Evidence Guide for Business Services Workbook
What is 'evidence'?
The business service you work for is being audited against the 12 Disability Services Standards. Standard 11 is 'Staff recruitment, employment and training'. The first Key Performance Indicator (KPI 11.1) for this standard is:
- The service provider identifies the skills and competencies of each staff member.
When the auditor walks in the door, how would your business service 'prove' to the auditor that it identifies the skills and competencies of each staff member?
In this scenario, it wouldn't be enough to simply 'tell' the auditor that your organisation identifies the skills and competencies of each staff member. You would have to produce evidence.
Evidence is 'proof'. It's anything that's used to support a claim. What sort of proof could your organisation produce to support KPI 11.1?
The Quality Assurance Handbook for Disability Employment Services (Version 2, May 2003) gives examples of the types of evidence a business service could use to support each of the 12 Disability Services Standards and their KPIs. For KPI 11.1, the suggested examples of evidence include:
- documented job descriptions which include clear statements of the skills and competencies required for the position
- records of reviews and updates of job descriptions
- that staff can accurately describe, in their own terms, the skill/competency requirements of their job
- staff feedback on the relevance and comprehensiveness of their job description
- that staff can describe how they are involved in reviewing skill/competency requirements.
Evidence can come in many forms. It can be 'official' documents, such as job descriptions – but it can also be observations, such as staff feedback. However, it's important to note that not everything can be used as evidence – evidence must meet certain requirements. Let's take the following as an example.
One of the assessment items in the DMI asks the following:
Over the past three months, what level of assistance has this service provided to enable the worker to maintain friendly and cooperative relationships with others?
For this assessment item, some appropriate sources of evidence to determine a client's level of assistance would be:
- notes from the work supervisor about assistance given
- observing the client on a number of occasions in the workplace, or
- the client's work assessment (if completed in the previous three months).
These sources provide evidence that is objective and documented, and has been recorded in the client's work environment.
On the other hand some sources of information may not provide valuable evidence. For example, comments from client's parents on this assessment item would not be a good source of evidence. The parents may not know what assistance is provided in the workplace and they may not be objective – so the data they provide is potentially unreliable 'hearsay'.
The basic principles of evidence are covered in more detail later in the Guide.
Evidence can be described and categorised in many different ways. One of the most common ways is to describe it as:
Quantitative evidence is evidence that is measured or counted. Some examples include:
- the business service's budget shows a 5% increase in funding
- a client's file notes show they were late for work twice in the previous month
- the client's DMI score put them in the Level 2 category of funding.
Qualitative evidence is evidence that describes or explains. Some examples include:
- a client's case notes include descriptions of their medical needs
- a professional's assessment report outlines the adjustments required for a client to enable them to use a piece of machinery
- a workplace supervisor discusses with the manager that they've observed a client having difficulty moving objects.
Quantitative evidence is not 'better' than qualitative evidence, or vice versa. The best type of evidence to use is determined by the purpose – what do you want to 'prove' or show?
If the organisation wants to know how much was spent on outside contractors last week, then quantitative data would be appropriate (ie a dollar figure). But if the organisation wanted to know what work the outside contractors had performed in the past week, then qualitative evidence would be appropriate (eg invoices describing work undertaken).