Working for a better future and outcomes for our children
Your HSQF demonstration method based on your funding and service type is ‘self-assessable’
- 21 February 2019
Your HSQF demonstration method based on your funding and service type is ‘self-assessable’:
what does this mean and what are you required to do?
We hope you enjoyed the two previous articles ‘Introduction to the HSQF’ in the August 2018 edition of the QATSICPP newsletter, and ‘You are required to be certified under the Human Services Quality Framework – what happens now?’ published in November 2018.
In this next part of the series, we will be providing information specifically for those organisations that have a demonstration method of ‘Self-Assessable’, what you are required to do, and some tips to help you navigate the process.
Just a reminder that your regional contract management teams, the HSQF team as well as the team at the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) are available to help answer any HSQF specific questions you may have along the way, so make sure you reach out if you would like further support.
What is the self-assessment process
Depending on the amount of funding you receive from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and/or the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (the departments) and the types of services you deliver, you may be required to demonstrate your compliance with the Human Services Quality Framework through a self-assessment process.
This process requires your organisation to complete a Self-Assessment Workbook based on the evidence available against the requirements in the workbook. Your organisation will go through the requirements against the six Human Services Quality Standards, and determine whether each requirement is currently ‘Met’, ‘Partially Met’ or ‘Not Met.’
Timeframes and overview of the self-assessment process
Your organisation will generally have 18 months from when you first receive funding from the department/s to submit your completed self-assessment. You will then be required to provide an update on progress in 12 month’s time, and submit your next self-assessment 18 months later.
Your regional contract officer will be a key contact throughout this process and will help you find information about what the requirements are, to plan timeframes and to review the self-assessment that you submit to them. QCOSS is also able to provide supports during the process, including policy and procedure templates for your organisation to use, as well as opportunities for face-to-face support.
Completing your self-assessment
When you first commence your self-assessment process, we strongly recommend reading through the two guiding documents on our website:
- the Human Services Quality Framework User Guide – Self-Assessable Organisations – this guide explains each standard in detail and outlines evidence requirements for different services; and
- the Guide to Self-Assessment and Continuous Improvement - Self-Assessable Organisations – this document provides information to assist self-assessable only organisations undertake a self-assessment.
These two documents will help guide you through what the requirements are and how you complete your self-assessment workbook.
What happens if you don’t yet fully meet the requirements of the self-assessment
Whilst the self-assessment process helps you review what you have in place to meet the requirements, it is also intended to show you the areas where you have processes that need further development or improvement. Therefore alongside the self-assessment workbook, the other important part of the process is the Continuous Improvement Plan. This plan provides your organisation a structured process for noting which areas need further development, time to implement, the timeframes to achieve this and who will be responsible.
It is important to note that any areas listed as ‘critical safeguards’ within the self-assessment workbook have a shorter timeframe to address any outstanding issues. This is because it is critical for the safety of your clients, your staff, as well as your organisation to make sure those processes are in place and working as soon as possible.
Submitting your self-assessment
You are required to submit your self-assessment workbook and continuous improvement plan to your regional contract officer by the due dates advised to you.
Once it has been received, the regional contract officer will check it for completeness against the requirements using a Self-Assessment Review Tool. This tool has been developed directly in line with the self-assessment workbook your organisation completes, and helps the regional contract officer determine against each requirement whether your organisation has provided sufficient information to show the requirement has been addressed within your organisation. They will also check your continuous improvement plan to confirm the planned actions for any areas not yet fully met are reasonable and meet timeframes.
Please note: the self-assessment process does not require you to send in any policies and procedures, but rather, explain through your write-up in the workbook what is in place to meet the requirements. If you are not sure you have all your policies and procedures that you need, QCOSS may be able to provide some assistance.
The regional review of your self-assessment is a collaborative process and in instances where the regional contract officer feels further information is required to support that the requirement is addressed, they will have a conversation with you to go over their findings and to make a plan moving forward.
Tips for completing your self-assessment process
Whilst there are a range of supports available, your organisation is ultimately responsible for driving the self-assessment process and making sure timeframes are adhered to. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Make sure you are using the correct form – there are a number of different self-assessment processes under the HSQF, which serve very different purposes. The form and resources your organisation should be accessing as a self-assessable organisation have green brandingand are located at https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/industry-partners/funding-grants/human-services-quality-framework/self-assessable-quality-requirements-resources .
- There are two different options for completing your self-assessment workbook. You can complete it in Microsoft Word and complete the separate continuous improvement plan, or you can complete it in Microsoft Excel, which has some automation and has a built-in continuous improvement plan.
- Ensure your organisation completes and signs the Declaration of Accountable/Authorised Officer page at the front of the workbook before being submitted, as it cannot be reviewed without this being completed.
- Make sure you have the initial discussion with your regional contract officer to check the due date for submitting your self-assessment, preferably as part of your initial contracting discussions.
- As is the biggest tip noted in the previous articles, we strongly suggest getting started early! This will not only give you time to understand what is required of you, but also to develop any policies and procedures, provide training and record evidence of service delivery to be able to then answer the questions asked through the self-assessment process.
- Keep revisiting your continuous improvement plan and updating it with the actions you are taking against areas not yet fully met. Progress on your plan will need to be submitted to your regional contract officer one year after your self-assessment workbook due date. You may be asked to provide advice earlier around any critical safeguard actions.
- As well as support from your regional contract management team, QCOSS and the HSQF team, you can also find lots of information on the internet – some good places to start include the HSQF site https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/industry-partners/funding-grants/human-services-quality-framework, the QCOSS site https://www.qcoss.org.au/ and Community Door https://communitydoor.org.au/quality-assurance/human-services-quality-framework (which has lots of free templates to use). You can contact QCOSS on 3004 6900 or request support using their Online Referral Form.
Next article – you have existing accreditation under other industry standards or quality systems – can this be recognised as ‘Other Accreditation’ and do you need to do anything else?