The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead local authority in the response to homelessness in Dublin
and adopts a shared service approach across South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Introduction

How to use the handbook

 

This handbook has been designed to be actively used by individual service providers. Each organisation, or section of an organisation, will be at a different point in relation to the individual standards and it will be up to each organisation or service to decide what its priorities are for improving its services against the quality standards and what the appropriate rate of change is for the organisation.

 

The handbook is divided into sections. These cover separate areas of service delivery – hostels, food centres, advice and information, street outreach and settlement. The separate section dealing with organisational standards, while only indirectly connected with service delivery, is crucial in enabling services to be provided to the standards indicated.
 

Each of the sections covering separate areas of service delivery, contains an aspirational or vision statement of how each service should be, a statement of the purpose for the service and a list of best quality standards for each key function needed to carry out the service satisfactorily. What these standards mean in practice is detailed in each section. These standards aim to represent best practice in each area. The idea of minimum standards was considered but rejected on the basis that they may have been treated as maximum standards, leaving some agencies to feel that they need do nothing else to improve their service. It was recognised that quality is a continuous journey – that we all need to constantly listen to the views of service users and work continuously to improve services. Quality is therefore a journey without an end point.

 

Below is a suggested action programme for services in using this handbook, for which support is available on request from the Initiative office for all stages:

 

  • Organise an initial workshop day which brings together staff, volunteers service-users and managers to explain the background and purpose of the report and present the relevant standards
  • Involve service users, staff and volunteers in carrying out an audit of the organisation (using the workbook) against the relevant standards to identify the gaps between current practice and the best practice standards
  • From this audit draw up a paper which contains recommendations for action in the first 12 months to improve the quality of services
  • Consult all the stakeholders about the recommended actions to improve quality
  • Ensure that there are a number of immediate actions included that can show visible improvement swiftly
  • Agree when progress against the plan will be reviewed
  • Plan a survey of service users to gain a wider and confidential view of the satisfaction level of service users against the relevant quality standards in this document
  • Plan a survey of staff and volunteers to gain a wider and confidential view of their satisfaction level in relation to the various standards
  • Put in place mechanisms to measure the performance indicators recommended in the report
  • Review progress and amend future plans