Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Certification - Quality requirements and resources

This information is provided to assist organisations/providers that are required to demonstrate compliance with HSQF through certification against the Human Services Quality Standards (the standards).

HSQF User Guide - Certification (PDF, 2.2 MB) HSQF User Guide - Certification (RTF, 1.1 MB) Version 4.1 came into effect in August 2017. The guide explains each standard in detail and outlines evidence requirements for different services. HSQF User Guide - Certification Supplement for Mental Health Services funded by Queensland Health (PDF, 586 KB) HSQF User Guide - Certification Supplement for Mental Health Services funded by Queensland Health (RTF, 245 KB) which must be read in conjunction with the User Guide v4.1, was published in October 2018 to assist organisations seeking to extend the scope of their HSQF Certification to include Queensland Health funded mental health services.

Certification generally applies for direct service delivery to vulnerable people. The Human Services Quality Framework (PDF, 1.3 MB) Human Services Quality Framework (RTF, 1 MB) contains further detailed information about the service types that are required to demonstrate compliance through certification.

Certification is granted when an organisation has been assessed by an independent, third-party (known as a certification body) as meeting the standards. Certification indicates that standards are being met and that organisational performance is being enhanced through continuous improvement. Certification occurs over a three-year cycle and incorporates:

  • a certification/recertification audit
  • a mid-term maintenance audit conducted within 18 months of the certification decision.

Certification bodies are accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) which is the government-appointed body for accrediting and monitoring certification bodies and designing certification systems.

Organisations are required to contract a JAS-ANZ accredited certification body to assess their suitability for certification.

Certification bodies conduct audits in-line with the HSQF Scheme Rules. The HSQF Scheme was developed in partnership with JAS-ANZ and a technical committee involving industry, service providers and technical experts.

HSQF audits provide an opportunity for independent auditors to assess whether an organisation has the systems and practices to ensure effective implementation of the standards, which include important safeguards for people using services. Where gaps or areas for improvement are identified, auditors have a range of options to deal with these including raising an observation, non-conformity or major non-conformity. These will be documented in the audit report and any associated corrective action plan. The HSQF Scheme Rules contain further information about these options.

During an audit, if an auditor becomes aware of a serious concern, for example client safety or financial impropriety, they are required to refer the matter as a Notifiable Issue to the department/s for investigation. The HSQF Audits and notifiable issues factsheet (PDF, 530 KB) HSQF Audits and notifiable issues factsheet (RTF, 52 KB) provides further information about how Notifiable Issues are handled.

Organisations can request a copy of the HSQF Scheme Rules (parts 1 and 2) from their certification body or access a copy on the JAS-ANZ website.


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Updated HSQF Resources

Version 4.1 was released in August 2017.

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