Australian Service Excellence Standards accreditation for homelessness providers
Last published 18 Mar 2021
From 30 June 2024, all DCJ-funded NSW homelessness providers will hold a minimum of certificate level accreditation against the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) or the equivalent QIC Health and Community Standards (QIC).
The ASES Policy Framework: Implementing a new quality framework for specialist homelessness services in NSW (update coming soon) outlines the policy intent, contractual requirement and high level process for funded homelessness services to achieve accreditation by 30 June 2024.
Who/Which providers need to become accredited?
All providers contracted to deliver services under DCJ homelessness programs are required to be accredited at the ASES Certificate level or with the QIC standard by 30 June 2024.
This applies to the contracts of the following programs from 1 July 2021:
- Specialist Homelessness Services Program (SHS)
- Domestic Violence Response Enhancement (DVRE)
- Homeless Youth Assistance Program (HYAP), including HYAP Early Release
- Other ongoing programs funded by DCJ to deliver services to people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
This requirement also applies to organisations who are subcontracted to deliver these programs by a lead contractor.
When should providers start the accreditation process?
DCJ requires providers to have met all requirements for accreditation by 30 June 2024.
DCJ encourages providers to start the process now, as it can take as long as two years to complete the self-assessment and be ready for external review.
As at 30 June 2022, 32 per cent of providers had achieved accreditation, which is slightly below the target of 40 per cent.
Please keep in mind that there are a limited number of accreditation bodies. If organisations don’t book in with their preferred assessor early they might not be able to complete the external review within DCJ timeframes.
Fig 1: Expected timelines for homelessness providers to achieve accreditation
How often is accreditation required?
Accreditation is required to be maintained every three years.
In recognition of the impact on the homelessness sector in maintaining the delivery of essential services during COVID-19, the date by which all providers must achieve their ASES (or equivalent QIC Health and Community Standards) accreditation has been extended to 30 June 2024.
Organisations accredited before 30 June 2021 will need to undergo another round of accreditation before 2024.
How long will the accreditation process take to complete?
The time it takes will vary between organisations, based on their prior experience with accreditation. However, as a guide, the self-assessment process and collating the required evidence will take around 12-18 months to complete. If a quality improvement plan is needed after the external assessment (on site review), organisations will have up to 6 months to complete the actions required prior to achieving accreditation.
The main steps and average timeframes involved to achieve accreditation are as follows:
- Self-assessment and evidence preparation (12-18 months)
- Site visit with assessor (external review) (2-3 days)
- Complete Quality Action Plan (ASES) or Quality Improvement Plan (QIC) (6 months)
Who conducts the external review?
For those undertaking ASES
There are nine assessment bodies certified to accredit against ASES, each certified for other accreditations and with different cost structures and office locations. Providers should contact assessors directly to discuss their accreditation needs. Contact details are available on the ASES website.
The Department of Human Services South Australia (the ASES owners) has produced the How to choose an ASES external assessor guide to help organisations know what to consider when choosing an external assessor.
South Australia has also produced A guide to ASES sampling and scope of assessment so service providers have a better understanding of:
- who in the organisation might need to speak with the assessor during the external review
- which aspects of accreditation they will likely be discussing.
For those undertaking QIC
Quality Innovation Performance Limited (QIP) developed and is the exclusive provider of the QIC Standards. QIP is a not-for-profit accreditation organisation that is part of the Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) Group of Companies.
Who pays the accreditation costs?
For existing homelessness providers with less than $5m in total annual revenue undertaking ASES – ASES Support Grant
DCJ has made a commitment to subsidise the ASES accreditation costs for existing homelessness providers with less than $5m in total annual revenue to gain accreditation the first time. This support is available to lead providers and their subcontractors. Subsequent rounds of accreditation will be the responsibility of these organisations.
Funding of $16,000 per organisation is now available through the ASES Support Grant.
The Industry Partnership has been engaged by DCJ to administer the ASES Support Grant and to provide tailored support to organisations. For more information, please visit the Industry Partnership website or contact the Industry Partnership at ASESsupport@homelessnessnsw.org.au or (02) 8354 7620.
For existing homelessness providers with more than $5m in total annual revenue or undertaking QIC
Providers with more than $5m in total annual revenue or providers undertaking the QIC will be required to pay the assessor’s costs themselves.
For prospective Core and Cluster Providers seeking support for accreditation costs
Please refer to the Core and Cluster Sector Capacity and Capability Building Program for more information on support with the costs of accreditation.
How to get started
The first few steps are to:
- Visit the Industry Partnership website to view uploaded resources developed specifically to support homelessness providers to achieve ASES accreditation or visit the QIP website to learn more about QIC accreditation.
- Decide when the external assessment and site visit will take place for your organisation. It is recommended that the site visit occurs no later than October 2023.
- Decide which accreditation program and assessor your organisation will use.
- Select an accreditation program/assessor and sign a service agreement. The service agreement will include the dates of your site visit.
Some things to note when planning when your assessment:
- Site visits generally take 2-3 days to complete depending on the size of the organisation.
- It is recommended that organisations finalise their assessment by early 2024 and send their ASES (or equivalent QIC Health and Community Standards) accreditation certificate and report to DCJ via the SHSProgram@facs.nsw.gov.au mailbox by 30 April 2024, to allow enough time to meet DCJ timeframes
Tools and resources to support providers
For providers undertaking the ASES
The Industry Partnership has been engaged by DCJ to administer a range of supports to help homelessness providers achieve ASES accreditation including:
How this can help you
To access this support
ASES Evidence Guide and workbook
These guides help providers know exactly what type of evidence to submit against each Standard for both the Certificate and Award level of ASES.
Request the evidence guide and workbook using the link below. Electronic copies will be emailed to the address provided.
How to guides – steps to the ASES process
Eight handy guides have been designed to break down each step of the ASES process to make planning easier.
‘ASES to Greatness’ – unpacking the standards tutorial videos.
This series of tutorial videos provide guidance on what each of the standards is asking for.
(Launching January 2023)
One-to-One ASES Strategy Sessions
These personalised sessions give you access to an ASES specialist. The sessions are designed to set organisations up with tools to begin the ASES work or unpack areas that are needing more insight to prepare for the ASES assessment.
These sessions are by appointment only and are offered based on organisational needs
To learn more please contact the Industry Partnership team at
ASES Support Grant
The grant provides one-off financial support, of up to $16,000, to homelessness service providers with under $5m revenue, undergoing ASES for the first time.
‘ASES to Greatness’ Podcast - Peer Support
In this podcast series covers interviews with NSW homelessness services who have recently achieved their ASES accreditation for the first time.
Service managers and project leads share their experiences.
South Australian based ASES accredited homelessness providers offer one-on-one guidance, support, and advice to a provider undertaking accreditation
Breaking New Ground Service Provider Portal (BNG SPP)
DCJ will continue to subsidise access to the BNG SPP for providers with less than $5m in annual revenue. Many providers have used the portal to conduct the self-assessments against the SHS Standards.
Funded subscriptions are available by emailing a request to:
For providers undertaking QIC
Providers who choose to be accredited with QIC will have access to the following supports as a part of their service agreement with QIP:
- a dedicated Client Liaison Officer
- access to the online QIP accreditation hub which includes a self-assessment tool
- education and resource library containing useful documents, interpretive guides, customisable templates, fact sheets, checklists
- QIP communications with industry and organisational news, helpful tips and standards information
- marketing collateral to support self-assessment and promoting accredited status including a framed A3 certificate, display stickers, customisable media release and digital files.
To access these supports, providers can contact QIP at email@example.com or 1300 888 329.
For prospective Core and Cluster Providers seeking accreditation support
Please refer to the Core and Cluster Sector Capacity and Capability Building Program for more information on support to achieve accreditation.
Where can I get more information?
- ASES Policy Framework: Implementing a new quality framework for specialist homelessness services in NSW (update coming soon)
- ASES website
- DCJ website
- QIP website
- NSW Homelessness Industry Partnership website
- ASES Evidence Guides: available in the BNG portal reading room or by request from the Industry Partnership
We will continue to provide new information here as it becomes available so be sure to check back regularly.
If you have questions or comments, please email SHSProgram@facs.nsw.gov.au.