Quality Checkers is an innovative program that has been developed in the U.K. by Choice Support to assess the quality of services and support that people with disability are receiving from providers and offers insight into how they live their lives.

Achieve Australia and the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS), an affiliate of the University of Sydney, are the first organisations in Australia to run a pilot of the Quality Checkers program and undertake research on its effectiveness and feasibility for the local disability sector.

The main difference with this program to others is that it features a peer-to-peer review model, where people with disability, their families and support workers are all collectively engaged in the feedback process.

What’s involved?

The program places Quality Checkers into pairs that include a person with a disability working alongside a support worker, staff member or family member. Each pair is trained to go out to people’s homes, conduct Quality Checker interviews and report back on findings.

The questions asked during the interview are designed to find out what people think about their living arrangements and the support they receive, and how choice and control affects their daily lives.

Some of the questions include:

  • Do you get good care and support?
  • Do you have many friends?
  • Do you get to go out?
  • Do you have a job?
  • Are you safe?

By conducting the interviews at a person’s home, Quality Checkers also get a sense of what is occurring on a daily basis in each living environment and the type of support they are receiving from staff.

After visiting the person’s home, the Quality Checkers meet to discuss the interview and write a report on their findings. The results are then checked by CDS, sent over to Achieve for support staff to review with their client, and an action plan is created to address any issues or concerns raised. Ongoing updates are then provided on the progress of the action plan.

What are the benefits?

The Quality Checkers program:

  • Offers the opportunity for people with disability to have their say on how they live their lives.
  • Provides training and educational opportunities for people with disability, support staff and family members who are taking part as Quality Checkers.
  • Creates a collaborative learning environment where participating groups can all learn from each other.

People with disability, who contribute as Quality Checkers, also report that they feel positive about their contribution to the program and the skills that they have gained.

2018 ASID Conference

The pilot program was recently presented at the 52nd Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) Conference on the Gold Coast by Achieve, CDS, people with disability and support workers and staff.

As part of the Community Inclusion session, the presentation focused on How can peers evaluate the quality of their accommodation services?

People with disability also had the opportunity to contribute to the presentation by explaining the benefits of the program and why it is important to them to have their say.

“We hope that these types of feedback processes not only assist people with disabilities, but become embedded in the Australian context, particularly amidst increasing concerns regarding the rights of people with intellectual disabilities,” said Professor Patricia O’Brien, Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Sydney, Executive Director of CDS and Board Director of Achieve Australia, at the recent Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) Conference on the Gold Coast.

The Quality Checkers pilot program and research project runs until February 2019.

Professor Patricia O’Brien, Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Sydney, Director at the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) and Board Member at Achieve Australia, with Fiona Miller, Customer Service Executive at Achieve Australia presenting research outcomes on the Australian Quality Checkers pilot program at the 2018 Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) Conference.

Participants of the Quality Checkers program with CDS and Achieve Australia staff at the recent 2018 ASID Conference.

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