Human Services Victoria
HDAA Experience with Assessing the HSS
HDAA is one of only a select number of independent review bodies approved to assess services and issue certification to the Department of Health and Human Services Standards (DHHSS, known as the HSS).
HDAA’s network of Assessors in Victoria have worked with service providers state-wide providing assessment and certification to the HSS since their introduction in 2012, and prior to that with the previous Standards (SDSV) since the initial pilot back in 2009.
The HSS program enables the standards and independent review process to be used in three service areas: children, youth and family services, homelessness services and disability services. In addition some disability service providers approved by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services, and who are registered with DHHS, are required to achieve certification to the HSS and a governance standard.
HDAA can offer Human Service organisations a choice of DHHS approved governance standards including:
- National Standards for Disability Service (NSDS – full certification, all Standards); or
- ISO 9001 (full certification, all Standards); or
- National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards (NSQHSS – full certification, all Standards).
What is the HSS?
The aim of the quality program is that assessment will support services to deliver positive outcomes for the Victorian community. The principles of the standards and the review process have been stated by DHHS as:
- Clients should be at the centre of service delivery with their rights promoted and upheld.
- Standard review should help ensure that your policies, processes and systems consider and uphold client rights and needs.
- The assessment process should provide assurance to people accessing services and the community about the quality of the services they will receive.
- The process should be efficient, reduce duplication and provide greater flexibility for the community sector to meet quality assurance obligations.
- The standards should support continuous quality improvement and support the participation of people who access services in quality improvement processes.
The Department of Health and Human Services Standards, known as the Human Services Standards (HSS) were developed in response to an assessment by community organisations that identified that the departments previous approach could be improved and streamlined. The HSS were developed with the aim of reducing the regulatory burden faced by funded organisations by creating a set of standards for use across human services (disability, community and child, youth & family services) and to the improve efficiency of accreditation, monitoring and evaluation processes.
The HSS have been in effect from 1 July 2012 requiring funded organisations in scope (pdf 271 KB) will:
- Be required to be accredited by a department endorsed independent review body once every three years, regardless of the number of departmental programs they are funded to provide.
- Demonstrate compliance with the Department of Human Services Standards and the governance and management standards of an approved independent review body.
The DHHS rules for the HSS require all service providers in scope or seeking certification to provide funded services and maintain registration (disability service providers) must comply with the HSS and a set of governance standards.
The HSS includes the following standards, each with supporting indicators that focus on:
2. Access and engagement.
5. Governance and management – to be chosen by the service and maintained alongside the HSS.
To achieve certification, you need to comply with, and demonstrate evidence of continuous improvement against the HSS and a governance and management standard – Standard 5.
HDAA can offer Human Service organisation a choice of approved governance and management standards that include:
- National Standards for Disability Service (NSDS – full Certification, all Standards); or
- ISO 9001 (full Certification, all Standards); or
- National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards (NSQHSS – full Certification, all Standards).
There are substantial impacts for services between these options and the choice of which set of governance standards is selected should be considered in relation to the unique situation of your service and other accreditation needs you have. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your service’s assessment needs and current certifications to help identify the most beneficial approach to meet the HSS governance requirements.
DHHS has stated that one of the requirements of the program is that organisations complete a self-assessment against the standards. Self-assessment occurs as a component of Certification and Re-Certification assessments.
We have developed a self-assessment that is available on request to help you assess your organisation’s current performance against the HSS and can be provided in a document combining the NSDS with the HSS, or ISO 9001 with HSS as relevant for you.
The HDAA self-assessment can be used to do all of the following:
- Instigate discussions about quality assurance and continuous improvement.
- Document evidence.
- Identify areas where your quality and risk management systems need development.
- Automatically generate and improvement action plan that can be used thereafter to track your progress.
- Identify further action that your organisation may need to take to gather the necessary evidence.
We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how HDAA can assist your service with assessment to the HSS.
Disability Service Providers preparing for the NDIS
The Victorian Government’s approach to prescribing quality and safeguarding requirements for NDIS registration groups is risk-based; and takes account of the context in which support is provided.
Existing Victorian and Commonwealth quality and safeguarding arrangements will apply during the transition to the full implementation of the NDIS by 30 June 2019, or subject to Ministers decisions to implement components of the full-scheme quality and safeguarding framework earlier.
Service providers registering under The Disability Act 2006 (Vic) (the Disability Act) are expected to carry out a self-assessment against standards set by the Minister (the Human Services Standards, gazetted as Department of Health and Human Services Standards) to demonstrate their capacity to meet the appropriate standard of service quality and level of safeguards expected. An independent review to verify their capacity and suitability to deliver services is also required, usually within 12 months of registration.
For details of specialist disability service types, please refer to the Victoria Quality And Safeguards Working Arrangements for Transition.
Preparing for your HSS assessment
Contact us by email or phone 1800 601 696 to discuss your service’s individual needs, relevant transition details and to identify a suitable date with sufficient lead time to feel comfortable and prepare for your service’s transition.
To support your assessment planning, HDAA will provide you with clear information and guidance in regard to the evidence requirements, clarification of the specific time frames to meet your assessment cycle needs and an easy to use, comprehensive self-assessment document and improvement action plan system.
The Key Features of Assessment for Certification
An Assessment for Certification involves two key steps:
Stage 1 – a self-assessment and document review of your quality management system by a HDAA Assessor. A report of the findings of Stage 1 is provided to assist you prepare for Stage 2.
Stage 2 – a visit to your Head Office and to a sample of your sites/locations, meeting with people who use your services, volunteers, staff, management and Board.
Throughout the Assessment we work together with you to provide:
- Access to HDAA’s Program Support team to clarify the requirements of the standards and discuss the assessment or other relevant matters;
- A fully participatory and inclusive approach by our Assessment Teams;
- Experienced and skilled Assessors who have worked with these standards and other human services assessment programs;
- Assessors with relevant disability and child safety services expertise.
What an assessment involves
Key Features of Assessment for initial certification
- Pre-visit co-ordination;
- Pre-review of documentation by Assessment Team;
- Visit by the Assessor/s;
- Post-assessment report development;
- Quality review of assessment reports by an independent Principle Assessor;
- Draft assessment report provided for your feedback;
- Certification panel decision making;
- Final assessment report forwarded to you and the Department of Communities.
Our aim is for your assessment report to provide a blueprint for your ongoing continuous improvement plan. Remember your Assessor is available to discuss your assessment and answer any questions you may have at each step in the process.
Maintenance review (Surveillance Assessment)
Maintenance Review involves working with you to assess your ongoing implementation of the Standards and to determine your progress with your improvement plan. It provides you with assurance on how you are progressing against the standards and your previous Assessment. The frequency of your maintenance assessment/s will be driven by the governance standard you choose (ISO 9001 requires annual assessment and the NSDS and NSQHSS require maintenance assessments at 18 months from your Certification (or re-certification) assessment).
The maintenance assessment includes on-site visits and, at a minimum, ensures:
- That previously identified corrective actions are closed out, as stated in the improvement plan;
- That management review, monitoring and internal assessment processes are functioning effectively;
- The effective interaction between all elements of the quality management system;
- That overall system effectiveness and integrity is maintained in the light of changes in operations;
- That there is demonstrated commitment to maintaining the effectiveness of the system;
- That there is consultation with service users.
The maintenance assessment usually involves:
- Pre-visit co-ordination;
- A review of your service in relation to a sample of standards and the previous Assessment for Certification (or Re-certification);
- Discussions with staff;
- Discussion with you on any improvements;
- Provision of a full Maintenance Assessment Report.
Certification is for a period of three years from the date the Certificate decision is made following the on-site Assessment for Certification visit. Re-certification is required to maintain certification. The re-certification process is assessment to a selection of each of the HSS plus part of your chosen Governance Standard. The Re-certification assessment will be similar to Stage 2 of an Assessment for Certification.
Key features for services and participants of the supportive and development style of assessments with HDAA to the HSS.
DHS Evidence Guide (pdf 1231 KB) to provide indication of what evidence could be considered for each Standard.
DHSS Standards (June 2011) (pdf 1280 KB) shows the background to the DHSS program, each standard and indicator.
Disability Mapping Tool (May 2012) (pdf 454 KB) details how the DHSS map to the SDSV.
Homeless Mapping Tool (May 2012) (pdf 314 KB) details how the DHSS map to the HASS.
Registration Policy Procedures & Forms for Disability Service Providers and Community Services (July 2012) (pdf 592 KB).
Staff & Carer File Audit Tool (March 2015) download from DHHS website. The mandatory tool to be used by assessors during the DHSS.
How to Register with the NDIA for the delivery of specialist disability services in Victoria.
Looking for a Certified Provider?
The Department publishes a list of registered service providers which is available on the Victoria Human Services website.