Spotlight on the National Quality Framework for AOD providers

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment in Australia is provided by a variety of organisations.  Previously, there was no consistent approach to ensure minimum quality standards and continuous quality improvement in the AOD treatment system.  However, in late 2019, the National Quality Framework for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services was endorsed by the Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum.

Governments and peak AOD bodies have worked together to develop the National Quality Framework, a nationally consistent quality benchmark for providers of AOD services. Importantly, the framework includes strong clinical governance requirements.

The framework is an important step in improving the consistency and quality of AOD treatment services across Australia.

What’s the framework all about?

The National Quality Framework aims to achieve positive health outcomes by improving the quality and safety of AOD treatment services for consumers and their families.

The National Quality Framework has nine Guiding Principles:

  • Organisational Governance
  • Clinical Governance
  • Planning and Engagement
  • Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Workforce, Development and Clinical Practice
  • Information systems
  • Compliance
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Health and Safety

These nine guiding principles are articulated with reference to their relevance to the sector.  For example, Planning and Engagement should be informed by what works for the needs of clients, including cultural security requirements, and as part of Collaboration and Partnerships, providers should identify co-occurring issues, such as mental health, physical health, housing and employment, and support clients through referral or collaboration to support these needs.

How do I comply?

There are a number of accepted accreditations available to providers who wish to comply with the National Quality Framework. SPP hosts self-assessments for many of these accreditation standards, including:

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Human Service Standard (WANADA) 
  • Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES)
  • Human Services Quality Framework Queensland (HSQF)
  • ISO9001: Quality Management Systems 
  • National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS)
  • QIC Health and Community Services Standards (QIC)

Governance and monitoring of the National Quality Framework will be conducted via the shared oversight of state and territory governments and the Commonwealth.

Feature standard: WANADA

In 2019, WANADA released its Alcohol and other Drug and Human Services Standard.  Like WANADA’s earlier version of this Standard (the Standard on Culturally Secure Practice), the Alcohol and other Drug and Human Services Standard has a strong focus on culturally responsive and evidence informed ways of working.  It is intended to support and encourage information sharing, mentoring and collaboration across the sector. 

The Alcohol and other Drug and Human Services Standard  is a new addition to our SPP platform and demonstrates an up-to-date and nuanced understanding of cultural competence.  The Standard is flexible enough to be applied by a diverse range of human services.  It is recommended as an excellent benchmarking tool for service providers throughout Australia.

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You can access a range of self-assessments for the National Quality Framework in the SPP platform

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SPP has been a great resource for understanding and mapping Standards, preparing for Audits and also sourcing resources for policy development. I would recommend it to other organisations to complement their quality and compliance work. Information can be easily shared, and evidence gathered to support all work done.
Community mental health service provider, Victoria
I like the speed and ease of SPP, I love how it maps multiple standards. It’s so convenient, I couldn’t imagine the nightmare to do the work manually. The templates are great for gap analysis. SPP resource templates are great for implementing new policies in the office and for what we do day to day.
Large provider of settlement services to immigrants, New South Wales
I have found the SPP system amazing. It provides a structured way to work through the standards and then provide a succinct report on the evidence being provided for a surveyor to view how we meet the standard. I used this in our recent accreditation survey, the auditor was very impressed, AND we are now accredited for ISO 9001. Thanks again. A great system.
Provider of diverse range of health programs, Queensland
We really like SPP. We use the resources in the Reading Room and couldn't have passed our accreditation with flying colours without SPP.
Advocacy, support and education provider, Australian Capital Territory
Everything is going well with SPP. It’s helped us through three lots of accreditation over the past nine months plus some internal auditing, so I’m very glad to have had it to assist us through the processes.
Large regional multi-service provider, Victoria