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.
Before you start….
Have you read the Department of Communities 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.
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.
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.
30 June 2024. To maintain your accreditation, you must refresh your certificate every three years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SHS providers who have an organisational annual revenue of less that $5m can apply to the IP for:
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.
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.
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.
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.
To access the BNG SPP Portal, you will need to obtain a subscription to the portal. You can do this here
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 Partnership will not cover the cost of you subscription.
More information on pricing and packages for SHSs subscribing to the portal is available here
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the Industry Partnership has your completed application form, it will pay for your subscription and arrange for BNG to set up this subscription.
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.
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).
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)
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.
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.
All External Assessors are available by visiting the Assessor Directory here.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
Browse details of current NSW external assessors, read, and enquire if they are available to complete a site visit for your organisation.