As the leader of a complex, multifaceted and often remote organisation, it can be hard to have confidence in the quality being delivered from every area of your organisation. External audits can provoke a mad panic of reviewing paper based (or excel if you are more sophisticated) internal audit reports to ensure you have everything covered. This pressure is only likely to increase now that the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commissioner has announced at the NDS NSW CEO’s briefing last week that there will be a greater focus from the Commission on implementation rather than just documentation.
How do you know that your frontline teams understand what quality is within your organisation? Do you have real time data to make corrections at the exact point that corrective actions are needed? Can you show continuous improvement in the quality of service that your clients receive?
The NDIS Practice Standards were introduced in 2018. We know they are designed to focus on the NDIS participant experience and to improve the quality of supports and services over time. They are complicated and hard to communicate. The burden on registered Disability Service Providers to undergo an external quality audit at least every three years (and a midterm audit) to confirm that they are operating in accordance with the Practice Standards can be overwhelming, but it is an investment many quality organisations choose to make. If a provider chooses not to be registered, it would still be considered best practice to comply with the Practice Standards.
Five Step Guide to Improve Quality
The stakes for disability service leaders have never been higher. CEOs are being questioned for hours on end at the Disability Royal Commission and whilst we are all appalled by the actions of a few and believe that it would never happen in our organisation, it obviously does. In the Ann Marie Smith case, we have seen that directors are being charged. Both criminally, with criminal neglect causing death and failing to comply with a health and safety duty of care, civilly and through NDIS Quality and Safeguarding sanctions. The only way a director or an executive can be fully confident is to ensure their frontline teams are involved in the ongoing assurance and improvement process
Service providers need to find a happy medium, it’s a balancing act between quality and costs. Providers of NDIS supports incur a range of regulatory and other costs associated with ensuring the quality and safety of supports that they provide for people with disability. The cost of registering with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is only one element. In the recent price guide release, NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2022-23 – effective 1 July 2022, acknowledged these additional costs. Providers will now be receiving an additional 0.75% each billable hour.
For the standard daily living support line, this works out to be almost 43 cents for every billable hour of service they provide. These numbers don’t seem too large but to give an indication of scope, an organisation providing 24/7 service to only one participant, would receive an additional $313 per month. A small to mid-sized provider delivering 5,000 billable hours per month would be receiving an addition $2,150 per month. This is new additional funding that those organisations were not receiving prior to 1 July 2022.
This funding is designed to support organisations to ensure that the supports received by participants are of high quality and safe. It is to address the costs of:
- Provider’s internal assurance to maintain compliance with best practice
- Third-party auditing against Practice Standards
- Reporting and managing serious incidents
- Managing and resolving complaints including those made about the provider to the Commission
To break this down and help you to fill in the gaps here is a case study example:
A small to mid-sized org delivering an average of 5,000 standard billable hours would be getting an additional $25,800 per year that they were not getting previously. This is in addition to the previous 12% overhead allowance that they were already receiving.
Consider the existing internal resources for delivering quality. Then breaking down how they could spend this additional funding to ensure quality outcomes for the participants, could be:
|Approximate annual cost
|The provider’s internal assurance costs to maintain compliance with best practice
|Third-party auditing against practice standards
|External approved quality Auditors
|Reporting and managing serious incidents
|Assumes three investigations per year
|Managing and resolving complaints including those made about the provider to the Commission
|Assumes three investigations per year
This approach will still leave an organisation with $1,800 surplus for managing quality.
By implementing Tendable, you are making an efficient investment in the future quality of your disability service organisation. It will allow you to build:
- An audit programme that reflects your quality priorities
- Real-time reporting on quality results across the whole organisation
- An engaging platform that provides your front-line staff with simple questions that bring the practice standards to life.
Tendable is a flexible tool that supports you to maintain quality practices. You can build everything from a shift hand over checklist, right up to a more complicated internal audit schedule. The real time data alerts will let you know instantly if there is a problem and the beautiful business intelligence tools will allow you to customise reports and export them instantly for your board and other key stakeholders.
By investing now, Tendable can be up and running in a month and you will instantly see more engagement from your frontline team to deliver your overall vision of quality. If you’re still not convinced, please get in contact as we have an audit / inspection productivity calculator. We can use your specific circumstances to work out if this really is an efficient option for you. Over time, incidents and complaints should also reduce, allowing you to further reduce your costly overheads. Now is the time to invest. Use the money you never had to achieve the results you didn’t think possible.
Visit the Supporting Potential website for more information on how we can help you improve quality at your service provider using the Tendable platform