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Industry Partnership

ASES Help Centre

Click through our frequently asked question about ASES and find helpful answers, fact sheets and links through to useful information to help you plan your ASES Journey. You can also request manuals and workbooks below too.

If you can’t find an answer to your question below, contact the ASES Accreditation Team on asessupport@homelessnessnsw.org.au 

Before you start….

Have you read the Department of Communties and Justice ASES Policy Framework? It’s a good place to get that foundational understanding of your contractual obligations as an SHS provider going through accreditation, alongside the expectations set out by the Department.

Download

Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is ASES?

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The Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES), is a National program designed by the South Australian Department of Human Services (DHS). It is a step-by-step program specifically designed to develop the capacity of community organisations to strive towards continuous improvement in quality service delivery. Organisations complete self-assessments and an external assessment to achieve this internationally recognised accreditation that lasts for three years.

For an in-depth introduction to ASES, check out Guide One from our ASES How to Guides. It’s got all the information you need to get started on your accreditation journey.

Who needs to be ASES accredited?

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In 2018, the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) announced that all organisations in NSW receiving Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) funding would have a contractual obligation to be ASES accredited including financial partners of Joint Working Agreements (JWA). The DCJ ASES website has this detail and more available here.

When does accreditation need to be completed?

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30 June 2024. To maintain your accreditation, you must refresh your certificate every three years.

How long does the accreditation process take?

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The Industry Partnership recommends that larger organisations allow two years to become accredited.  Smaller organisations should allow two and a half years. To plan your accreditation journey, read Guide Two, from our helpful ASES How To Guides page.

Do I need to let DCJ know when my organisation aims to complete ASES?

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No you do not need to currently let DCJ know when you aim to be accredited at this point. However, you DCJ Contract Manager will likely be interested in your progress towards achieving ASES, keep them updated as frequently as you can.

What accreditation types are available?

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The ASES structure comprises of two levels – Certificate and Award. Organisations must reach Certificate before moving forward into Award level (although Award level isn’t a specific requirement from DCJ) Further information is available in the DHS ASES Introduction Booklet.

DCJ also recognises accreditation against the The QIC Health and Community Standards (7th edition) as equivalent to ASES. Please see the DCJ ASES Policy Framework for more information.

How do I become accredited?

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Organisations need to provide information and evidence that they are adhering to the Principles of ASES. There are nine principles which range from good governance, strong financial stewardship, opportunities and leadership, valuing people and diversity.  Read more about self-assessments and evidence gathering in our helpful ASES How to Guides here.

How do I get updates about ASES?

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The Industry Partnership sends out monthly news bulletins with specific updates on ASES along with invitations to webinars and other helpful resources. You can sign up here.

DCJ also provide information and updates about ASES requirements on there website here

Cost of Assessments

How much does ASES cost to complete?

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Costs vary depending on the assessor used, the size of the organisation achieving accreditation and the level of accreditation being sought. Read more about costings from the DCJ Policy Framework

Additional costs for staff, hours of work and potential work that may need to be done as part of your Quality Action Plan will need to be factored in by your organisation. We recommend you read Guide Three, from our How to Guides to help project plan additional costings.

Are there any parts of the ASES accreditation that are paid for?

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SHS providers who have an organisational annual revenue of less that $5m can apply to the IP for:

  • ASES Support Grant of up to $16,000 to assist in achieving ASES for the first time. For more information about this Grant, head to the ASES Support Grant FAQ section below
  • Free subscription to the BNG SPP Portal. For more information on the BNG Portal, scroll down to the BNG SSP Portal FAQ section below

Evidence Gathering

How do I collect the evidence?

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There are two ways to collect your evidence. For people who prefer paper and more of a manual approach to evidence gathering, you can download the ASES Evidence Guide and Work Book. If you’re more of a digital person, the BNG Portal will be better for you to use.

To understand more about evidence gathering, we’d highly recommend reading Guide Two from our ASES How to Guides, which will give you a simple project plan template to start to plan what types of evidence and processes you already have.

From there, you could read Guide Four, which will go into more detail on gathering, collecting, and providing good quality evidence to your assessor.

You can also watch this webinar that provides insight from our pilot organisations on their  experiences of the ASES journey, what’s worked, the challenges and how best to prepare evidence for your assessor.

What is the ASES Evidence Guide and the ASES Workbook?

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The Evidence Guide stipulates the exact requirements of each ASES standard. It has been designed to also provide guidance, document examples, tips and ideas to assist you in gathering evidence for your self-assessment.

The ASES Workbook takes you through the ASES self-assessment process. It works well if you’re a paper person (it’s not digital!) and is available on request.

You can request a copy of them both here

If you’re not a paper person and you want to understand what other options are available to record you self-assessment, you scroll down to read about the BNG SSP Portal – the online self assessment and evidence gathering tool.

How much evidence do I need to provide?

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Think short, sharp and to the point! We’d recommend 1-2 examples of evidence that clearly shows you meet the criteria specified, without overloading the assessor with many documents. The assessor can always ask you for more evidence, if they need it, or get further evidence through the interviews they conduct.

BNG Standards and Performance Pathways (SPP) Portal

What is the BNG SPP portal?

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To achieve the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES), your organisation will need to do a self-assessment against the ASES standards. The BNG SPP Portal is an online tool that is there to help you with this self-assessment.

What is the process for accessing the BNG SPP portal?

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To access the BNG SPP Portal, you will need to obtain a subscription to the portal. You can do this here

How much does a subscription cost?

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Cost is dependent on the size of your organisation.

Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) providers with an annual revenue of $5 million or less.

The Industry Partnership provides free subscription to the BNG SPP Portal for SHS providers with annual revenue of $5 million or less across for their whole organisation.

Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) providers with an annual revenue over $5 million.

You may still choose to subscribe to the BNG SPP Portal. However, the Industry Partneship will not cover the cost of you subscription.

More information on pricing and packages for SHSs subscribing to the portal is available here

I qualify for a free BNG SPP Portal subscription. How do I apply?

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To apply for a free subscription, go to the BNG website. Click on the ‘Apply’ button on the web page and it will take you to an application form. Complete the application form and email it to the Industry Partnership at asessupport@homelessnessnsw.org.au.

Once the Industry Partnership has your completed application form, it will pay for your subscription and arrange for BNG to set up this subscription.

Do I have to use the BNG SPP portal?

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Using the BNG SPP Portal is not compulsory. An alternative to completing your organisation’s self-assessment on the BNG Portal is to do the self-assessment using the ASES Workbook in Microsoft Word and submit this directly to your external assessor. For example on USB.

Many organisations find the BNG SPP Portal useful because it enables all accreditation evidence to be uploaded and stored in one place – ready for updating when accreditation is due for renewal or for use when meeting any other accreditation that the organisation may be seeking.

What is the difference between mapped and unmapped self-assessment versions of ASES when using BNG?

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SHSs can choose to use either the “mapped” or “unmapped” version of ASES when doing their self-assessment on the BNG SPP portal.  Both will satisfy ASES requirements – it is just a question of which will be easier for your organisation to use.

Use this helpful factsheet to determine whether you should use the mapped or unmapped self assessment (Page 2).

External Assessors

What is an external assessor?

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An External Assessment is an independent, third-party review performed to determine whether an organisation’s self-assessment, against the Australian Service Excellence Standards, is  corroborated by its policies, procedures, systems, staff, clients, Board, and other key stakeholders.

Each of the External Assessor organisations has been chosen through an open tender process by the SA DHS, to ensure that they are well experienced with quality systems, particularly in the community sector..

Your organisation can only use an External Assessor organisation that is on the Panel of Approved Providers, who are appointed by the South Australian Department of Human Services (SA DHS)

For a full introduction to External Assessors, take a look at Guide Five, from our ASES How To Guides.

Our ‘Meet the Assessor’ webinar is also an excellent way to understand and get to know some of the assessors that have gone through the accreditation process with our pilot organisations last year.

Do I need to pay for an external assessor?

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Yes. Prices are set by ASES external assessors. Prices vary depending on the assessor used, the size of the organisation achieving accreditation and the level of accreditation being sought (Certificate or Award). You can use the DHL external assessor cost calculator to get an estimate here.

NSW Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) providers with annual revenue of less than $5 million can apply for the ASES Support Grant, to help cover this and other costs associated with completing the ASES accreditation process. For more information, see the Support Grant FAQ below.

Where can I find an external assessor?

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All External Assessors are available by visiting the Assessor Directory here.

Does my organisation need to have an external assessor?

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Yes, it’s a requirement as a part of the ASES process. DHS undertakes a process to approve certain organisations to be able to do the external assessments.  External Assessors are contractually required to:

  • Comply with high auditing standards and to be able to apply those standards to ASES external assessments
  • Have current appropriate screenings and national police checks before entering onto sites
  • Abide by a Code of Conduct requiring ethical and professional behaviour and avoidance of conflicts of interest with your organisation
  • Add value through the process of assessment by providing additional services or supports.

More information can be found in the ASES How to Guides, Guide Five and Guide Six.

What does the external assessor do?

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External Assessors do a desktop review, a site visit, and work with you to develop and implement your organisation’s Quality Action Plan (further actions that may be needed to address any gaps identified through the desktop review and the site visit).

Is the external assessor a test?

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Not at all! they are there to help you achieve accreditation and to identify how you are already meeting the ASES requirements, and where you are not, identify what you need to do to meet the standards.

ASES Support Grant

What is the ASES Support Grant?

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The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is providing financial support to enable funded services with a revenue less than $5m to meet the requirements of achieving Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) accreditation by 30 June 2024.  The objective of the grant is to provide one-off financial support, of up to $16,000, to homelessness service providers with under $5m revenue undergoing ASES for the first time.

How do I apply for the ASES Support Grant?

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For information on how to apply for the ASES Support Grant and to learn more about the process, scroll down to the Support and Subsidies section.

To apply for the ASES Grant, please scroll down and fill in the application form provided.

 

When do applications close?

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30 June 2023 – one calendar year before ASES certificates are due.

 

Will I need to provide evidence of how the ASES Grant was spent?

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Yes. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide an outline of intended use of the grant money as well as estimated costs.

As part of the acquittal process The Industry Partnership require information about the actual use of the grant money and actual costs. Noting that the grant money can only be spent on eligible grant activities.

You can log your use of grant money  in this aquittal form document

Please also note that this funding does not need to be declared though the DCJ annual financial acquittal process.

Once complete, please scan and email to asessupport@homelessnessnsw.org.au

Please note, this acquittal documentation must be provided to Homelessness NSW within 20 months of receipt of the grant monies.

Supports and Subsidies

ASES Support Grant

We’ve put together a handy factsheet that outlines everything you need to know about the support grant, what it means and what you need to do to apply.

Download Factsheet

If you are a DCJ funded organisation and have an annual revenue of less than $5 million, you may be eligble to apply for a support grant of up to $16,000.

Apply for your grant

As part of the application process you will be asked to provide an outline of intended use of the grant money as well as estimated costs. Log your use of grant money by using the acquittal form below.

Download Form

Individual and Peer Support Groups

coming soon.

Requesting Additional Documentation

Policy and Procedure Manual

Noticed that your organisation needs to revisit a policy? This manual is packed full of example organisational policies and procedures that are designed to be compliant with ASES and can be tailored to suit your organisation. You’ll need to request a manual.

Request a manual

ASES Evidence Guide and ASES Workbook

Looking for a place to keep all your evidence and documentation? DHS (who administer ASES) has developed an excellent workbook to support you in the self-assessment process. Request a copy here or head to the ‘Reading Room’ on the BNG portal.

Request a Workbook

 Booking an External Assessor

Browse details of current NSW external assessors, read, and enquire if they are available to complete a site visit for your organisation.

Search for an External Assessor

 

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