Quality standards for homeless services
National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF)
The National Homeless Strategy, The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness 2008-2013, provides a commitment to have in place national quality standards in respect of homeless services in Ireland.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has been working on a set of standards, which will inform service users, as to what they can expect of services and provide services with a framework for continuous improvements in their services.
The objectives of the standards are to:
- Promote safe and effective service provision to people experiencing homelessness
- Support the objectives of the National Homeless Policy, i.e. enabling people to move in and sustain housing with appropriate levels of support.
- Establish consistency in how persons experiencing homelessness are responded to across different regions and models of service delivery.
The NQSF will be applicable to all homeless service provision in receipt of section 10 funding, whether the service is statutory, voluntary or private. It will apply to homeless services for single adults, adult couples and for adults with dependent children.
The NQSF has been developed via an extensive consultative process. Expert opinion was provided by a National Advisory Group, comprising of members from Local Authorities, service users, NGOs, as well as Housing and Education providers and Túsla. Extensive feedback was considered from Focus Groups held in locations nationwide-including Limerick, Dublin, Sligo and Cork.
The NQSF adopts the overarching themes used by HIQA. The standards have been developed and informed by drawing from a range of other Frameworks, including QuADs (Quality in Alcohol and Drug Services) and Supporting People-used in Northern Ireland.
The model for the NQSF includes 8 themes under which the standards are organised.
- Themes 1-4 focus on person centred services, which are safe and effective, and support the rights and equal treatment of persons experiencing homelessness.
- Themes 5-8 focus on organisational capability and capacity to deliver high quality services.
- Each theme has an expected outcome and a set of up to 4 quality standards in each theme. There are 27 standards in total.
Each theme consists of a number of standard statements, which describe the high level outcome required to deliver effective homeless services. The features under each standard statement give examples of what the service may consider to reach the standard statement and to achieve the required outcome.
We are currently working on National Quality Standards for homeless services that will be implemented in 2018.
The NQSF is supported by the Quality Improvement and Assessment Workbook. This workbook was devised to support services to implement the Quality Standards. The core aim of the NQSF project is to support a model of continuous quality improvement within homeless services in order to improve outcomes for service users.