Evidence Guide for Business Services Workbook
Why do you need to collect evidence?
Evidence is a crucial part of everyday operations in business services. It is the basis for many important decisions. For example, evidence is used:
- for the DMI – which directly determines the amount of funding your organisation receives
- to assess your organisation against the 12 Disability Services Standards – which determines whether or not you receive/retain accreditation
- to assess the needs of clients – which determines the adjustments made, support provided etc so the client can fulfill their working requirements
- to determine pro-rata wages for a client
- to review and modify policies and procedures within the organisation – which impacts on efficiency and compliance.
Could any of the above assessments or decisions be made accurately if there wasn't reliable evidence supporting them? How successfully could your organisation run on 'guess work' and 'hunches'? Evidence can have a big impact on the organisation and your clients. That's why all staff need to understand the importance of evidence, and their responsibilities. For example:
- keeping accurate and up-to-date records, as required
- using appropriate workplace documents/forms
- following policies and procedures.
To put it simply, an audit is a 'check'. It's a close examination of processes, claims or records to determine if requirements are being met. Here is an example.
The 12 Disability Services Standards have 26 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) attached to them. Business services must comply with these Standards and KPIs to receive/retain accreditation. The only way FaCSIA can determine if an organisation complies is to go in and 'check' – in other words, conduct an audit. During the audit, the organisation must show evidence that they are complying with the requirements of each KPI.
If there's no evidence, there's no way of checking, therefore there can't be an audit.
Audits are not always conducted by an external body, like FaCSIA. Your service may also conduct internal audits, to check that systems and records are meeting your requirements. Audits can check for compliance, but they are also useful for identifying gaps and areas needing improvement.
So that you are well prepared for internal or external audits, it's important you:
- understand what evidence is
- collect evidence to support your claims
- store this evidence securely
- can retrieve the evidence easily if required.