Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Implementation progress and updates

April 2019 : Updated HSQF User Guide - Certification

The HSQF User Guide - Certification Version 5.0 (PDF, 1.6 MB) HSQF User Guide - Certification Version 5.0 (RTF, 1.7 MB) was released in April 2019.

The changes incorporated into Version 5.0 are detailed in the Certification Version Control Register and Log of Changes. The Version Control Register and Log of Changes (PDF, 824 KB) Version Control Register and Log of Changes (RTF, 299 KB) will assist in identifying new/amended requirements in the User Guide - Certification V5.0.

Lead time for new requirements

To allow organisations and certification bodies time to understand and implement changed requirements, a lead-in time of three months applies to all new/amended mandatory requirements, except those detailed below:

  • new/amended requirements that relate to legislation already in force - these will take effect immediately
  • Child Protection Placement Services required to implement the Hope and Healing Framework for Residential Care and Minimum Qualifications Standards must have commenced implementaion of these from 1 January 2019.

This means that for audits that occur up to 26 July 2019, auditors have been asked to apply a developmental approach to findings relating to new/amended mandatory requirements, with the exception of the requirements listed above that are for immediate implementation or issues concerning service user safety and wellbeing.

Organisations in-scope of HSQF audits/certification must review the HSQF User Guide - Certification V5.0 and implement new/amended requirements relevant to the services they are delivering in order to demonstrate compliance with the Human Services Quality Standards in audits from 26 July 2019. 

Results of survey on the HSQF

In 2018, a survey of organisations new to the Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) was undertaken to obtain feedback on the effectiveness and implementation of the HSQF and to inform future improvements.

The survey was conducted by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), which partners with HSQF to provide a range of supports to organisations implementing HSQF.

Highlights of the positive feedback provided by organisations, as well as the areas for improvement identified in the survey, are outlined in the HSQF 2018 Organisation Survey Highlights (PDF, 161 KB) HSQF 2018 Organisation Survey Highlights (RTF, 52 KB)

A full report on the survey is available on QCOSS's Community Door.

The HSQF team also obtained feedback on HSQF from certification bodies and departmental contract officers in 2018. All of the feedback provided will be used to improve the Human Services Quality Framework and its implementation.

New version of the Quality Framework

The Human Services Quality Framework (PDF, 1.3 MB) Human Services Quality Framework (RTF, 1 MB) describes how the HSQF applies to in-scope organisations and services.

An updated version 5.0 was released on 1 February 2019. The changes incorporated into V5.0 are described in the Quality Framework - Version Control Register and Log of Changes (PDF, 824 KB) Quality Framework - Version Control Register and Log of Changes (RTF, 299 KB).

The Human Services Quality Framework (PDF, 1.3 MB) Human Services Quality Framework (RTF, 1 MB) Version 5.0 incorporates information about how HSQF applies to mental health services funded by the Queensland Health and supersedes the Human Services Quality Framework Supplement for Mental Health Services funded by Queensland Health, previously available on this website.

Community Services and Child and Family funded services

The second phase of the HSQF roll-out commenced from 1 July 2015 and applies to organisations funded by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (DCDSS) and the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (DCSWY) to deliver community services and child and family support services. Roll out is nearing completion.

Information about the different assessment methods of demonstrating compliance with the HSQF and how they apply to different services is outlined in the Human Services Quality Framework (PDF, 1.3 MB) Human Services Quality Framework (RTF, 1 MB) Version 5.0.

Child Protection Placement Services in-scope of licensing

Providers of placement services required to be licensed, under the Child Protection Act 1999 (PDF), are required to achieve and maintain HSQF certification. The HSQF audit report and outcomes are used by the department of Child Safety, Youth and Women to inform a license application decision.

Once certified under the HSQF, the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women is able to invite the service provider to apply for an organisation care service licence. This licence application will cover all of a service provider's Queensland care services, covered by the HSQF certification, regardless of location or service delivery type.

Further information about the relationship between HSQF and Child Safety Licensing is detailed in the HSQF frequently asked questions - transition for child safety licensed care services (PDF, 400 KB) HSQF frequently asked questions - transition for child safety licensed care services (RTF, 81 KB). For information regarding licensing please refer to Child safety licensing.

Queensland Community Care service providers

To reduce duplication for providers that deliver both disability services and Queensland Community Care services, Queensland Community Care will, as a general rule, accept HSQF certification for disability services as evidence of compliance.

Organisations can also provide relevant current accreditation or certification such as the Home Care Standards (Australian Government), as negotiated with Queensland Community Care.

For further information, please contact the Queensland Community Care Contract Management team on (07) 3109 7003 or email: communitycare-admin@communities.qld.gov.au

Disability service providers and the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring that Queenslanders with disability continue to be protected by a robust quality and safeguards system during transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Australian Government, in partnership with states and territories, has designed a national quality and safeguards framework as part of the NDIS. The national framework will mean that people participating in the NDIS can expect consistent standards and safeguards wherever they live in Australia. Further information about the national quality and safeguarding framework.

Information about the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission which come into take effect in Queensland from 1 July 2019 is available at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website.

NDIS during transition

Queensland's existing quality and safeguards system will apply to all NDIS providers registered to deliver disability services in Queensland that are prescribed in the Disability Services Regulation 2017. The existing system will apply during the transition to the NDIS to June 30 2019.

Registered providers operating in Queensland will need to demonstrate and maintain compliance with the HSQF. Requirements vary depending on the services and support being provided.

Further information can be found on the HSQF NDIS quality assurance requirements for Queensland page. For further information, please contact the HSQF team on (07) 3247 3072, Freecall: 1800 034 022 or via Email: hsqf@communities.qld.gov.au

Women's Shelters

From 1 July 2018, women’s shelters and non-accommodation support services for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence are in-scope of the Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) system for Department of Child Safety Youth and Women (DCSYW) and Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (DCDSS) providers.

Women’s shelters and non-accommodation support services are funded under DCSYW’s Domestic and Family Violence (Homelessness) program. Services commenced HSQF from 1 July 2018 on signing DCSYW service agreements.

The majority of services are required to demonstrate their compliance with HSQF through certification which includes an onsite audit by an accredited third-party certification body. Onsite audits will be conducted within guidelines that safeguard services’ secure locations.

Existing organisations that are already under HSQF certification for other services will include their women’s shelter/non-accommodation services into their next HSQF audit following commencement, where this timeframe is reasonable.

New organisations have 18 months from the commencement of their DCSYW service agreements to achieve HSQF certification.

One-off financial contributions towards the costs of HSQF audits are available to organisations that meet eligibility criteria.

Guidance and resources to assist women’s shelters and non-accommodation support services to achieve certification and information about financial contributions, including eligibility criteria, are available.

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) is available to support services to transition to HSQF. Information about how to request support from QCOSS is available.

Further information is available from your departmental contract officer or the HSQF team on 1800 034 022 or hsqf@communities.qld.gov.au.

Queensland Health funded organisations

The Human Services Quality Framework is now an available option for some mental health services funded by Queensland Health. Details about Queensland Health's mental health service types have been incorporated into the Human Services Quality Framework (PDF, 1.3 MB) Human Services Quality Framework (RTF, 1 MB) Version 5.0 superseding the Human Services Quality Framework Supplement for Mental Health Services funded by Queensland Health which was previously published on this website. Note: Queensland Health may, over time, determine that other service streams or service types will be in-scope of the HSQF. If additional services are added, Queensland Health will advise relevant organisations. Queensland Health funded organisations seeking information about including mental health outlets in future audit processes should contact their certification body. Queensland Health funded organisations with quality requirements other than HSQF should contact Community Services Funding Branch, Department of Health for more information on:

Subcontracting and HSQF

For organisations funded under a service agreement with DCDSS or DCSYW, the Service Agreement - Standard Terms, clause 22 states that organisations may only subcontract services where there is prior written consent from the departments/s. Organisations that subcontract services must have a contract with the subcontractor.

Responsibility for ensuring that services are delivered in compliance with the standards rests with the funded organisation, even in relation to the services delivered by subcontractor. Funded organisations that are required to implement the HSQF remain liable under their service agreement for all conditions, including HSQF provisions, even if services are subcontracted. Therefore funded organisations should ensure that any subcontracting arrangements require the subcontractor to meet the HSQF and other contractual responsibilities applicable to the service being subcontracted.

Where the organisation is required to achieve certification of the services, the subcontract must include a term that the subcontractor agrees to allow an independent certification body to access its premises to conduct an assessment of subcontracted services against the standards.

Examples of HSQF related issues to be included in subcontracts include specifying that HSQF auditors can access the physical environment of subcontracted service delivery sites, interview staff delivering services, obtain feedback from people using subcontracted services and review their files (subject to consent)

Subcontracted services that are in-scope of certification must be assessed against the HSQF in one of the following ways:

  1. Included in the funded organisation's HSQF audit as a subcontracted service delivery site.
  2. The subcontractor may complete a separate HSQF audit for the subcontracted service.
  3. Where the subcontractor is already in-scope of HSQF certification for other services, the subcontracted services may be included in the subcontractor's own HSQF audit.

If the service being subcontracted is only self-assessable under the HSQF, the subcontractor's role and input into the self-assessment needs to be considered and planned.

Organisations providing services through consortiums, local alliances or other collaborative arrangements need to consider how HSQF requirements will be met.