National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) Quality Assurance System
In 2007–08, the Australian Government budget provided funding for the introduction of an independent third-party Quality Assurance (QA) system for advocacy agencies funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP). During 2007 and 2008, and in order to support this process, FaHCSIA undertook two rounds of consultations with funded advocacy agencies to get their views on the appropriateness of the:
- broad definition of advocacy and current descriptions of the six models of advocacy funded under the NDAP
- draft Disability Advocacy Standards and KPIs to the work of advocacy agencies
- approach to introducing specifically tailored evidence guidelines for each of the different models of advocacy (and examples of the types of evidence appropriate to different models of advocacy) and
- objectives and principles for the change process.
The National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) Quality Assurance Consultations Report summarises the outcomes of those consultations.
As a consequence of this consultation process a trial of the new QA system was conducted between November 2009 and July 2010. Following expressions of interest submitted by advocacy agencies, FaHCSIA selected 12 agencies representative of the sector to participate in the trial. An additional 13th agency was included towards the end of the trial to test that the system could work effectively for all advocacy models. Other trial participants included certification bodies, JAS-ANZ personnel and an independent trial evaluator.
The Final Report of the Evaluation of the Trial of the National Disability Advocacy Program Quality Assurance System recommended implementation of the new QA system and a final set of 10 Disability Advocacy Standards and 24 KPIs. It also recommended that a number of practical supports and training should be provided to advocacy agencies, audit team participants, and Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS ANZ) personnel, in the lead up to implementation.
In 2011 the Australian Parliament passed amendments to the Disability Services Act 1986, as part of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (SSOLA Bill), to mandate the introduction of a new QA system. The amendments provided mechanisms independent from government, to assess the compliance of disability advocacy services against the Disability Advocacy Standards. Implementation of the new QA system commenced on 1 July 2012, with every NDAP funded agency being required to achieve a certificate of compliance against the Disability Advocacy Standards by 7 November 2013.
In order to assist NDAP agencies to prepare for the introduction of the new QA system, a number of resources were developed and services established including:
- a new NDAP Quality Toolkit. This practical guide to quality assurance contains information and tools to assist agencies to prepare for certification
- Easy read and Standard read booklets about the quality assurance process, aimed at educating consumers of advocacy services
- two day face-to-face training workshops for advocacy agency staff and other key stakeholders were delivered in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth from April to June 2012
- a help desk to support agencies as they work towards certification, and
- regular newsletters and updates.
During 2011–12 a NDAP Quality Assurance Reference Group, consisting of key stakeholders including advocacy agencies, Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA), audit personnel and JAS ANZ, worked with the Department in developing the required resources and supports for the sector in the lead up to implementation.
Quality Assurance Links and Resources:
- Disability Services Act (1986)
- Disability Services Standards (Advocacy Standards) 2012
- List of Accredited Certification Bodies
- JAS-ANZ Procedures, including Procedure 29
- Quality Toolkit for the National Disability Advocacy Program
- National Disability Advocacy Program and Quality Assurance - How do I know if my disability advocacy agency is doing a good job for me? – easy read booklet
- An audit is happening at my disability advocacy agency….what should I know? – easy read factsheet
- National Disability Advocacy Program and Quality Assurance – Information for consumers – standard read booklet