HomeCase StudiesNorth West Disability Services (NWDS) continues its GRC momentum with a KnowRisk Compliance Module
NWDS Transforms from Implementing an Integrated Risk & Governance Program in KnowRisk
From the time of being established in 1982, North West Disabilities Services (NWDS) Inc has developed into a well-respected, long term provider of services to those with disability. NWDS operations spans the burgeoning growth areas of Sydney’s North-West suburbs.
In August 2017, CorProfit was engaged to move NWDS from a paper-based approach to its Risk & Governance Programs to have an aligned and integrated technology solution that all staff could buy into.
Looking back from where we are in July 2019, it has been an amazing experience which has increased the knowledge of our management, coordinators and support staff to use the principles of risk management.
Our motto is “Turning Dreams into Reality” which all staff take to heart and is seen when you visit any of the several facilities in which programs are held; the participants feel that they belong somewhere and the staff give caring, respectful support.
In under 2 years, NWDS now runs its Incident Reporting, Hazard Management, Feedbacks & Complaints, Compliance and Competencies using the KnowRisk Platform.
We receive most of our funding from the Government via the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and thus we are under a highly regulated industry. In applying CorProfit’s knowledge and having a good technology solution in KnowRisk, NWDS has eliminated many inefficiencies and hidden costs, some which we knew and others we would not have even thought of.
The Compliance Program has built the linkages between Regulations and the relevant NWDS Policies and Procedures that will hold for the foreseeable future, with the evidence being linked as and when needed.The Compliance Officer has visibility of the work tasks that demonstrate compliance to the requirements across all regulations that NWDS is subject to. She selects the right activities against each requirement to show compliance, rather than having to give a separate explanation from her knowledge of NWDS as was done in the past.
Competency Assessments delivered through KnowRisk has met and exceeded the vision that the CEO and HR Departments have been aiming for. This is opening the door for strengthening the value add that staff will gain from on the job training, rather than HR being involved in the time-consuming administration side of managing staff training.
Feedbacks & Complaints has matured over the last year, guiding management and the Board with better indicators to understand how to improve where issues were encountered. NWDS can see that the round-robin of interlinking the different Risk Programs will directly show where some procedures need to be revisited as well as training touch-points to keep NWDS services at the optimum level for the participants.
Going forward in the next year to July 2020, NWDS is extending the use of KnowRisk by adding a more structured approach to Risk Management, Internal Audit and tying this in with the Maintenance Schedules which use risk factors to decide where the dollars should go.
In aligning the different Risk Programs technologically, we have appreciated the significance of building a Knowledge Base of Risk and Governance data that can be shared between the different Risk Programs.
NWDS has a clear pathway of digitising our Policies, Procedures and SOPs into a nicely architected KnowRisk database. We can export a polished version from KnowRisk into a Word or Excel Template, as suits our “Look & feel”.
The CEO, as sponsor of the move to the KnowRisk Platform, selected several staff members to work with CorProfit to learn how to work with KnowRisk and they in turn train other staff members as needed. All staff have access to KnowRisk and they are gradually being introduced to the system in our efforts to reduce paperwork and increase efficiencies.
It has been wonderful to see that when the WHS Manager, HR Manager or Coordinators have a build up of work to perform in KnowRisk, that they can co-opt staff at short notice and with minimal training in using KnowRisk, have those staff productive in overcoming the workload.
When staff are training in using KnowRisk in one Program, for example Incident Reporting, it takes no more training to have those staff also working on Feedbacks & Complaints Handling in KnowRisk.
Compliance is both a benefit and a headache; this helps NWDS embed a compliance culture into the staff (benefit), on the other hand it was a laborious, time consuming process (headache).
NWDS is subjected to a range of external audits, some are bi-annual, others tri-annual and some more frequent through the year.
Our Compliance Officer responds to external audits by preparing a pre-audit in which NWDS documents how we comply and produces the associated evidence (information is linked together, using facilities provided in Word or Excel).
Compliance is a major focus area for the CEO, who uses this as a mechanism to drive much of the day to day activities being performed. The Board provides an overview of the effectiveness of Compliance and some of the Board Members are also actively involved in participating that the obligations to regulations are being met.
The efforts in time to load the compliance information in KnowRisk were surprisingly quicker than what we anticipated. CorProfit gave guidance in how we could standardise the way Compliance worked under an overarching ISO31000 based Framework.
From a layman’s perspective, the CEO had structured Compliance into a linear hierarchy of Regulations, Policies, Procedures, SOPs and Evidence.
CorProfit showed a better approach, whereby Compliance is driven by actual work performed and that this flows up the hierarchy to demonstrate that obligations under a range of Regulations are being met.
Setting Feedbacks and Complaints into KnowRisk was the second Program (after Incident Reporting) to come under the integrated solution that CorProfit was guiding NWDS to have.
The CEO could see that our staff were comfortable with the new system and requested CorProfit to bring Feedbacks and Complaints into KnowRisk.
The implementation methodology for Feedbacks and Complaints followed the same protocols as Incident Reporting. NWDS follows a traditional approach to allocate a “Feedback and Complaints” Key when recording the related details.
CorProfit showed us how to improve the Feedback and Complaints Key that has led to a superior analysis and how we can learn from both adverse and positive events, to improve our front-line work processes.
As with many not-for-profits, NWDS uses every available dollar to provide services to our participants to enable them to have a quality life that our programs provide for.
NWDS takes particular care in seeing that staff demonstrate that they are competent in the duties that they perform.
It occurred to us to ask CorProfit if they had a solution for Competency Management; CorProfit showed that they had a module in the making and it was great to see that this had good potential for what we were looking for.
CorProfit already understood the interlinkages between the effect of incidents, complaints and compliance breaches to show where a staff member or the wider NWDS-organisation, needed refresher training.
The life-cycle starts with our recruitment process which takes place at least 3 times a year.
Regulations require that applicants meet levels of competencies, linked to the roles that they will perform.
Applicants are invited to a 3-day training session during which they are given courses in different topics, each linked to a Competencies, numbering around 25. Previously they were given Paper Assessment Forms with multiple choice questions, some true and some false. The candidates select the answer that they think are correct, using a pen that they are provided with (they tick the cell of what they think the correct answer is).
NDWS HR evaluates the answers and gives scores for each competency. The results are given back to each candidate and they are obliged to have another (or as many) attempts as necessary till each competency is met. Some candidates progress to being casual staff until they are appointed as permanent staff and given to time to complete some topics.
The paper Competency Questionnaires were replaced by a KnowRisk Cloud Competency system during the end June 2019 recruitment drive.
We decided on a Cloud solution to enable persons external to NWDS to engage with our business processes and work conveniently online in their own lime and location.
The KnowRisk Competency Forms are user friendly and straightforward for the applicants to engage with. The logical thought processes of reading the questions and selecting the multiple-choice questions reinforces the training for the applicants. They can launch the associated training guides as needed to gain the knowledge in the context of what they are doing.
The CEO was delighted that at the third-interview, she had a score sheet showing the results of Competency Assessments for each candidate, boosting the feedback that NWDS likes to give when offering selected candidates the opportunity to progress to the next stage.
Feedback from candidates on potential improvements together with those of NWDS have been welcomed by Corprofit to build on the features and enhances the user-experience.
The HR Department was all abuzz with the online Competency Assessment Forms in KnowRisk, with this opening the door to increase opportunities for the ongoing training of existing staff and leverage the alignment between Policies, Procedures and SOPs.