Many people hear the term ‘peak body’ and fail to fully grasp it. Although they may recognise that it refers to a representative entity, they often don’t think much further.
acia – the Australian Community Industry Alliance – formerly known as the Attendant Care Industry Association – has an impact far beyond what most people realise.
Providing Guidance on Quality in a Rapidly Evolving Industry
Founded in 2005, acia has evolved into a leader in supporting the care and support industry in the delivery of quality services, with a particular focus on Complex Community Supports in both physical and behavioural services.
Our reach has broadened, particularly since the completion of a two-year project with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Department of Social Services, assisting with the development of the National Quality and Safeguarding framework and the initial roll out of this initiative across NSW and South Australia. At acia, we will continue to provide support to the industry as this important initiative rolls out across the country.
The introduction of the new NDIS Quality & Safeguarding Standard scheme has meant a significant change to industry businesses as they work to accommodate either the verification or certification options as part of their registration.
Notable for being apolitical, acia support many industry service providers representing well over 150,000 staff from both government and non-government care providers. They include private, not-for-profit and charitable organisations in both the disability and aged care sectors.
Given this diversity and the complexity of the industry, acia are an important uniting force for the sector as a whole. We provide crucial support and guidance on the delivery of high-quality services.
Transforming Through Quality in Service Delivery
At acia, we provide leadership for the Community Supports and Services sector in five fundamental ways:
1. QUALITY – AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY INDUSTRY STANDARD (ACIS) and Scheme
Created by acia, the Australian Community Industry Standard (ACIS) is a rigorous standard that focuses on helping organisations provide exceptional client outcomes through quality.
It is the national quality management standard that specifically addresses the provision of community support or attendant care services.
Certification is achieved through assessment by an independent body who have been accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).
Developed by the industry, for the industry, ACIS is a cut above many other standards in that it encourages continuous improvement of organisational quality through three-yearly certification and annual monitoring checks of maintenance of the standards by auditors with a focus on client goals and outcomes.
2. QUALITY ADVICE
acia plays an integral role in supporting members from the industry in their work. Our team spend a lot of time talking to members about improving the quality of their services, as well as advising on industry changes.
As the industry experts, we’re the first port of call for any queries about how to deliver premium choice, control and consumer-directed quality services.
3. INDUSTRY GUIDELINES
We are a leading source of information and a reference point for guiding the community industry. We produce a suite of well-respected best practice guidelines which are regularly updated, and which are an important resource for the delivery of quality services and meeting the dynamic changes within the sector.
4. POLICY & ADVOCACY
As an industry peak body, we at acia take part in government projects and respond to state and federal government inquiries and reviews.
We hold membership of a number of key industry groups, ensuring our members have a voice at the table on the direction of the industry and are proactive with submissions to government that work to shape policy direction
5. EDUCATION AND TRAINING
A key area of acia’s current reach is the essential workshops and training that we run across Australia in response to current and emerging industry requirements.
In 2018, we hosted over 70 workshops with Commonwealth representatives across NSW and South Australia, to talk directly to members and affiliates and inform them about changing requirements with regards to quality frameworks. This area is set for growth in 2019, with our first workshop taking place at the beginning of February in Darwin.
2018 also saw the introduction of webinars to offer further convenience to a busy industry.
2019 promises to be a big year for acia. The NDIS have put the cat amongst the pigeons within the industry, with the introduction of their new Quality and Safeguarding Standards and Scheme, plus the aged care sector is looking to introduce the new Single Aged Care Standards.
Our CEO, Lyn Franco, has over 30 years’ clinical experience with a diverse background in health, hospital management and a number of Community organisations. Lyn previously also held various Director positions on the acia Board over the past 10 years and now provides leadership to the acia team at our NSW head office. She says: “I am looking forward to being part of an important time of growth and opportunity for acia increasing their role in supporting an expanding community sector to deliver quality services.”
With a strong and enthusiastic Board of Directors and corporate relationships such as our ongoing partnerships with Grant Thornton, Shanahan Tudhope Lawyers and Perform HR, acia are going from strength-to-strength and providing real leadership for an industry which depends on quality to succeed.
For a service provider, the question really isn’t: “Can I afford to be a member of acia?”
The question is: “Can I afford not to be?”