Standards in Emergency Accommodation across the Dublin Region
Dublin City Council, through the functions of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) are committed to ensuring that homeless services in receipt of section 10 funding are of the highest standard. We ensure compliance with all statutory health and safety standards for homeless service provision and there is a formal policy for providers of emergency accommodation in terms of standards required.
All registered and approved homeless service providers who are state funded and who hold a service level agreement with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive must comply with the quality standards as set out in Putting People First which provides a framework for good practice in services for people experiencing homeless. These standards are in place since 1999, and a new National Quality Standards Framework is in development and is due to be implemented in 2017.
National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF)
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has been coordinating the development of comprehensive national standards for homeless services, having consulted extensively with service users and all key stakeholders. These national standards will inform service users as to what they can expect of services, and will also provide services with a framework for continuous quality improvement in their services.
The objectives of the standards are to:
The NQSF will be applicable to all homeless service provision in receipt of section 10 funding, whether the service is statutory, voluntary or private. It will apply to homeless services for single adults, adult couples and for adults with dependent children.
The NQSF has been developed via an extensive consultative process. Expert opinion was provided by a National Advisory Group, comprising of members from Local Authorities, service users, NGOs, Housing and Education providers, Tusla and other stakeholders. Extensive feedback was considered from Focus Groups with service users and service providers, held in locations nationwide-including Limerick, Dublin, Sligo and Cork.
The NQSF adopts the overarching themes used by HIQA. The standards have been developed and informed by drawing from a range of other Frameworks, including HSE’s Safer Better Healthcare, QuADs (Quality in Alcohol and Drug Services) and Supporting People-used in Northern Ireland.
The model for the NQSF includes 8 themes under which the standards are organised.
Each theme consists of a number of standards, and each standard outlines key aspects of quality expected in order to deliver safe, sustainable, high quality services to people experiencing homelessness. A key outcome is that each service will have a cyclical quality improvement action plan in place.
DRHE has overseen the testing of these standards during 2016, and early 2017, in the Dublin region and in three other regions (Midlands, North East and South West).
On completion of the test phase, DRHE will be providing a proposal to the Department of Housing Planning Community and Local Government for full national implementation of the Standards Framework in Q2, 2017.
Regional facilities management team and inspection of services
A regional facilities management team is in place to both inspect and enforce standards in emergency accommodation that is provided by Dublin City Council (this includes access to expertise such as Environmental Health and Architectural professionals). DRHE notes that upon inspection of facilities and where standards fall short, clear instructions are always given in respect of works required.
Complaints Policy for Homeless Services
There is a formal complaints policy in place whereby persons can make a complaint about the service they are accessing in order to have the issue addressed.