Welcome to Part 2 of my blog series of the highlights of the NDIS Scheme. If you haven’t already read it, here is the link to Part 1, which was on Stage 1 and 2 of the audit process: https://www.thequalitynerd.com/blog/highlights-of-the-ndis-scheme-stage-1-and-2
At the Stage 2 audit, the auditor will want to speak to your clients, and review client files. There is a methodology in the Scheme for how auditors must sample your clients – the methodology is multi-layered so that auditors can get the best coverage or sample of clients, but that means that it can be complex to understand.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission considers some Registration Groups to be low-risk, such as Household Tasks. They have listed these low-risk groups as Appendix D of the Scheme. These groups are excluded from client sampling.
For the other groups, the number of clients you have in each group will be added together, and the square root of this total number will be the number of clients that your auditor has to sample at your external audit.
For example, if you have 16 clients in total from the in-scope Registration Groups, the auditor will interview and review the files of four clients. At surveillance audits, it will be the square root of the total number, multiplied by 0.6.
The auditor will try and speak to clients best represent who you are delivering services to – they might choose clients that speak a different language, that have different communication needs, or that access more than one service at your organisation.
You, as the organisation, must ensure that you have notified your clients that the NDIS audit process is ‘opt-out’, meaning that clients must say that they don’t want to participate – otherwise the auditor will be able to access their file, and contact them for an interview. If possible, you can work with the auditor to arrange interview times with clients during the audit, but organisations are now allowed to pre-select clients for file review or interviews. The auditor needs to tell you which clients they would like to look at.
I hope that this has de-mystified the client sampling process for you. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you are an NDIS Provider, by now you should know all about the NDIS (Approved Quality Auditors Scheme) Scheme 2018, or, the verification or certification process that all registered providers have to go through where you are assessed by an external auditor.
If you haven’t yet read the Scheme – I don’t blame you! It’s essentially a piece of legislation, it’s dense and full of auditing jargon. But you have me! I was on the technical committee that developed the Human Services Quality Framework Scheme here in Queensland (I also wrote the first draft of that Scheme), so I can help break it down for you. For this blog post, I’m going to talk about Stage 1 and 2 of the audit process.
First up, Stage 1 and 2 only applies if you are a provider that has to go through the certification process. How do you know? You head in to the NDIS Portal and get yourself an Initial Scope of Audit document. This tells you – and the Approved Quality Auditors – what type of process you need to undergo.
Stage 1 is completed offsite by your auditor, and consists of the auditor reviewing your self-assessment, any prior certification outcomes, and any evidence that you also provided, such as your policies and procedures. The purpose of the Stage 1 audit is so that your auditor can determine how prepared your organisation is to go through a full external audit. The report you will be provided will contain where the auditor thinks you might have a non-conformity. When you think about it, this is great information! It means you get a heads-up on what you need to fix before you need to get certified.
A Stage 2 audit occurs within three months of the Stage 1 audit – plenty of time to fix what might have been identified as an issue in Stage 1. A Stage 2 will initially consist of at least two auditors coming to your site/s and reviewing your records, interviewing management and staff, and interviewing participants.
A sampling methodology is applied if you have more than one service site, and to how many participants the auditors will interview and how many participant records they will look at. The methodology can seem complicated, but really what the auditors need to do is ensure they interview and look at the widest range possible in the time that they have. They will try and speak to people from all backgrounds and from the different services you deliver. I may discuss this in a future blog post, along with what happens if you get a non-conformity during the Stage 2.
I encourage you to develop a good relationship with your Approved Quality Auditor, as they will help you have a smooth certification process, and will tell you what you need for both stages.
If you’re just starting out in this process and need some help, please feel free to drop me an email so we can discuss your options: email@example.com
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Hi everyone, and welcome to Part 2 of my blog series on leadership. Part 1 is here if you haven’t read it yet.
I read a great article recently on a concept called Servant Leadership in Eno Global Media (12 Principles of Servant Leadership), and it really struck me as the perfect description of what I would consider to be a best practice Quality Manager.
Quality Management, and particularly this discipline within Human Services, is essentially to be of service to your stakeholders, especially your organisation’s clients. To have excellent quality, you need to be able to listen carefully to your stakeholders, understand their needs within the context of your regulatory environment, enact and implement actions to meet stakeholder needs, and then evaluation and check in to ensure that the actions have had a positive result.
Your emotional intelligence is of far more importance than whether you’ve been to university, or what position you’ve reached on a corporate ladder, especially if you’re just starting out in a quality management role. You can easily look up, and learn, the technical skills of quality management and external legislation and guidelines. But being able to relate to your stakeholders is a skill you will need from the beginning.
I’ve said this from the beginning of my career, and especially when I was working in human service organisations as a quality manager: I’m here to support you. I do what I do so that you can be safe, be happy in your job/be happy with your services, and so that we can improve. I absolutely stand by this, more than 10 year after my first quality management role. And I still believe it to be true as a consultant.
What do you think? Are you a Servant Leader? Let me know in the comments or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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There are so many new providers out there in the NDIS and Home Care space, adding to the wonderful world of human services. We talk about governance and management a lot in human services - in fact, every human services quality standard or legislation out there has one standard devoted to ensuring that this is done to a certain level in every organisation.
Leadership, I think we all know, is different to governance and management. So, I'd like to start talking more about it in this blog.
First up, I listened to this TED Talk recently and it really resonated with me, as I think it aligns really well with human services - even though there are more for-profits in the sector now, the philosophy and ethics of the sector differ so much to the corporate sector.
Have a listen and let me know what you think in the comments!
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Whether you own or work in a business, compliance is key. Compliance is making sure that you meet all of the requirements relevant to your business - this could be legislation, regulations, best practice, or quality standards. Every business in Australia has compliance requirements, so knowing what they are, and having a system in place to manage these requirements, really puts you in front.
Many people think of quality management as a burden or an "extra", but compliance requirements aren't going away (especially in the human services sector). Remember what I said about embracing compliance? Setting up a quality management system is the easiest way to manage your compliance. Managing your quality management system - that is, actively working in and on it - will make compliance a breeze.
The best way to manage your QMS is to be proactive! Schedule time each week in your calendar for quality management tasks. Schedule different tasks for each week of the months. For example:
Week 1: Review policies and procedures
Week 2: Review complaints and incidents
Week 3: Review governance requirements
Week 4: Review improvement actions
Start with one hour a week - that is only 2.5% of your working week! That is surely worth the investment for the peace of mind that you are meeting your compliance requirements.
Speak to me about how to manage your QMS, and how to make compliance a breeze: email@example.com
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I've been running my business for several years now and I just realised my blog posts go all the way back to 2013! That's a lot to read through if you've just found me. So I thought I'd round up some of my blog posts that specifically address quality management for beginners or new businesses.
Getting outcomes focused (important for both NDIS and Aged Care/Home Care providers):
My vlog on policies and procedures, parts 1 and 2:
Transitioning to new standards:
Some quick tips for setting up your quality management system - it's more than just having policies and procedures!:
A lot of new organisations will have external audits coming up; here's some tips for how to deal with a non-conformity:
I hope you find these helpful! If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,
First of all, congratulations! You had the idea you wanted to become a provider of disability or aged care services. You worked hard to build up a company, get the right people involved, and work through the finances.
It’s a lot of work to become a registered or approved provider. Both the disability and aged care sectors are heavily regulated, and there are multiple compliance layers that new business owners need to work through. That’s why my number one tip to new providers is:
Compliance is interchangeable with quality management in this case. The policies and procedures you have to write, the supporting documents that need to be filled out, the communication you need to have in place with your staff and clients – all of this forms your quality management system, which helps you stay compliant.
The fact is, the disability and aged care sectors are not going to stop being heavily regulated any time soon – and given that we are in the human services sector, do we really want to reduce any of the checks and balances?
So now is the time to embrace quality management and compliance. Learn to love policies and procedures. Learn to love internal auditing, and engaging with stakeholders, and keeping your registers up to date. Learn to love continual improvement.
The result will be safer, better services, and happier staff and clients. For you, that means a more successful business.
And don’t forget, you don’t have to do this alone! Contact me for support – I can providing training for you and your staff on quality management and compliance: email@example.com
Thanks for reading,
There has been a lot happening in the disability and aged care sectors, but of course one of the biggest things impacting organisations has been the development and release of the new NDIS Practice Standards (replacing all state-based quality standards like the Human Services Standards and Human Services Quality Standards) and the Aged Care Quality Standards (which brought together the Aged Care Accreditation Standards and the Home Care Standards).
These two new standards are not vastly different from what we had before. But they do require some effort to implement in your organisation, so that you can be truly ready for the next time an external auditor comes to visit. Here are three things that you can do:
A consultant like myself can help you with steps 1 and 2 above, but step 3 will always be up to you, and it is a crucial step. Remember to keep records of your transition – include what you’re doing in your Improvement Plan, ensure you have a system for keeping records of any new process (e.g. signing new Codes of Conduct, adding new training to your Training Register).
If you do need help with steps 1 and 2, give me a call! I can work across all states and territories and can currently offer a quick turnaround for your project.
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If you are working in the aged care sector, you will definitely know that this week marks the start of some pretty big changes to how the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency works, and to the quality standards they will be auditing under. First of all it's now unannounced visits all the time for residential care facilities - this is massive and I believe we will see a big increase in the number of not mets being issued for at least the first 12 - 18 months of this new methodology.
The other big change is the merging of all the different aged care standards into one set called the Aged Care Quality Standards. This will affect every Home Care and Residential Aged Care provider. Although the standards were legislated to come into effect on 1 July 2018 (with a transition period until 1 July 2019), the guidelines (I believe) are still in draft - the standards themselves only had a couple of minor changes through the consultation process.
Whenever new standards replace old, the first thing people ask is "what has changed?" Usually, standards-owners don't make the changes too dramatic - the words may move around, but to majorly change the intent or requirements of standards would place too much pressure on organisations, and government will generally try to avoid that.
With that in mind, I mapped the new Aged Care Quality Standards against the previous Home Care Standards, and Aged Care Accreditation Standards. And you can get a copy FOR FREE.
All you need to do is send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to include your work email signature*, and I'll send you a copy of the mapping. Please see below a sample from the first page:
This is a basic mapping tool, but should give you a head start on knowing what you might need to do for your quality management system (e.g. changing documents).
All the best for this new world of aged care.
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* by emailing me, you agree to have your work details - including your name, position, email, phone number, and organisation - stored on my records. I will never share or sell your details. You may be emailed from time to time with information on The Quality Nerd.
If you had a bit of a holiday break over Christmas and New Year, welcome back to work - you're probably full steam ahead, because human services never really stops, so here are some quick tips to get your year started right, quality management-wise.
1. Set your internal audit schedule - you might call this process or document reviews. However you do it, for your organisation, make sure you book it in now. Internally auditing or reviewing your organisation SHOULD NOT be ad hoc. Prioritise, based on risk, plan, and book in the relevant stakeholders.
2. Write or review your strategic or operational plans - or at least book in a review for later in the year. Now is a great time to revisit your business priorities. You can do this on a larger scale with your staff and clients, or it might just be a quick review to set some goals for the next few weeks.
3. Book in some time to get client feedback - again, this is about knowing where you are, and setting some goals for 2018. This process does not have to be formal (think paper or online surveys), although it can be. But if you're a small organisation, you might just call up your clients and ask them how last year went with regard to their services, and if they have any suggestions for this year. Record your findings in your Improvement Plan!
4. Schedule in staff training - training staff in human services should also not be ad hoc. You need to look at your client group and the type of services you provide, and tailor staff training accordingly. Schedule it in, book in external trainers if you need to, and evaluate the training afterwards. This is also a good time to chat to staff about their goals for this year, and review last year's performance and goal achievement. Or, book that chat in for later this year now.
I hope you have a great start to 2018. If you're a new organisation, you might be starting to think about your first external audit this year! I can help by checking number 1 from this list off for you, and conducting an audit on your business - see my Pricing page, or contact me.
Thanks for reading,
Do you have a topic suggestion? Something really bugging you about Quality? Send me an email! Your details will remain private, but I'll send you an email back