New NDIS Translation and Interpreting Services Policies | Queensland Alliance for Mental Health

New NDIS Translation and Interpreting Services Policies

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The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released new policies relating to translation and interpreting services within the Scheme. NDIS has developed a MOU with TIS National to support participants to access supports and implement their plans.

This is an interim solution to fill the gap for translation or interpreter services for people who speak English as a second language (ESL). Further work is being undertaken with DSS to resolve the issue of addressing barriers for participants with ESL to implement their plans in the longer term.

Summary of the new process

Participants who speak English as a second language will be supported by either a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or Support Coordinator.  The LAC or Support Coordinator will assist the ESL participant to:

  1. Access supports in their primary language – usually by a provider who speaks the same language;
  2. Access mainstream National Translation and Interpreter Services (TIS) and coordinate informal language assistance through supports such as their local Migrant Resource Centre; and
  3. Access mainstream and community English learning and development opportunities.

Where the above solutions are not available, a LAC or Support Coordinators will support the participant to access TIS via TIS National for funded supports.

Funded Supports using TIS National

When deciding when to access TIS National, the LAC or Support Coordinator considers:

  1. What is expected to be provided through mainstream and/or universal services
  2. Informal/community/family supports available to assist
  3. Whether the TIS support is fundamental to support the achievement of the ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports funded under the plan
  4. Supports that assist long-term development
  5. Supports that improve functioning.


A significant point to note is the improved integration of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse considerations into the participant pathway – specifically with NDIA Staff, Local Area Coordination or Support Coordination to assist participants who have English as a second language.

TIS National supports can only be used for accessing/implementing funded supports in the participants plan.

There have not been any changes to how participants obtain TIS when engaging directly with the NDIS and Partners in the Community.

Our regional teams and Partners in Community have received initial communications to advise them of these changes, our internal resources have been updated to reflect them and further education will occur over the next few days.

Practice guidance about assisting communication has been provided to Agency staff and Partners in the Community.  This practice guide will also be supplemented with a further internal communications and training to strengthen Agency staff in their understanding of the needs of people from a CALD background.

To support future understanding of the need for interpreter services, we have also incorporated reporting requirements for TIS National to the NDIA on usage data and statistics. This data will inform future CALD initiatives undertaken by the NDIA as well as future reviews of TIS.

To capitalise on the reporting from TIS National, the NDIA will be seeking to work with and inform the market about opportunities for diversification with CALD providers moving into the disability service provision space and disability providers moving into bilingual and ethno specific service delivery.

There are also a number of resources available on our internet page NDIS Translation and Interpreting Services