Quality Assurance for Employment Services

Key points about the quality assurance system

  1. The quality assurance system applies to all Australian Government funded Australian Disability Enterprises and Disability Employment Services.
  2. It involves independent assessments to certify they comply with the National Standards for Disability Services.
  3. Third party certification bodies undertake the certification audits.
  4. Certification bodies are accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). Accreditation requirements are contained in Human Services Part 1 - Common Requirements and Human Services Part 3 - Disability Employment and Enterprise Services (DEES) Scheme.
  5. The quality assurance system has been designed to ensure people with disability are involved with all aspects and stages of the process.
  6. The role of government is to develop policy and provide support and resources to help services gain certification and pursue continuous improvement.
  7. New services need to register their intention to seek certification prior to seeking approval for funding and have 12 months to gain certification from the date funding is approved.
  8. Under the Disability Services Act 1986, a service that loses its certification and funding needs to regain certification before funding is considered.
  9. Certified services receive a Certificate of Compliance that is recognised by the Australian Government as verification that the organisation is delivering services in line with the National Standards for Disability Services.
  10. Within 12 and 24 months of certification, certified services participate in a surveillance audit conducted by their chosen certification body. Then 36 months after certification, services participate in a full recertification audit.

Step-by-step guide to National Standards for Disability Services certification audits

This is a summary of the steps involved, timeframes and actions required for achieving certification.

Step Timeframe Milestones/Notes Resources

1. Submit a Notice of Intention to Obtain a Certificate of Compliance against the National Standards for Disability Services (NSDS)

Prior to funding approval

This step is only for new organisations that do not hold a certificate of compliance against the National Standards for Disability Services

Submit NoI to Department for Approval

Notice of Intention (NoI)

2. Start the process

No later than one month after funding is approved

Review your organisation’s structure, policy and procedures
Review contractual requirements

National Standards for Disability Services – Self Assessment Worksheets

3. Choose your certification body (CB)

No later than three months after your funding is approved

Select certification body
Negotiate contract

Accredited Certification Bodies

4. Conduct your internal audit

During the first six months after your funding is approved

Internal audit involving jobseekers/workers/service recipients

Supporting Documents for NSDS

5. Prepare your certification audit

On-site dates negotiated with certification body should be no later than six months after your funding is approved

Liaise with CB about audit activities, including sampling
Prepare job seeker/worker/service recipient involvement in audit

 

6. Participate in your certification audit

On-site dates negotiated with CB should be no later than six months after your funding is approved

Assist with streamlining audit activities
Use opportunities to ask questions, make comments on the audit findings in exit meeting

 

7. Take follow-up action if required

Address major nonconformities within three months and nonconformities within six months of assessment if identified.
Decision on certification must be made no later than 12 months after the date on which your funding is approved

Provide feedback to staff, Board, job seekers/workers/service recipients
If nonconformities are identified, undertake corrective action

 

8. Start three-year funding cycle

 

 

 

a) prepare for first surveillance audit

Within 12 months of initial certification audit

Internal audit
Documentation on ongoing corrective action

 

b) prepare for second surveillance audit

Within 24 months of initial certification audit

Internal audit
Documentation on ongoing corrective action

 

c) re-negotiate contract with CB

Between 24 and 36 months of initial certification audit

Review certification body’s cost and quality of its work

 

d)prepare for recertification audit

Within 36 months of initial certification audit

Internal audit
Documentation on ongoing corrective action

 

Diagram 1: The certification process

See table above for description

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