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
Thanks for reading,
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
Thanks for reading,
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
Thanks for reading,
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,
I just downloaded the latest resource from EVPA and Social Value International, released 12 September 2017. It's called Impact Management Principles, and it's a short, highline look at how non-government organisations (or what they call social purpose organisations) can incorporate impact management / measurement into their information collection processes.
Link to website
Link to resource
We're still getting used to the idea of measuring outcomes in human services organisations here in Australia, but the time when it becomes mandatory for many service types is fast-approaching. It can seem overwhelming - you need to plan, maintain, analyse, report. What I like about this resource is that it breaks down impact management into manageable parts, and they've presented the information in a very easy-to-read format - great for beginners!
Don't forget I have organisational review packages running until the end of November - book me now to start 2018 fresh and clear about where your organisation is at with regards to meeting quality standards. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,
Please let me know if there's any other quality or business topics you'd like me to cover in a vlog!
Thanks for watching,
I might be a bit late to the party, but today I received my usual update from Stephanie Evergreen - data visualisation expert - which mentioned her Evergreen Data Academy. It took me about 15 seconds after clicking on the link to the Academy site to decide to sign up. Now, why would a quality manager want to pay to learn about data visualisation? Let me explain..
1. It should be very clear by now that how we "do" human services in Australia is changing very, very rapidly. We are no longer just 'delivering' services, nor do we just have to 'comply' to continue our funding. We are very much moving towards outcomes and competitive models. We need to be able to demonstrate what we are achieving. Organisations that can do that well will have a market edge.
2. How Quality Managers operate within human services organisations must change along with how are organisations will be run. We can't sit on the sidelines issuing reports detailing what people are doing wrong.
We must be able to proactively gather data about how services are running, and be able to display that data in a way that engages the management team to take action. We must also be able to engage clients and potential clients with that data - therefore, it needs to be accessible and appropriate to our audience.
3. A Quality Management professional should never sit still. We need to be the leaders in our organisations; the people others look to for advice; the people that others consult and collaborate with. This requires us to maintain, update, and expand our skills. I have no doubt that data and how it is used and presented is a very important part of the future of Quality Management. I am, therefore, so excited to be part of the Evergreen Data Academy, and I can't wait to start learning!
Best of all, increasing my skills means I can help your organisation more. Contact me if you'd like to talk about your data at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading,
I'm sure this has happened to all of us. It's usually when someone new joins your organisation / team, most likely in a management role. Brimming with energy, they see problems and they want to fix it. Or they want things to work as they did their last job. So they charge through a process change, implement it without any real consultation, breathe a sigh of relief, and then sit back and wait to be praised.
Have you experienced what happens next? That staff don't fully embrace the change because they don't really understand it, or why the process has been changed at all. Or that there's re-work because the change to the process wasn't really thought out and had unintended consequences.
I feel stunned every time I see this happen, because it demonstrates what I consider to be really poor management and leadership skills. I understand that, as managers, we often feel that our experience knows best, we know what works and what doesn't, and that if only things worked our way, then the business would be better. But to change a process without actually ever having done the process is fraught with danger.
Doing the process doesn't necessarily mean you're the one doing every task. But at the very least, you should see how the process works from start to end, several times, before you start making any changes to it. Why? Because not all businesses are the same, and not all humans work the same. You also need to know that if you change anything, that it will actually work - so you need to know how long something really takes to be done, how many resources are needed, etc - and you cannot know this unless you've done the process.
Sometimes process change has to be quick - but taking at least some time to do the process is vital so that you know that when you make those changes, that they'll actually work. It's certainly better than the embarrassment of having to go back and re-do the change, or, worse still, have the process fail completely.
As always, if you have any blog topics that you'd like me to write about, please let me know.
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