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Australian Service Excellence Standards accreditation for homelessness providers

From 30 June 2023, all FACS-funded homelessness providers will be accredited against the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) at least to the Certificate level.

This follows the April 2018 decision to adopt the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) accreditation for specialist homelessness service providers in NSW.

What is the ASES?

The ASES is a set of standards and national quality improvement program that aims to assist non-government organisations to improve their business systems, management practices and service delivery. The ASES self-assessment is similar to the current self-assessment against the SHS Standards – in fact, organisations which have fully met the SHS Standards will already have met 86% of the ASES requirements.

Providers will be able to see equivalences between ASES and other accreditations they hold in the Breaking New Ground Service Provider Portal.

While some homelessness providers are already accredited, including against the ASES, for others this will be the first third party review process they’ve been through.

Piloting the process

FACS and the NSW Industry Partnership will work with the sector to build the capacity of organisations to achieve ASES accreditation, beginning with a pilot of the process that is due to begin in October.

The pilot will test all aspects of the accreditation process, with 10 organisations working towards achieving ASES accreditation and testing the usefulness and relevance of existing resources. At the end of the pilot, participants will have their experience turned into a case study that will become a resource for the rest of the sector. Organisations accredited before 30 June 2020 will need to undergo another round of accreditation before 2023.

How often is accreditation required?

Accreditation is required to be maintained every three years. There will be a phased approach to implementing the new quality framework so that smaller providers have adequate time to complete the requirements in order to submit a copy of their accreditation certificate to their FACS contract manager by 31 March 2023.

The pilot will test the process of registering indicative timeframes with FACS in order to manage demand across each contracting period.

How long will the accreditation process take to complete?

The online self-assessment process and collating the required evidence will take around 12 months to complete (up to two years for small providers). If a quality improvement plan is needed, organisations will have up to 6 months to complete the actions required prior to achieving accreditation.

Who conducts the external review?

There are eight 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 on the ASES website.

Who pays accreditation costs?

FACS will subsidise the accreditation costs for providers with less than $5m in annual revenue to gain accreditation the first time. Subsequent rounds of accreditation will be the responsibility of organisations.

FACS will continue to subsidise access to the Breaking New Ground Service Provider Portal for providers with less than $5m in annual revenue. Many providers have used the portal to conduct the self-assessment against the SHS Standards and will find it makes completing the ASES self-assessment easy because it maps to progress against the SHS Standards.

When do providers start ?

It is expected that providers will start the process in 2019/20 after the pilot ends to ensure that external reviewers are available to undertake site visits across the state and confirm the requirements for accreditation have been met by all organisations prior to 30 June 2023.

The expected timelines for homelessness providers to achieve ASES accreditation are as follows. In 2018/19 a pilot will begin to test the process. In 2019/20 providers can start the process. In 2020/21 40% of providers will be accredited. In 2021/22 70% of providers will be accredited. In 2022/23 100% of providers will be accredited.

Fig 1: Expected timelines for homelessness providers to achieve ASES accreditation

Where can I get more information?

We will continue to provide new information here as it becomes available so be sure to check back regularly. We’ll also be providing regular updates in the FACS Partnerships newsletter so you will also receive the latest information straight to your inbox.

If you have questions or comments, please email SHSProgram@facs.nsw.gov.au.

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Last updated: 21 Sep 2018
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