This week we caught up with Kim Hoskin and Belinda Wakeford of the NSW Regulatory Authority Quality Support Team to find out more about the NSW approach to self-assessment launched in November 2019, and learn about a new working document that supports services to engage with self-assessment and quality improvement planning.
The NSW Regulatory Authority (RA) Quality Support Team are experienced authorised officers who work with services to guide them to prepare for Assessment and Rating. Since November 2019, they have been working with over 500 services to support the unpacking of service strengths from their quality improvement template, the identification of key practices against the elements of the NQS, and exploring how areas of improvement are visible in the service, as part of the NSW ‘self-assessment for quality improvement’ approach.
Self-assessment is not new to the assessment and rating process – it underpins the practices of a service against the NQS, drives continuous improvement, and opens the opportunity for inclusion of family and the community.
“One of the NSW Quality Support Team’s key aims is to simplify the process, by enabling services to share key practices that align with National Quality Standards,” says Belinda Wakeford from the NSW RA Quality Support Team. “This creates a great opportunity to showcase your service’s unique aspects and also provides a level of confidence amongst the service team when undertaking Assessment and Rating.”
According to Belinda, feedback from services who have already engaged with the new opt-in ‘self-assessment for quality improvement’ process has been positive, with educators who engage in this process feeding back that they have felt increasingly confident in knowing what they do and how that aligns with the NQS along with areas identified for improvement.
New working document designed to support services to prepare for A&R and self-assessment, and for planning for continuous quality improvement
Based on feedback from services engaging in this process, the NSW Regulatory Authority (RA) has now developed a new Self Assessment for Quality Improvement working document that replicates their online self-assessment form (which supports the preparation of key practices for Assessment and Rating). This one document also aligns to the National Regulations and National Quality Standard 7.2.1, meeting the requirements of your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP).
The new working document is designed to be used to prepare for Assessment and Rating and support continuous quality improvement. As mentioned above, the resource meets the requirements outlined in Regulation 55 and 56 in relation to Quality Improvement Planning and includes the service philosophy, compliance with National Law and Regulations, key practices against the elements of the NQS, and areas for improvement in each Quality Area.
“We want this to be a user-friendly resource that supports a service’s engagement with self-assessment as an ongoing process to build on fostering quality outcomes for children,” says Kim Hoskin, from the NSW RA Quality Support Team. “Feedback from services who are currently trialling the new working document is being used to fine tune this resource which will soon be readily available for all services on the NSW RA website.”
If you would like to find out more about the Self-Assessment for Quality Improvement – working document, or to be sent a copy, contact the NSW RA Quality Support Team:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 1800 619 113
Some key messages from the NSW RA Quality Support Team:
- Your service’s key practices should reflect what you do at your service.
- When developing your key practice statements, consider how the authorised officer will confirm this practice (will they be able to sight, observe or discuss?). If not, think about how you could reframe this to make your practice visible.
- It’s important that your evidence/practice informs your self-assessment, rather than making an assessment and looking for evidence to support the outcome you’re looking for.
- Self-assessment should be an open, transparent and honest process that clearly reflects the individual service and informs planning for ongoing improvement.
If you are looking to update your quality improvement practices, you may like to attend one of CELA’s two-hour webinars on the topic of self assessment:
Self Assessment part 1 – Implementing the ACECQA Self-assessment tool in the quality improvement process
Self Assessment part 2 – Strategies to turn QIP strengths into visible and evidence based practice