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L.I.S.A Inc
 
LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
Find What You Need
 
Individual Support Packages and Independent Accreditation
Those with individual support packages need independent accreditation
to help them make a valued judgement on service provider competency

The intention of ISP funded services is to allow the consumer choice of service provider. ISP funding is in-the-pocket of the consumer, rather than bulk funding being in-the-pocket of the service provider.

With the consumer in the driving seat, holding the purse-strings, they need a measure of each service providers bona-fides. This should be achieved through the independent accreditation process introduced by the DHS and defined in their Quality Framework (3.3 Independent Quality Monitoring, pg 7), to look at the service level and quality provided by CSOs An 'ACCC', 'Choice', 'Which', if you like. It is interesting to note, there is little talk of the independent accreditation of DHS services.

The department demands that every CSO they fund, engage an endorsed independent review body that best suits their organisation's requirements. Selecting an independent review body that best understands the business of the organisation increases the effectiveness of a review, they say.

CSOs must choose a review body from the departments approved list. They must not source an independent review body outside the following endorsed list:

This information sheet identifies the independent review bodies that the Department of Human Services has endorsed to review department-funded organisations against the Department of Human Services Standards and the review bodys own governance and management standards. DHS funded organisations need to meet the accreditation and/or certification requirements of their chosen review body.

Independent review bodies

The Department of Human Services has endorsed independent review bodies that meet the criteria to provide reviewing services to department-funded organisations that provide children, youth and families, disability services and housing services. Organisations must choose from one of the independent review bodies listed on this information sheet. Organisations cannot source an independent review body outside of this endorsed list. As at 1 June 2012 the endorsed independent review bodies are:
  • Quality Management Services (QMS) Website: www.qms.org.au
  • The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) Website: www.thecouncil.org
  • Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) Website: www.achs.org.au
  • Quality Improvement and Community Services Accreditation Inc. (QICSA) Website: www.qicsa.org.au
  • SAI Global Website: www.saiglobal.com Health and Disability Auditing Australia Website: www.hdaau.com.au
  • Global-Mark Website: www.global-mark.com.au
  • International Standards Certification Website: www.isc-worldwide.com
  • BSI Group Website: www.bsigroup.com.au
  • NCS International Website: www.ncsi.com.au
The first four review bodies above, have signed a Deed of Agreement with DHS, and have provided information to DHS to address DHS requirements, for example sampling methodology. The other review bodies above, are certified as complying with the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) and must meet the requirements of JAS-ANZ HS Scheme (Part 1) and HSV Scheme (Part 4). 

Further information
Organisations need to consider which independent review body best suits their organisational requirements, aims and objectives. Selecting an independent review body that best understands the core business of the organisation increases the effectiveness of the review. An information sheet is available from the DHS website about the kinds of questions an organisation should consider.

The department tells the CSOs:
.Start to look for an independent review body as soon as possible taking into consideration any registration requirements under the Children Youth and Family Act 2005 and the Disability Act 2006, current certification/accreditation expiry dates and the date of your organisation's last external review. Approach more than one independent review body as part of your selection process, like you would with other suppliers.
Research the independent review body's website to review the scope of their work and other systems they are accredited against.
Consider what is important for your organisation and develop questions to gain further information when interviewing prospective independent review bodies.
.Make sure that the independent review body understands the work your organisation does and what the reviewing requirements are.
.Ask the independent review body for a sample report. Review the report format and determine whether it can assist you in your future quality planning.
.Request references and talk to other organisations that have undertaken an audit with, or have engaged, the independent review body.
.After interviewing the potential independent review bodies, consider each of their strengths, weaknesses, technical expertise and cost effectiveness. Also consider the support they are able to provide throughout the process to assist you to meet the registration and accreditation/certification expiry requirements.
.Does the independent review body have experience assessing similar organisations? Does the independent review body have the skills and experience to meet the requirements of your service users and staff? What attributes do you require?
.Ask the independent review body about the governance and management standards, the organisational self assessment and mid cycle review processes.
.What is the pre audit process and does the independent review body provide ongoing support and training?
.What other tools can they provide?
.What is the process for us if non conformities are identified?
.Does the independent review body appear to be an organisation you could develop a strong working relationship with? What are the options for having your existing accreditation(s) certification(s) recognised during this audit?
.What is the total cost of the audit including potential travel and accommodation costs and are there any extra costs (e.g. specialist team members)?
.What is included in the total package?
.Ensure that all terms and conditions are fully stated with the quote in a written format.
.What is the likely audit duration and how will that fit your schedule?
.What are the key roles their key personnel play during the audit? What is required of our staff during the audit?
.Do you require an independent review body with technical expertise (e.g. interviewing people with complex needs)?
.What can they offer to support this? What processes does the independent review body have in place to involve and interview service users?
.What is the grievance procedure should there be a dispute any time during or after the audit?
.How long will it take to receive the review report?
.Is there a 'right of reply' period once you have received the review report?
.The endorsed panel of independent review bodies allows organisations greater selection of providers. An organisation may wish to consider a completely new provider that is better suited to undertake an integrated review.
.If your organisation has other standards it is audited against, such as Commonwealth Standards, you may wish to combine audits across the whole organisation.
.You may be required to start afresh and look at all organisational business that needs to be audited to decide on the most suitable independent review body.
.Even if you change providers, it is important that your organisation keep up todate with quality documentation as the new independent review body will want to sight this content.
.Which review methodology best suits the business needs of all program areas that your organisation is funded for?
.Does the independent review body have the ability to complete more than one quality assessment at the same time? For example, can they audit against the Commonwealth's disability employment standards and the Department of Human Services Standards at the same time?
.Have they had experience in working with organisations of your size and type?
.What qualifications and technical expertise do you require of the independent review body to cover all aspects of your business?

The departments extensive defence against independent accreditation outcome exposure at VCAT, provides CSOs with the comfort that if they comply with department rules, the department will protect them from release of the outcomes - the findings of the 'independent review' of their services to people with a disability, their family, and the public, of that which various services may be compared.

The department won the right at VCAT, against LISA Inc., to protect their funded service providers, CSOs, from release of the outcomes, the findings of the independent accreditation of their services by the above mentioned review bodies.

Captive market, bulk funded, services, those we mainly have at present, equals little reason for customers or customer service.

The department, DHS Victoria, is the most classic captive market service provider. They demonstrate very clearly, the consumer is not at the centre of service provision - their management and staff are. Bulk funded consumers are welcome to step-out of a service, as the department has its DSR to ensure they have no choice if they do.

Most bulk funded services for the vulnerable members of our community remain behind very covert defence barriers better than the green zone in Baghdad. Certainly, very far from the NDS proposals of:
1. People with disabilities, their caring families and supporters at the centre of service delivery.
2. Achieving a sustainable, integrated and equally regulated disability service system
3. High performing organisations achieving real [and transparent] outcomes for people with a disability. 

LISA Inc   ~   Phone: 03 9434 3810   ~   Email: vk3qq@optusnet.com.au   ~   Address: 73 Nepean Street Watsonia VIC 3087

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