Quality Checkers Down Under

AQC's Thomas Doukas writes about his recent trip to Australia

Last month, I visited Australia for the second time, following my first trip in 2016 when I first met Professor Patricia O’Brien, the Chair in Disability Studies and Director at the Centre for Disability Studies, at the University of Sydney. Patricia with her collaborators Tanya Riches and David Taylor were commissioned by Achieve Australia, a support provider, to train a team of Quality Checkers and run a pilot of checks to produce a research report. I have been very honoured to be part of this project, both at the steering committee and when I was invited to deliver the three days training for the new team of Quality Checkers. So, while in Sydney, with the help of the research team at CDS, we booked three quality checking training days, two of which were at the beginning, while the 3rd day was delivered after a first series of checks in Achieve Australia services.

The training went very well and some of the things people noted were the positivity of the team, and that they all had successfully harvested the experiences through constructive feedback; all felt connected and brainstormed well. From my side, I couldn’t help noticing that all participants were very receptive, fast learners and were likely to do a great job. They compiled good reports, demonstrating they understood how to do a check. In the picture below you can see a couple of newly qualified Quality Checkers, with their supporter, as we were approaching the last day of training.

I have also been helping Achieve Australia’s quality team to understand how to establish the quality checking team within their department, to promote a culture of peer-reviewing and openness, and how to yield, relish and evaluate the finding and results of quality checking for the benefit of their organisation and for the people they support. 

In the future, the research scheme will also involve training a few more people and their supporters, and a second round of checks. This will be followed by the analysis of the findings and the production of a report about the value of quality checking for both the checkers and the people in the service where the check happened.

This is the first ever Quality Checkers’ team in Australia and we are all very proud we’ve helped Patricia and her team to progress with this scheme. It’s been an amazing experience and we will keep in touch with all the checkers down under and learn how they are getting on with their work.