By Alison Chung

‘Taking the time to reflect, self-evaluate and learn from mistakes are the hallmarks of high-performing teams and high performing organisations. We are well on the way to building the foundations for ensuring our practice and services are supported by robust quality and practice frameworks’.

The past 18 months has been about creating a solid foundation for the governance, standards, measures, and implementation of Afford’s approach to quality, safeguarding, practice and service delivery. We have worked hand-in-glove with our Learning & Development team and our Service Delivery team to achieve this. In 13 months we’ve accomplished a huge amount in this space.

We now have a policy for Quality Management and Continuous Improvement

One of the priority items in our policy review and implementation program was establishing a Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Policy and processes. That’s an easy sentence to write, but our policies make things happen. In our Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Policy, we state our commitments to ensuring continuous improvement, which has resulted in action and implementation across Afford.  As our policy states, we have created:

  • Quality governance, systems and services including a robust internal audit program. We track completion of corrective actions to make sure change happens.
  • A compliance culture – at all levels of the organisation.
  • Great preparation for external audits.
  • A comprehensive program of client consultation and have actively sought out client feedback – because we recognise that our clients should always be involved in the decision-making processes that affect them.
  • A public and open feedback and complaints form on our website and a transparent process for managing feedback and complaints. We want to hear from our clients and their families because we recognise the valuable insights this provides about the effectiveness of our services.
  • Quality systems that are efficient, effective, documented and well-understood at all levels of the organisation, and we have set clear expectations by providing accessible policy and procedures to ensure quality is maintained.
  • A learning culture, where all employees – regardless of their role – contribute to the continuous improvement of our service quality and quality management.

We don’t just wait for audits, we self-assess

Of course, we do prepare for audits. Every disability service provider does – but we also undertake a continuous cycle of knowledge and practice checks that provide ongoing assurance. We call this our Quality and Practice Internal Audit (QPIA) program, and it ensures we are meeting industry standards, regulatory compliance requirements and Afford’s own policies and procedures. It provides valuable opportunities for us to identify our areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.

We have rolled out a comprehensive self-assessment program, focusing on one topic each quarter.

The topics of focus for our self-assessment process were identified through Afford’s Audit Plan and include things like the NDIS Code of Conduct, and also Privacy and Consent. This program is ongoing.

We close the loop by sharing all the insights gathered from the team discussions

We have made continuous improvement a strategic focus. We have a dedicated team on quality and continuous improvement

Continuous improvement gets focus – from the level of our Board Directors down to our Team Leaders. It is a strategic, measured focus area for the organisation.

We also have a dedicated team including a Lead on Risk, Quality and Audit; Practice Leads and a Lead on Policy and Compliance. Our Feedback and Complaints are managed through this team.

Our commitment to continuous improvement isn’t just about meeting these standards – the Standards are our baseline. We want to excel. To do that requires sound governance, rigorous measures and reporting functions, and support for continuous improvement from the top down at Afford.


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