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Simplifying Multiple Standards for Not for Profits

27 August 2013 at 10:21 am
Staff Reporter
A new online solution to manage compliance and reporting requirements is set to help organisations adhere to the multitude of standards that currently apply to the community services sector in Australia.

Staff Reporter | 27 August 2013 at 10:21 am


Simplifying Multiple Standards for Not for Profits
27 August 2013 at 10:21 am

A new online solution to manage compliance and reporting requirements is set to help organisations adhere to the multitude of standards that currently apply to the community services sector in Australia.

More than 60 sets of standards apply sector across Australia and more than 500 community services organisations and NGOs have embraced a unique solution that makes the process easier – Standards & Performance Pathways (SPP).

Assessing non-government organisations against quality standards and reporting and ensuring compliance is important to delivering quality services, but the process has proven a daunting task for many organisations.

SPP’s provision of a simple, guided process that can benefit any organisation that needs to meet standards, especially multiple standards.

Users have reported time savings of up to 80% in doing standards work, allowing organisations to use their time to providing services.

Here’s a fun, short animation that explains how the SPP works:

How the SPP works 

The SPP helps organisations complete self-assessment and compliance activities related to service and quality standards, gather evidence electronically and monitor progress against standards.

Specifically designed for the community services and health sectors in Australia, it provides users with:

  • Online guided assessments against the criteria for all components of relevant Australian community services and health standards;

  • Action plans that are automatically generated based on the assessments and requirements for completing compliance –  telling  the organisation what it needs to do to meet the requirement;

  • Guided activities, tools and resources that help the user tick off items on their action plan (and  so reach compliance);

  • An electronic template documenting the actions and resources, enabling  the organisation  to enter information for a quality improvement work plan;

  • Organise the organisation’s documentation with an “evidence pack”. Pre-existing or newly completed documents can be loaded from the organisation’s  system and downloaded to provide evidence of compliance for external assessors;

  • Progress tracking the organisation’s progress in meeting the relevant standards;

  • Multiple standards are a breeze because the SPP cross-references all other core sets of standards. This means when an organisation completes one set of standards, this will automatically register with items in other sets of standards.

Who’s using it?

More than 500 organisations across Australia are currently using the SPP. One community legal centre solicitor said  he “actually enjoyed” doing his centre’s standards work.

A number of other types of organisations can enjoy the benefits of the SPP:

  • Peak bodies use it to provide benefits to members and professional accreditation;

  • Multi-service agencies use it to manage accreditation for individual services, monitor brokerage agencies and work with alliance partners;

  • Government departments use it to manage and monitor standards compliance.

  • Accrediting bodies use it to streamline their accreditation process.

Why was it developed?

BNG NGO Online Services designed the SPP because of concerns about the extraordinary waste of time and energy taken on completing multiple standards assessments and compliance reporting, taking valuable time and resources away from service delivery.  In  2011, BNG NGO completed a national snapshot survey, with the support of key peak bodies, examining the cost and impact of quality service standards for the Not for Profit sector. Some of the key findings included:

  • Regulatory and compliance requirements are  having an unnecessary load on the not-for-profit sector – estimated to be using up to $3.5 million staff hours (nationally) that could be redirected into service delivery, and is estimated to cost government $227 million annually;

  • Over 85% of organisations surveyed were undertaking duplicate multiple standards assessments and compliance reports;

  • Funded NFP/NGOs have to complete cumbersome manual systems for each set of standards;

  • With more than 60 sets of national, state or territory quality service standards applying to funded NFP/NGOs, organisations need a system that builds capacity so that there is a clear relationship between investment (time and dollars) and benefit.

Jane Bradfield & Julie Nyland are Directors of BNG NGO Services Online  and Bradfield Nyland Consulting. Organisations can sign up for a free, two-week trial of the SPP  here.

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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