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.

Sign up for a free trial

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