Human Services Quality Framework - Answers to frequently asked questions What is the Human Services Quality Framework? The Department of Communities’ Human Services Quality Framework is the first consolidated set of standards to apply across human services in Queensland. The framework: • is focussed on improving services for clients • is based upon continuous improvement • is transparent to clients, service providers, government and the community • places responsibility for meeting service standards with service providers • is robust and enduring, incorporating an ongoing cycle of verification processes • is administratively efficient and cost-effective • clearly defines the role of service providers and government. Why and how was the Human Services Quality Framework developed? The Human Services Quality Framework was developed to: • reduce red tape by allowing organisations funded by the Department of Communities to conform with only one set of quality standards • fulfil the Queensland Compact’s commitment to actively reduce administrative duplication and compliance costs to the community services sector and the department’s commitment in the Regulatory Simplification Plan. The framework was developed in partnership with the community services sector and demonstrates that working together through the Queensland Compact on complex issues delivers better results for all stakeholders. Non government organisations from across Queensland also participated in the trial of the framework and their feedback has informed the final version of the framework and the tools for funded organisations. What does the Human Services Quality Framework contain? The Human Services Quality Framework consists of one set of quality standards, a user guide and resources for funded organisations (including a self assessment tool). There are six quality standards in the framework, these being: • governance and management • service access • responding to individual need • safety, well-being and rights • feedback, complaints and appeals • human resources. When will the Human Services Quality Framework be implemented and how will this occur? The Department of Communities’ Human Services Quality Framework has been endorsed for phased implementation over a three year period from July 2012. As funded organisations are due to renew their quality status, they will be assessed against the Human Services Quality Framework. The department will individually negotiate renewal arrangements with funded organisations who have had to comply with multiple quality frameworks and who, therefore, have multiple renewal dates. The department is currently working on implementation issues such as inclusion criteria, funding arrangements and forms of assessment. Consultation will occur with a sector reference group to inform this process. The outcomes will be communicated to the sector as soon as this is finalised. Does the Human Services Quality Framework contain any new requirements? The Human Services Quality Framework does not contain any new requirements. Organisations, therefore, that have previously been required to comply with one or more of the existing quality frameworks will not have to develop any additional evidence to adopt the framework. What benefits will the Human Services Quality Framework provide for multi streamed non government organisations? Organisations that receive funding from multi service streams within the Department of Communities will receive the following benefits through the implementation of the framework: • one audit, not multiple audits • better ability to consolidate policies and practice • stronger focus on whole of organisation • less time preparing for audits • less money spent on paying for external audits. What benefits will the Human Services Quality Framework provide for single streamed non government organisations? Organisations that receive funding from a single service stream within the Department of Communities will receive the following benefits through the implementation of the framework: • one set of easy to follow quality standards • reduced duplication of evidence and less time reporting • focus on continuous improvement and looking at all feedback provided to funded organisations (not just complaints) • capacity to expand to new areas of service delivery without high compliance costs. What were the outcomes of the trial of the Human Services Quality Framework? The framework was trialled with non government organisations from across Queensland in 2011. The trial consisted of a sample of non government organisations participating in a third party audit assessing their level of compliance with the quality standards contained in the framework. Trial participants were selected to ensure a representative sample of NGOs and included: • small, medium and large organisations • multiple and single service stream providers • organisations located in urban, regional and rural locations • Indigenous and non Indigenous organisations • organisations who are currently included in existing quality systems • organisations who have not had to previously comply with a quality system. The trial identified that: • the HSQF is relevant and provides adequate coverage of all service streams • the HSQF is easy to understand and to apply and promoted a model of continuous improvement • the HSQF reduced duplication for NGOs during audits as information only had to be provided once • the HSQF would significantly reduce NGO staff time during the audit cycle, with participating NGOs on average reporting a reduction of between $10,000- • $30,000 for medium organisations and in excess of $100,000 for large organisations • for NGOs who receive funding from multiple services streams from the department, the HSQF provides them with a holistic view of their organisations’ • approach to quality, rather than a siloed view. Trial participants unanimously supported the introduction of the framework, with the trial auditors stating that the standards were the most effective they had used from across Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand.
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