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
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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
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Please let me know if there's any other quality or business topics you'd like me to cover in a vlog!
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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,
The not-for-profit (or for-purpose) sector and its stakeholders (especially government) have been flirting with outcomes measurement for a long time. Sometimes it’s felt like a game of cat and mouse, or ‘will they, won’t they’. The sector’s interest and commitment to outcomes measurement within its organisations has wavered in line with what it’s perceived as ‘likelihood of threat’. This, actually, is not a great way to live, or operate, or manage.
So, can we, the sector, say now is the time? Because now IS the time! It really is! Performance measurement, measuring social outcomes, social impact, social bonds – all this stuff – it’s been around now for a REALLY LONG TIME. And as a sector, we STILL haven’t fully embraced it? Sometimes I find that so hard to believe, because it really would not be too hard for each and every organisation to measure ONE THING.
If I seem overly passionate about this, I am! I truly believe we need to measure in order to know that our services are making the difference we want them to make. We are constantly saying that ‘the system is broken’, or we lack funding, or we need new ways of getting funding – so let’s measure. Let’s show the difference we’re making. Or if we’re not making the difference we want, measuring gives us the opportunity to improve. There is no downside.
So I just wanted to share three of articles / resources that might fire up your interest, if you’re new to outcomes or measuring.
From Social Ventures Australia:
Managing to Outcomes: What, Why and How?
Finding the golden thread: A new approach to articulating program logic
From the Centre for Social Impact:
The Compass: Your Guide to Social Impact Measurement
If you have any more, please let me know in the comments!
I have been a huge fan of Christopher Paris’s work essentially since I first started in Quality Management way back when. His Eyesore 9001: A Smartass’s Guide to ISO 9001:2000 (now in 2008 version) basically saved my bacon when I was a Quality newbie. It was useful and applicable, and it told me that I wasn’t going crazy and that no matter how ISO tried to dress up 9001 as a standard for both ‘products and services’, it really, really wasn’t written for services at all (or by anyone who understood service organisations?), especially human services.
For ISO’s 2015 version of 9001, Paris hasn’t released an Eyesore – instead he went down the rabbit-hole and has written and published an entire book. This book is the most comprehensive drill-down of the ISO 9001 that you will ever read. How Paris made it out of his analysis alive and sane could be considered a miracle (or did he? Someone let me know), as he has really left out no detail – it’s pretty much a word-by-word breakdown of what is, in my opinion, the worst written anything of everything.
I have, since the beginning of my Quality career, been a huge critic of the use of ISO 9001 in human service organisations. I absolutely believe that organisations should have management systems in place, and should be concerned about the quality of their services and how they achieve quality for their clients. But it scares me that governments have written into service agreements that human service organisations must be certified to ISO 9001, and that some organisations are voluntarily opting-in (because they think it helps prove that they’re doing the right thing) when the standard just isn’t written in our language and is still very much “we make products” focused.
(Also, governments, there are so many human services quality standards you can now pick from that you could ask organisations and services to demonstrate compliance to (without needing them to be certified if the standard is from another state). Why waste time with ISO 9001?)
Paris’s book is amazing, right from his documentation of the history of how the standard comes about (which should be appalling to all of us quality professionals), to his breakdown of the clauses, to how we can apply it in our organisations – but (and this is not Paris’s deficiency, but rather my conclusion), his book only further convinces me of the unsuitability of ISO 9001 for our industry. That being said, if you do work in human services and you do need help figuring out ISO 9001, this is the best book you could buy to help you.
PS – this blog post is not sponsored, and I don’t know Christopher Paris and I’ve never done any work with Oxebridge. I just really respect what he is trying to do and I have genuinely found his work to be very helpful to me as I’ve tried to navigate the ISO 9001.
The Quality Nerd loves all things Quality Management and Internal Audit...too much is never enough!