Seeing as we are all on the way to getting our heads around the change of business models under the NDIS, it is time to really nut out quality. This is the BA3 breakdown of the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Framework.
The transition from government block funding also brings a transition in how quality and safeguarding is measured and implemented. As the NDIS rolls out and the funded services that were deemed high quality by the Government change, so does the way we look at quality.
So let's get to it- we promise to keep it simple.
What is the change to quality under the NDIS?
With choice at the centre of the new way and a whole new open marketplace, we need to let go of the idea that previous measures will safeguard people and communities. We need to understand that these historic measures are not necessarily the main drivers to families choosing a provider. As we move forward, we need to look outside of the box, to other sectors about how people determine what is quality, what is safeguarding and who has responsibility in this new world.
What are we balancing and why?
There are three parts to the BA3 Quality triangle (pictured below) and these parts have core components that need to be balanced:
Empowered individuals equipped with choice and control over their lives.
A thriving, innovative sector with dynamic and human centered services.
A Government with a clear understanding of accountability, regulatory and quality systems.
Information is knowledge. Knowledge is Power. Participants need to be informed on how the NDIS works, what their rights are and who to talk to if services they receive are not up to scratch. Information should be accessible, jargon free, culturally appropriate, comprehensive and reliable. A hallmark of the NDIS is the universal recognition of participants’ capacity to make decisions. However people need to be supported to take informed risks to improve the quality of their lives.
A Thriving Sector:
A thriving sector is vital to the support of NDIS participants. A thriving sector needs a safe, , qualified and committed workforce. The importance of the appropriate skills and various screening mechanisms is crucial - however to be truly innovative the workforce have to design their services with a foundation in human rights and an intent to meet client needs.
Government Quality Standards:
Government standards are fundamental, but they can't be too definitive that they limit choice and control or harness innovation and growth in the sector. The government needs to be both preventative and responsive to compliance, assumed risk and capacity, accountability and conduct. This needs to be nationally consistent and robust enough to protect individuals and communities but also flexible enough to support the differing ability and capacity across communities and the sector.
So where do we start?
Firstly, start simple. What is quality? Quality is a nebulous term that means different things to different people. How a child defines a quality service could be different from how a family defines a quality service to how a practitioner and finally the organisation.
To remain consistent in the services organisations provide there has to be a common thread among these definitions or there is a danger of providing a service that might be functionally appropriate but misses the mark experientially.
Some things to consider:
Work with your team to build a quality and safeguarding toolkit that is responsive to capturing regular and detailed data.
Are there tools being used with children to measure a child's experience and engagement with the service provided?
What are the tools being used to capture how families measure quality? Are these responsive to the diverse backgrounds of clients and provided in different modes?
If you asked your families what ‘best practice’ was, what would they say? If best practice determines quality for the practitioner, what determines quality for the family?
How are you capturing the experience, practice and values of staff in the organisation? In human services, experiences with staff impact significantly on the perception of quality for the clients.
How are you gathering data as a practitioner and service on quality? Does this look at granular levels such as phone conversations, signage and reputation to higher levels such as recruitment and complaints?
Are you across other platforms and spaces where families are talking about quality