The Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) provides a framework and guide for the development and management of quality services. Management of quality is an integral part of the work of organisations that provide human services as they change and adapt in response to external pressures, as customer needs change and to improve outcomes for customers. Many service providers have already undertaken formal quality improvement and certification programs and some are beginning their quality improvement endeavours for the first time.
The HSQF provides a formal quality improvement framework against which service providers can measure themselves and make improvements to ensure a consistent level of quality service delivery, effective operations and positive outcomes for customers. Community benefits from the adoption of the framework include a consistent level of service quality and public confidence in HSQF compliant providers. The HSQF has a strong focus on continuous improvement of human services through a streamlined customer focused accountability process.
Quality is often described as a measure of excellence, meeting particular requirements or standards, or the sum of features and characteristics that meet and even exceed the needs of customers. For providers of human services in disability, child safety, senior and young people services, quality means accessible and appropriate services with strong customer outcomes, skilled and responsive staff, good governance, and high levels of customer satisfaction.
Quality management is the service provider’s processes for maintaining and improving quality levels of service delivery and operations, with the intent of providing the best possible experience and outcomes for customer and stakeholders, as well as for staff and governing body members.
The primary benefit of effective quality management is its contribution to achieving best possible outcomes for customers by driving improvements in service provision. A quality system provides a way of coordinating and focussing service evaluation and improvement, ensuring that problems with service delivery are identified and addressed, that the service meets external standards of good practice and that there is a process for working towards excellence.
A quality system is simply the way that various quality management processes are set up and linked together so that they support one another. The foundations of a quality management system are:
- Customer engagement: Review of customer and stakeholder feedback forms the central part of any quality system, and customer engagement strategies should be embedded throughout the service. Refer to Customer Engagement Information Sheet
- Policies and procedures: Policies and procedures provide essential guidance to the governing body and staff in consistent and good practice. Refer to Policies and Procedures Information Sheet
- Accountability for quality management: Roles and responsibilities for quality management need to be defined, assigned and monitored. Refer to Quality Roles and Responsibilities Information Sheet
- Records and reporting: Records need to be kept that can provide information for monitoring the performance and quality of service, and for demonstrating quality internally and externally. Refer to Quality Records and Reporting Information Sheet.
Keep it simple Practical tip:
- Managing quality need not be complex – keep to the basics
- Keep it in scale with the size and complexity of the service provider organisation
- Use systems and processes already in place –use what you have and look at what improvements are needed to meet standards
- Keep it manageable by planning out steps in advance and working within available resources
Information Sheet Links:
- Quality Management
- Establishing a Quality System
- Customer Engagement
- Policies and Procedures
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Records and Reporting
Policy and procedure templates