Modifying Policies to Enhance the Quality of Services What do we mean by modifying policies to enhance the quality of services? • Using licensure and certification or other measures to ensure that the people offering the services are competent. • Using licensure and certification or other measures to ensure that the facilities offering services, or where services are provided, meet basic physical and practice standards. • Requiring individuals, programs, and facilities to follow the ethical rules of their professions, or, if none exist, to employ high ethical standards in their work and in their relationships with other organizations, funders, and the community. What do we mean by modifying policies to enhance the quality of services? • Requiring that programs are aware of and use the best appropriate practices available in delivering services. • Demanding that individuals and programs set or follow and apply appropriate quality standards that both benefit and safeguard those who are affected by the services provided. Why modify policies to enhance the quality of services? You work to modify policy because: • It assures, to the extent possible, a minimum level of quality. • It shows seriousness of purpose, and establishes the issue as one that should be treated seriously. • It demonstrates respect for the target population. • It gives the community confidence that the issue is being handled appropriately. • It lends credibility to both the effort and to the organization(s) providing services. • It can increase the chances that an intervention or service will be effective. Why modify policies to enhance the quality of services? You are careful in modifying policy because: • It assures only a minimum level of quality. • It may filter out imaginative solutions and people with valuable talents and skills. • An emphasis on professionalism may alienate the target population or the community. • Bureaucratic requirements may present barriers to talented individuals and organizations. • Changing policy may not address the problem. Who should work to modify policies to enhance the quality of services? Where possible, forming and/or participating in a broad-based coalition to modify policies is generally most effective. If a coalition isn’t feasible, other possibilities include: • An advocacy organization. • Community based organizations that work with the target population and the issue. • A local initiative including members of the target population. • A local branch of a professional association. When should you try to modify policies to enhance the quality of services? • Before services begin, to ensure best practices and best quality. • At the beginning of a new service period or funding cycle. • When services prove unsatisfactory. • When regular assessment and reporting shows little or no progress on a particular issue. • When new possibilities or information become available. • When public opinion demands it. How do you modify policies to enhance the quality of services? • Decide whether modifying policy is the appropriate course of action. • Determine what kind of policy modification needs to take place. • Develop new or revised requirements or standards, if necessary. • Advocate for the proposed modifications. • Even after policies are changed, continue to monitor the situation forever.
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