The National Standards for Disability Service
Quality Assurance at NOVA Employment
NOVA Employment is a QA (Quality Assured) organisation. NOVAs policies, procedures, and supporting documentation are integral to the evidence we provide to meet the QA System Audit.
The QA system monitors and measures a service providers performance against internationally recognised standards. A Quality Assured organisation meets government accountability requirements, and demonstrates a commitment to continuing improvement.
Each service is required to present evidence of meeting the standards to an Accredited Certification Body contracted to the Department of Social Services during regular audits.
The National Standards for Disability Services are a Government initiative designed to improve the quality of services provided to people with a disability and to assist services to meet the principles and objectives of the Disability Services Act, 1986. The implementation of these Standards are seen as one of the key elements in the Quality Assurance System.
The correct acronym for Quality Assurance is DESQA. What is DESQA?
A mouthful. It stands for Disability Employment Service Quality Assurance, but it’s commonly referred to as QA.
What did QA certification involve for NOVA Employment?
During the time NOVA has been in operation, we have experienced considerable growth. At a certain point, we became a large organisation. To ensure consistency of service delivery across all our branches, we saw the necessity of devoting significant energy and time to unifying and streamlining policies, procedures and processes.
When it came to examining whether we met all the quality standards to become Quality Assured, we found that for the most part we were involved in a refining process. We had all the processes and procedures in place, what we needed was physical evidence that could be independently audited. So, we undertook a careful review from the perspective of providing evidence, and made sure the same processes were in place and implemented in all our branches, paying particular attention to all our locations.
NOVA Employment’s QA certification is carried out by BSI. The results of our last QA audit can be viewed here.
What do you see as the benefits of QA for your organisation?
QA is an evidence based system, whereas the old self-assessment system was perhaps more subjective, rather than objective. QA has helped us to think objectively about our service, and focus on ways to improve.
To become QA certified all members of the organisation had to play a role. This helped us become an organisation that values the contribution of each person. Our staff feel empowered by providing input, and we receive valuable feedback and suggestions for revision and improvement from the people doing the job. Everyone wins.
Through QA, we have become an organisation with a high degree of input and consensus from the board, staff, employers, and most importantly, job seekers.
What is meant by the term ‘Continuous Improvement’ and how does it relate to QA?
Continuous improvement is an ethos that involves the on-going review and improvement of service delivery processes. Because of the thoroughness of the QA audit, areas of improvement are first internally identified, and then independently identified, and then acted upon.
What does QA mean for the people who are on the receiving end of your policies and procedures for service delivery of your job seekers?
Three things are immediately obvious. Through QA they are guaranteed a minimum level of service that meets the National Standards for Disability Services.