There are some important updates regarding FACS' work in the area of Quality. Please refer below to two recent updates on this work from the Industry Partnership:
28 May 2018
As we are sure you are aware, FACS held a series of webinars last week providing an update on the SHS Strategic Directions. Unfortunately, they neglected to provide the dial-in details to the three homelessness peaks to the webinars and so we missed them.
For those of you who were unable to attend – please see the webinar slides.
Given that we weren’t in attendance, we thought that it would be useful to provide an update from our perspective regarding the information canvassed in the presentation.
- Commissioning for Outcomes
The three homelessness peaks have identified and raised concerns with this approach since it was proposed in early 2016. In July 2016 we made a detailed submission to FACS outlining these issues and consequently the timeframes for this project were put on hold. In September 2017 we were advised that this work had been reinstigated and that a Commissioning for Outcomes Roadmap would be submitted to Cabinet for consideration. Again, we made a submission to FACS summarising our concerns and referring to the previous issues identified in the 2016 submission. We have provided you with regular updates on our advocacy in this area throughout this period.
In February 2018 we were advised by FACS that the Roadmap had been approved by Cabinet. We met with FACS in April 2018 where we were provided with a draft discussion paper regarding implementation of the Roadmap. Again, we raised concerns regarding the proposed process including:
- Lack of communication, engagement and consultation with the sector.
- Lack of broader strategic analysis and an absence of outcome measures and approach for the service system as a whole. That is, the Roadmap focuses on the SHS Program in isolation from FACS Housing, CHPs and the broader service system all of which contribute to and are responsible for the key outcomes for clients (ie Housing).
Following this discussion, FACS agreed to revise the draft discussion paper and develop a communication and consultation approach with the SHS sector. We assume that this is what will be discussed at the upcoming Outcomes sessions being held in the FACS Districts. The three homelessness peaks will be represented at these workshops and will also bring along information on the broader sector capacity building Outcomes work that we have been doing via the Homelessness Industry and Workforce Development Strategy.
- Transition to the ASES
Through the Homelessness Industry and Workforce Development Strategy the three homelessness peaks have invested heavily in supporting the SHS sector to meet the Homelessness Quality Assurance System (QAS) and to reduce the administrative burden of the QAS. Undertaking the QAS was a contractual requirement for the SHS Program in the first contracting period (ie 2014 - 2017). This has included:
- Contracting BNG to provide a QAS portal for 97 SHS services to simplify the self assessment process and provide resources to support this process.
- Contracting BNG to undertake an assessment of QAS equivalences with other accreditations and provide a one tick approach that populated the QAS with the other existing accreditations and significantly reduced the self assessment requirements for services with existing accreditation
- Providing access to over 70 service to receive a Guided Self Assessment and feedback on their assessment against the QAS
- Providing access to over 30 services to support the development of Quality Improvement Plans
Feedback from the SHS sector during this process identified issues with the QAS as a non-accredited self assessment process that placed a high level of administrative burden on SHSs with no resulting accreditation. Through the equivalency work with BNG it was identified that the ASES system was (at the time 100%, now 86%) equivalent to the QAS. Since the implementation of the QAS (ie 2015) the three homelessness peaks have been highlighting the issues with the QAS and have been requesting that FACS make a decision to either abandon the QAS or identify an accredited system that was equivalent to the QAS (eg the ASES). SHSs were required to undertake the QAS by 30 June 2017 however FACS provided no guidance around what was required in the current contracting period around what was required re the QAS. Consequently, in July 2017 we agreed to continue to fund the BNG portal for an additional 12 month period so that SHSs had access to their work on this but that we would do no additional work around the QAS without a decision from FACS as to its status. In April 2018 FACS advised us that the QAS would transition to the ASES. We have provided you with regular updates on our advocacy in this area throughout this period.
FACS is responsible for both the QAS and the transition to the ASES and will make all decisions around how the ASES is administered and applied.
The three homelessness peaks will provide advice to FACS during this process – including around the impost, cost and resourcing requirements - and will support the SHS sector to prepare for ASES accreditation and advocate around equivalencies for those who are already accredited – all of this work will be done in consultation with the SHS sector.
We hope that this all makes sense and are very happy to answer any questions on the above. We will continue to advise you on our ongoing advocacy in both of these areas and will continue to develop projects through the Homelessness Industry and Workforce Development Strategy that supports the SHS sector to build its capacity and expertise in these areas.
Moo Baulch (Domestic Violence NSW), Katherine Mckernan (Homelessness NSW), and Zoe Robinson (Yfoundations).
1 June 2018
Many of you have raised issues regarding the statements also made in the webinar about contracting beyond 2020 and the fact that whilst the sector is supportive of no wholesale re-tendering, there are a number of gaps and issues created by GHSH that need addressing and it is disappointing that there won’t be opportunity for this to be reviewed.
I want to reassure you that we have been advocating on this issue as well and will continue to do so. FACS has committed to developing a Continuous Improvement Plan that canvasses these issues and we have been providing strong advice on how this Plan needs to be improved.
It is really important to remember at this point that we are less than a year away from the NSW election. Homelessness NSW will continue to liaise and advocate with FACS on all issues relevant to the homelessness sector, BUT, our main priority between now and next March is garnering commitment from all parties around ending homelessness and providing affordable housing. We are awaiting the State Budget in June before publicly releasing our election platform, but the Homelessness NSW Policy Council has been working on this and, based on feedback from members, has identified three broad election asks:
- Creation of 100,000 affordable rentals by 2030
- A ten year well resourced plan to end homelessness with targets
- Enhancing the SHS service system to address the gaps created by GHSH
We will be working with you from July onwards to finalise these asks and to develop a campaign on this in the lead up to the election. A key part of this will be evidence from the Census data, but also the SHS Program data – by December 2018 we will have 3 years of SHS Program data since GHSH so there is a real opportunity to highlight the demand and lack of housing and crisis accommodation options for people at risk of and experiencing homelessness – and the impact this is having on clients and service providers. This will work under the umbrella of the Everybody’s Home Campaign and again, I would encourage your organisation to sign up if you haven’t already: http://everybodyshome.com.au/org-signup/
Homelessness NSW’s vision is that we will be so successful (!) in this campaigning work that regardless of who is elected – we will have a concrete commitment to addressing the current housing and homelessness issues – and so the discussions post-election will be different to the discussions that are currently being held on the ‘cogs’ of the SHS Program (rather than systemic change that ends homelessness).
So, we will continue to advocate at all levels, but the priority of our (hopeful & positive) energy will be focused on systemic change – and this may be an approach that members want to take as well.
I hope this makes sense and very happy to discuss.