Tick of approval in accreditations

Accreditation shows our work's making a difference

Mallee District Aboriginal Services has received the tick of approval in two major accreditation assessments, endorsing the level and standards of its services to communities in Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang and Robinvale.
Every three years, organisations funded to deliver services to clients for the Department of Health and Human Services are required to meet both the Department’s accreditation review, and assessment against a department-endorsed independent review body.
MDAS Chief Financial Officer Karen Hensgen said altogether, MDAS was assessed against 177 standards.
“It’s an exhaustive process, but for good reason – the assessments are there to present a single set of service quality standards for all service providers,” Ms Hensgen said.
“They’re in place to guarantee people’s rights, wellbeing and safety are promoted and upheld, that people have access to transparent, equitable and integrated services and that people are able to make their own decisions and be actively involved as valued members of the community,” she said.
The accreditation process outlines areas where an organisation achieves the required standards, and where improvements or changes need to be made. It ensures that there are robust Governance structures in place, led by the Board and filtering down through the organisation.
MDAS Manager of Governance and Quality Letitia Robinson said MDAS was assessed as meeting the DHHS standards, and those of the independent review body, QIP.
“On the face of it, this is quite a bureaucratic process – but underneath it all, it’s about people, and the service and support they can expect and receive when they walk through the door.  That’s what this is all about,” Ms Robinson said.
“And that was the most rewarding part of the process.  Part of the assessment is done through client and staff interviews, and our assessor made quite moving comments about the impact MDAS is having on the lives of community members,” she said.
“Clients told assessors that the work MDAS has done has ‘saved lives’ and in many cases, transformed their existence.
“That’s what is at the root of everything we do at MDAS and I think the process and the outcomes are an opportunity for everyone in the organisation to reassess their role and why it is that they are here.”
Ms Robinson said the most moving part of the assessor’s summing up was her reflection on the incredible service delivery sections within MDAS Health and Family Services.
“The assessor spoke about the commitment, generosity, love, sense of community, the tireless work, integrity, the humanness and empathy that was clearly evident in all the client and staff interviews and how this passion is clearly displayed across the organisation,” she said.
MDAS Chairman Keith Hampton said the challenge ahead was to continue growing the quantity and quality of the work MDAS was doing in the community.
“Also recruiting appropriate people to MDAS, who are passionate about empowering and changing Aboriginal people’s lives for the better,” Mr Hampton said.
“The challenge is how to mentor, grow and support the passionate workforce we have to make sure they understand how valuable they are, how much they are appreciated and needed, to not burn out staff and to retain them, with what can be complex and difficult work,” he said.
“But the work we are doing here is some of the best in the country, and the other challenge is to step up and be prepared to share in what we’re learning and lead change in the wider community.”

Pictured: L-R
It’s a team effort!  (Front) MDAS Treasurer Pam McCormack and Chairman Keith Hampton with Manager People and Culture Kelly Masters.  They are pictured with key corporate services staff (L-R) Ian Kirby, Karen Hensgen (CFO), Fred Apthorpe, Bonnie Andrews, Peta Cooper, Jen Byrnes, Gugu Ncube, Alana Doe and Margrete Hamence. 
MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: Generations of vibrant, healthy and strong Aboriginal communities”

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120 Madden Avenue Mildura
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70 Nyah Road Swan Hill
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9 Nolan Street Kerang
Phone (03) 5412 6004

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