We are so delighted that after all of our hard work Apax has succeeded in achieving a level B in the national quality standard for performance for supporting people and supported housing called QAF (Quality Assessment Framework) which was validated by Sitra who are the custodians of the Supporting People QAF, and as such are an appropriate body to undertake external quality validation against a recognised framework. What this means to stakeholders, especially referring agents, is that they can rest assured and have the piece of mind knowing that support and services provided to residents is of the highest quality and standard.
Working over the last twelve months to assess the quality of our services promoting the independence and inclusion of people with mental health issues, Apax has been recognised as providing a standard of service which exceeds statutory requirements to embrace good practice pushing itself to continuously improve quality. The assessment recognised Apax’s commitment to individual support and determination to continue raising our standards.
Philippa Thomas of Sitra, who conducted the validation said:
“Apax’s commitment to service quality and continuous improvement is clear and your plans to strengthen this further should place the organisation in a good position to be able to evidence performance at Level A in the future. It is clear that the organisation is on a journey towards excellence. In particular, embedding your resident involvement strategy and further work by the Quality Review Group will be very useful to achieving Level A.”
The Sitra report went on to say:
“Apax is a relatively young social enterprise organisation with a clear commitment to quality and continuous improvement in its delivery of supported accommodation to enable the independence and inclusion of people with mental health issues. The organisation is not contractually subject to any particular form of quality regime, but has chosen to follow and be assessed under the Supporting People QAF. It has undertaken a significant body of work in doing so, including consultation with residents and stakeholders, and has achieved a good standard of quality across the framework in a short space of time. The attention to individual support is particularly striking. Apax has ambitious but achievable plans to further increase the extent of resident involvement generally and specifically in its quality and continuous improvement activities, especially through planned membership of the recently constituted Quality Review Group, in which residents, managers and an external consultant will jointly analyse a range of performance information and agree and monitor improvement actions. This will include the involvement of residents in the annual review and monitoring of policies and procedures. This is very good practice which is scheduled for implementation within the coming year. It is very much expected to assist the organisation on its journey towards excellence and validation at Level A.”
What is the QAF?
Supported housing providers self assess on the Quality Assessment Framework (QAF) when their services were reviewed. The QAF is a tool to assess the quality of a service and to continually improve services. The QAF is one of several tools that were produced by to help providers to implement the quality and monitoring requirements of Supporting People.
- The QAF consists of a set of nationally defined standards designed to ensure high quality services along with guidance on how to use it.
- The QAF provides a standardised means for administering authorities to assess the quality of services.
- The QAF gives provider organisations a framework for reviewing the services they operate.
There are 6 core service objectives:
- Needs & risk assessment
- Support planning
- Security, health & safety
- Protection from abuse
- Fair access, diversity & inclusion
Performance is assessed by means of examining evidence of the ways in which services are provided and then awarding a performance level against each of the core objectives and any agreed supplementary objectives. There are three main possible levels:
- denotes excellence and is associated with service providers striving to be leaders in their field. These services incorporate mechanisms for delivering continuous improvement.
- denotes good practice and services at this level should be working towards achieving level A.
- means that the service meets the required minimum standard but there is scope for improvement.
Who is Sitra?
Sitra is the umbrella organisation for 450 organisations nationally to raise standards in the housing, care and support sector. Its expertise in the field has been recognised and consulted by government departments and local authorities, as well as a host of other bodies, for its expertise in housing, health and social care. Aiming to provide leadership and support in order to promote best practice and positive outcomes for both providers and their residents, Sitra’s Quality Assessment Framework (QAF) for supporting people provides a benchmark for professional excellence.