Human Services Quality Framework
The Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) is the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services new quality system for funded service providers. The framework will be implemented from February 2013 to 2015.
The framework was developed and trialled in partnership with the disability and community services sector to reduce duplication and compliance burden for service providers while safeguarding the needs of services users.
The HSQF will deliver significant, measurable benefits for non-government organisations including:
- a clear and consistent framework by which to plan, operate and improve services
- reduction in administrative burden and compliance costs
- holistic external assessment conducted at an organisational level
- flexibility to operate in other areas of human services under a single framework
The framework is underpinned by the first consolidated set of standards for human services in Queensland. The six standards, known as the Human Services Quality Standards (HSQS) will replace the:
- Queensland Disability Service Standards (QDSS)
- Queensland Disability Advocacy Standards (QDAS)
- Standards for Community Services
- Child Safety 11 Minimum Service Standards.
The Community Care Common Standards (HACC) map to the Human Services Quality Standards.
Overview of the HSQF
The HSQF builds on the foundations of the existing quality systems in particular the Disability Sector Quality System (DSQS) and recognises the importance of external assessment, which is independent of government, in promoting robust quality systems.
Under the HSQF, service providers* nominated by the department to comply with the framework will be required to undergo external assessment. This will involve:
- being assessed for conformance against the HSQS by a certification body accredited by Joint Accreditation Scheme of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ)
- being audited at an organisational level across the range of services identified by the department as being in scope for audit
- maintaining conformance against the HSQS over a three year audit cycle, with a mid-term maintenance audit conducted against four of the six standards at 18 months
- activities to promote service user engagement and participation where appropriate
- monitoring and reviewing service provider’s quality systems for effectiveness.
* Note: Refer below for information on Community Care services
This streamlined approach will reduce duplication and administration and compliance costs for service providers and enable organisations which deliver services in multiple regions and/or across multiple service streams to be assessed under a single organisational level audit.
Phase 1 implementation will commence from early 2013 and will focus on the transition of disability service providers and child safety licensed care services to the HSQF. Flexible arrangements will be in place to support service providers to transition to the new framework. These include:
Disability service providers
Changes to the DSQS will commence from 1 February 2013 when the Human Services Quality Standards take effect as the disability service standards. Service providers currently audited against the QDSS or QDAS will then need to transition to the HSQF at a suitable time within their current audit cycle.
To provide sufficient time for service providers to prepare for transition, the department will allow service providers with a scheduled audit before 1 July 2013, the choice to:
- undergo their scheduled audit against the QDSS or QDAS and transition to the HSQF at their next audit; or
- transition to the HSQF.
Service providers with a scheduled audit due after 30 June 2013 will generally be expected to transition to the HSQF at this time.
Service providers are encouraged to speak with their contracted certification body or the department to discuss any circumstances that may impact on transition arrangements.
A Transition to the Human Services quality Framework – Frequently Asked Questions for disability services factsheet has been created to support the transition requirements for disability service providers.
Child safety licensed care services
Licensed care services will transition to the HSQF at a negotiated timeframe, depending on the renewal dates for licences held by the organisation. Unlicensed organisations in the scope of licensing will undertake HSQF certification as negotiated with the department.
Audits under the HSQF will replace the current Independent External Assessment. Care services will still need to be licensed under the Child Protection Act 1999. As service providers delivering licensed care services transition to the HSQF, multiple individual service licences will be replaced by a single organisation level licence.
A Transition to the Human Services quality Framework – Frequently Asked Questions for child safety services factsheet has been created to support the transition requirements for child safety licensed care services.
Multi-regions and multi-stream organisations
For service providers who are currently required to comply with multiple systems (eg disability and child safety licensing) or operate in multiple department regions, the department will negotiate individual arrangements; with alignment to a single audit date across the organisation.
Social inclusion, homelessness and child safety support services
As services are not currently required to comply with a quality system they will have up to two years to implement the HSQF. Service providers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the HSQF resources and tools.
Further advice on transition arrangements and the level of participation of services will be provided in 2013.
Community Care service providers
Service providers contracted to deliver Commonwealth HACC and/or Community Care services will not be required to undergo JAS-ANZ certification. Advice of alternative requirements and arrangements for quality reviews will be provided by Community Care programs in due course.
Tools and resource
(refer to the download panel in the right sidebar)
- Human Services Quality Standards – detailing the six standards and associated indicators
- Human Services Quality Framework – provides an overview of the framework and underlying principles and intended benefits
- User Guide – explains each standard in detail and provides examples of evidence that organisations may use to demonstrate compliance
- Self Assessment Tool – to assist service providers in self-assessing against the standards
- Standard comparison tools – a map of the Human Services Quality Standards against the existing state and national quality standards
- Licensing Companion Guide for child safety licensed care services
- JAS-ANZ HSQF Scheme – auditing guidelines for assessing conformance against the HSQS
- Transition to the Human Services Quality Framework - FAQ for Disability Services
- Transition to the Human Services Quality Framework - FAQ for Child Safety Licensed Care Services
Human Services Quality Framework and Disability Services Quality team on Ph: (07) 3247 3072 or 1800 034 022