.e. grief and loss, employment/vocational, workplace training, capacity building, life stage transition, and psycho-educational needs. It is the choice of the client to use the Provider for more than one service. The Provider will make every effort to demonstrate clear role definitions and to document tasks completed per hours of service.

Complaints and Resolution

  • The Client agrees that concerns and complaints are to be expressed verbally to the person directly related to the concerns and complaints, and when necessary may be expressed in writing to the person directly related to the concern and complaint.
  • The Client agrees that if the issue is not resolved by direct communication with the person involved in the concern or complaint, the Client will contact verbally or in writing the Provider’s Director for swift handling and resolution. 
  • The Client agrees that records related to concerns and complaints will be maintained for at least 5 years or as required by applicable law.

Fee for Service

  • Our service is based on a fee for service model.
  • Generally we provide Client Direct Consultations whether to private clients or to participants of the NDIS.
  • Where services are provided to NDIS participants, these are paid for by the Scheme. Fee structures and categories for service are determined by the NDIS. The NDIS information is out of our control and may change without notice.
  • For consultations with agencies our fees and charges are negotiated for each request and a service agreement developed in each case.

GST

  • ATS private and corporate services are GST applicable. 
  • From 1 July 2017, NDIS services are GST exempt. See the ATO site for details.

Booking is a Binding Agreement

The Client agrees that booking the provider’s time is a binding agreement to purchase/pay for the service when booked or on the day of the consultation.

24 Hour Cancel or Pay Policy

  • Clients agree that to receive a full refund or to re-book a session without additional charge, the client must cancel a session at least 24 hours before the session. 
  • If cancelled outside of 24 hours, a full refund is warranted. The client may choose to re-book the session at another time – for free. No explanation necessary, our compliments and thanks for your customer loyalty! 
  • If not cancelled outside the 24 hour window, a full charge for the  session is warranted. This is a legally binding agreement. No exceptions. Payment is expected/billed. Thank you again for your customer loyalty! 
  • When this is not the case: Emergencies to hospital, unexpected sickness, death of a loved one, car or other major accident, and when a doctor’s certificate is provided, the 24 hour cancel or pay policy is waived. The client agrees to please contact the provider ASAP to inform of the crisis.
  • If the client is unable to pay a bill, but wishes to settle the account, they agree to contact the Provider to offer advice that they will pay the amount within three days maximum. 
  • If the client chooses to not pay, all further service will be suspended on the day following when payment is due, which is normally the day of the missed session. The client agrees that in the unlikely case of refusal to pay, invoices may be sent to a collection agency.

The Provider notes that NDIS payment policies at the time of the client’s service agreement are honoured, and while the principles of this section generally apply, these principles cannot in practice contradict the Provider’s application of NDIS payment policy and practice. See below for NDIS Payment for Services for more information.

The NDIS Service Agreement

  • Under NDIS policy standards, participants of the NDIS are provided with a written Service Agreement. 
  • Supports delivered are in accordance with the Agreement and are adapted from the National Disability Insurance Scheme “Model Agreement”. 
  • Our Service Agreement is consistent with the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s pricing arrangements and guidelines.

This information does not replace the text of your NDIS ATS Pty Ltd Service Agreement. This section only highlights some of the key points of your agreement. The Agreement itself is the definitive text.

  • If the Provider intends to withdraw or terminate our services with you, we will provide adequate notice to you or to your nominee. 
  • You agree that the time frame for notice will vary according to the nature and frequency of the support and a termination clause will be included in your Agreement.
  • Where ATS Pty Ltd subcontracts the provision of supports, for example, brokering an independent therapist, the subcontracted provider must comply with our Disclosure, Terms, and Conditions and the content of this Client Booklet. The therapist must also comply with any employment or workplace health and safety laws, and all ethical, legal, and professional standards as set by ATS Pty Ltd from time to time. ATS Pty Ltd will review the work undertaken by a subcontractor to ensure they are compliant with standards under these terms.
  • Where ATS Pty Ltd engages an individual as an independent contractor for the provision of supports, we will pay the independent contractor at least the amount payable as if the individual were employed in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009.
  • ATS Pty Ltd will inform the Participant of the subcontracting arrangement and will include this information in our Service Agreement and/or under an Amendment to the Service Agreement that documents the Participant’s agreement.

NDIS Payment for Services

  • ATS Pty Ltd charges for support delivered in accordance with the National Disability Insurance Scheme pricing arrangements and guidelines.
  • We claim or charge or invoice the NDIS or Plan Management Agency or the Individual Self Manager after the support has been provided.
  • Our Service Agreement will clearly set out for the Participant the costs to be paid, timing of delivery and the payment method. 
  • No fee additional to the agreed price for the support will be levied upon a Participant for reasonable and necessary support associated with the Service Agreement.

NDIS and Conditions of Disclosure

With respect to NDIS Paid Disability services and records kept by the Provider, the Provider is bound by the following clause of condition to disclosure:

  • “With the exception of an imminent threat to life, health or safety, all requests for disclosure must be referred to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Privacy Contact Officer for consideration prior to release.”
  • The Provider is required to report serious incidents to the National Disability Insurance Scheme State Manager and to the relevant statutory authority in the local jurisdiction. A serious incident is defined as: “The death of, or serious injury to, a Participant, Allegations of, or actual sexual or physical assault of a Participant, Significant damage to property or serious injury to another person by a Participant, An event that has the potential to subject a Participant or National Disability Insurance Scheme to high levels of adverse public scrutiny.”

NDIS Audit, Review, and Compliance

The Provider may be reviewed by the National Disability Insurance Agency, the NDIS Commission, or a Third Party Audit Company listed and approved by the NDIS Commission. 

  • Participants of the NDIS are automatically included under the provisions of audit and review, where Participant’s information may be included in the quality review of the Provider’s services.
  • Participants have the right to decline participation in the audit, and they can decline to be interviewed and/or contacted by the auditor. 
  • Participant’s choice to not participate must be documented by the provider and given to the auditor. Audit participation or electing not to participate does not impact services or NDIS participation.
  • The Provider will cooperate fully with National Disability Insurance Agency and/or NDIS Commission and their officers or auditors who undertake review activities. 
  • Where a decision by the National Disability Insurance Agency or the NDIS Commission is the subject of a merits review or complaint, or a request for information is made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Provider is required to cooperate in providing any documents or other information requested in compliance with our obligations as a Registered NDIS Provider.

Resources

Australian Counselling Association Code of Ethics, http://www.theaca.net.au/documents/ACA%20Code%20of%20Ethics%20and%20Practice%20Ver%2012.pdf (15-6-17)

Federal Register of Legislation, National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00934, and from the NDIS website https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/governance/legislation (15-5-17)

Freedom of Information Act 1982, https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2004A02562

NSW Government, NSW Consolidated Acts, Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caypapa1998442/ (15-5-17)

NSW Community Services, Keep them Safe and Interagency Guidelines, http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/kts/collaboration (15-5-17)

Privacy Act 1988, https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00025

Privacy Law, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy-law/

United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948, http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ (13-2-19)

United Nations, Declaration on the Rights of the Child, https://www.unicef.org/malaysia/1959-Declaration-of-the-Rights-of-the-Child.pdf (15-5-17)

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