Aurora Disability Services is a unique registered charity based in Tasmania, providing services, care and support to adults with intellectual, physical, sensory and psychiatric disabilities and essential respite for families and carers.
In 2020, Aurora Disability Services underwent a significant digital transformation. The organisation transitioned from a paper-based system to LogiqcQMS in preparedness for their first NDIS audit – which they passed first go with flying colours. We spoke to Aurora Disability Services Executive Officer, Angelique Payne, and Consultant Darcy Inglis from Honestally, to learn more about the organisation’s journey throughout 2020, and what they’ve learned and achieved along the way.
How has your organisation adapted to change this year?
Angelique: It’s been difficult, but we have embraced change! Aurora Disability Services has existed for 32 years and we have been paper-based this whole time. The NDIS audit forced us to become more technologically advanced, since the first stage was conducted remotely, and the auditors needed to access documentation virtually. We have been operating effectively without technology, but recognised that we needed to improve, so we engaged Darcy and he recommended LogiqcQMS to us. It hasn’t been an easy transition because the software and platforms were so foreign to us. We didn’t even have a website! We have had to change our thinking, our processes, and the way we do things. But we’re very pleased that we did, we still have our L plates on and are gradually learning what our QMS can do.
Darcy: I was contacted in early 2020 by Aurora Disability Services to assist them in their first NDIS audit against the NDIS Practice Standards. At face level, the standards seem reasonably straightforward but as you start to collect your evidence you will realise that practice standards are so broad that they end up touching on virtually every part of the organisation. To make the process more complicated, there is scope for ‘grey areas’ when interpreting the standards of what is a relatively new framework for the sector. It’s a big undertaking on top of running the day-to-day operations. While it is technically possible to fulfill the audit requirements through a paper-based system, I wanted to implement a sustainable process. NDIS audits are currently on a three-year cycle, but we wanted to be ‘audit ready’ at any time. So, I recommended that we spend our money smarter, not harder, and invest in LogiqcQMS to set them up for not just this audit, but future audits. Aurora Disability Services has faced a lot of operational changes this year, from adapting to COVID-19 closures, going through their biggest ever assessment (the NDIS audit), and moving to a paperless system. I often see clients who are resistant to change, especially teams that have followed the same processes for over 30 years. To their credit, Angelique and the Aurora Disability Services team trusted me, embraced change through their discomfort and could see how technology would help to futureproof their organisation.
The reason I continue to recommend LogiqcQMS time and time again is that they don’t just hand over the software and say good luck, they are in regular contact to see how they can help.Darcy Inglis – Managing Director, Honestally
How have these changes impacted your role and responsibilities?
Angelique: The workload was quite immense. We are a relatively small team when it comes to admin manpower – our team of 32 is mainly made up of care and support worker roles. We’ve always operated under the state system and adhered to relevant policies and procedures, but we needed to meet national uniformity with the NDIS. This meant uploading more policies, procedures and evidence that was required under their standards. We knew we had everything we needed, but it was a tedious process to move from folders and filing cabinets to a digital system, as well as providing the type of documented evidence that was required. It was worth it, as we’re now set up for future audits and know what to expect!
Do you think that COVID-19 has changed the way that organisations think about managing quality, safety and risk?
Darcy: That’s an interesting question! I think that COVID-19 has certainly brought risk to the forefront of everyone’s agenda. It’s been interesting to see government funnel people into a risk management strategy whether they want to or not, for example, with the use of QR codes. We’re so focused on COVID-19 that there is a real potential that we may lose focus on day-to-day risks that are still present, such as workplace health & safety. If you have LogiqcQMS set up right, you can still have feedback and incidents coming through. It gives you the peace of mind that despite the pandemic, the software is doing the work for you and showing potential issues within the organisation.
How has your QMS supported you through what has been quite a disruptive year?
Angelique: Our QMS got us through the NDIS audit! I truly believe that had we not used LogiqcQMS, the audit would have been extremely difficult. We had to rely on a mainland company to conduct the audit remotely and LogiqcQMS ensured the information was readily available to them. Otherwise, there would have been a lot of scanning and faxing to get the evidence and documents to them.
Darcy: LogiqcQMS is not just a piece of software. What you’re really getting is access to their knowledge, expertise and support team. The reason I continue to recommend LogiqcQMS time and time again is that they don’t just hand over the software and say good luck, they are in regular contact to see how they can help. Audits and accreditation can be a stressful experience for some organisations and having extra support from a team of people who do this for a living is incredibly valuable. It’s the whole experience around it, you become a part of the Logiqc family.
What lessons have you learnt in 2020 and how do you intend to apply these in 2021?
Angelique: That we can get through anything. Like the rest of the world, we didn’t know what was going to happen in those early COVID stages around March/April. Additionally, the audit was very challenging given the preparations required, and the experience was very new to us. We also confronted our technological fears head on! But looking back, we all agree that effectively working together as a fantastic team saw us achieve very successfully in 2020 – and we are 2021 ready!
Darcy: I think we have all learnt to be more open to change, to adapt and do things we haven’t done before. I’ve also learnt to take some risks more seriously no matter how unlikely they may seem. Some of my clients actually had ‘pandemic’ already on their risk register and they were ahead of the curve in 2020. Quality and risk should never be off anyone’s agenda, it should be taken seriously. Investment in tools like LogiqcQMS can be so invaluable in times of crisis and need to be thought about ahead of time. When you find your organisation in urgent need, it’s often too late.
Looking back at 2020, what would you consider to be your biggest achievement or success?
Angelique: The continuation of the quality of services we provide for our clients. We support around 300 clients across all of our services and average about 50 people a day in our community access programmes and activities. Even through the challenges of this year, we have maintained our positivity for our clients, and everyone has come through the year wonderfully. Receiving our NDIS accreditation was a big achievement and we are thankful to Logiqc for helping us along the way.
Darcy: Aurora has successfully transitioned from a paper-based organisation that has operated in the same way for over 30 years, to paperless, and implemented a new website and three new IT systems to pass their first NDIS audit with no nonconformances, all the while maintaining their day-to-day operations and service levels – it is astounding to me. I’m really grateful to the Logiqc team for the support they provided to both Aurora and me as a consultant. They were absolutely essential and without them, we wouldn’t have achieved such a sustainable outcome.