Welcome to NDIS Quality in Practice: Frontline Management.
As frontline managers, you probably agree with the NDIS objectives — safety, dignity and choice and control — and are interested in practical strategies to meet those objectives. This course shows how Quality Management works with you to achieve your goals, provides the strategies you need or helps you create them.
Community sector organisations have used Quality Management for a long time. The sector has developed a range of tools and techniques that are in common use. Organisations adapt these techniques to suit their needs and circumstances, leading to a variety of understandings and approaches.
Adaptations work best if, firstly, organisations understand the established techniques and the reasons for using them. That’s our starting point too. Secondly, they must take direction from the NDIS Practice Standards, which is the main document used to audit NDIS providers. Thirdly, they need to be based on best practice and recognise the expertise and qualities workers can bring to service delivery. So we rely on the NDIS Worker Capability Framework. Neither the Practice Standards nor the Capability Framework are how-to guides, so we’ll show how they relate to the Quality processes and how the three elements complement each other.
The NDIS Practice Standards set out the NDIS objectives, including participant safety, dignity, choice and control. The Standards contain 24 images of service delivery outcomes (in the Core Module). Each outcome is then divided into quality indicators, which describe the objectives in more specific detail. In total, the Core Module contains 24 outcomes and 124 indicators. NIDS providers must model their services on the indicator images.
Most of the indicators relate to services and the service-delivery environment. Which means that frontline managers should be able to apply Quality Management techniques in their areas. Unfortunately, the Standards don’t tell us how to use them.
Released in 2021, the NDIS Worker Capability Framework recognises the qualities and sensitivities that workers, managers and senior managers bring to their work and how complex their work is. Separate sections outline the expectations and qualities necessary for general support, advanced support, ancillary work, frontline management, and senior management.
There are four capabilities for managers and a total of 28 descriptors, which — like the indicators in the Practice Standards — provide greater detail. The Capability Framework deepens the Practice Standards, painting a clearer picture of what the objectives look like in everyday practice. Like the Practice Standards it doesn’t tell us how to use the Quality Management techniques.
We’ll talk about Quality Management as a conversation that helps people think together as an organisation: to plan, to agree on, and to remember strategies for achieving objectives.
Quality Management works best when everyone is included and gets involved. The more people that speak, the more information starts circulating, the more they work together to achieve their goals. If only one person is speaking it’s not a conversation. If people don’t know how to join in, who to speak to, what’s relevant to say: then it’s not much better. And if the conversation doesn’t help people achieve their goals, it’s an empty conversation.
Organisations sometimes see Quality just as compliance. They can develop a ‘compliance mindset’: just do enough to get through the external audit! It’s understandable but creates a cycle of problems. Perhaps the biggest problem is that the organisation stops thinking as a team and communication breaks down. Information doesn’t circulate unless it’s useful for the audit. A culture of Quality includes everyone in the conversation, values what they can contribute, and creates a healthy cycle.
The day-to-day Quality culture is driven by objectives, strategies to achieve those objectives, and processes that implement those strategies. The processes — forms, checklists, and reviews — are part of the conversation, turning experience and expertise into data that can be of benefit elsewhere. They should be of practical value to your work, to someone else’s work or to participants’ service experience. And they should make the work more rewarding.
Frontline managers are at the centre of the conversation. They are perfectly placed to engage workers, gather data, implement and monitor initiatives. The Capability Framework and Practice Standards both suggest that managers should know how the system works and use Quality processes and techniques in their own area.
NDIS Quality in Practice helps make sense of Quality Management so you can join the conversation.
The coursehas seven lesson modules, each dealing with an aspect of NDIS Quality Management — either a Quality process or an NDIS objective. Together, the modules provide a complete overview of the Quality Management processes used in the community sector.
NDIS Quality in Practice is a step-by-step guide. So, work through the course systematically to avoid missing important concepts and techniques. This course will show you how:
The Course Videos set out the objectives, risks and challenges relevant to the topic and your role as a manager. They introduce the compliance requirements, suggest some strategies, and demonstrate how Quality Management techniques can be used.
The Course Handbook: Designed to serve as a reference, the Course Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to Quality Management techniques relevant to the community sector. It sets out the NDIS requirements relevant to each Quality process, and provides lists compiled from the NDIS Practice Standards, so you won’t be left guessing. You’ll also find:
Projects will help you think about your role in supporting Quality and compliance.
Relevant Descriptors — we’ve identified the NDIS Capability Framework descriptors relevant to each lesson module. Because managers implement initiatives and supervise staff, we’ve included descriptors from the three levels: workers, managers and senior management. The descriptors for workers are for general support work (they don’t include advanced support work or ancillary work).
The On-Line Quizzes will check that you are understanding the content as you move through the course. It’s a simple way to reinforce the information you’ve learned. Even better would be to discuss the topics with others and put the techniques into action.