Accreditation is like an evaluation of performance for Calgary Alternative Support Services (CASS) and the services that we provide. Accreditation is a formal confirmation from a neutral group of professionals, that CASS meets established standards and practices. The neutral group of professionals are known as surveyors.
CET stands for Creating Excellence Together. The Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS), the legislation body of our field, along with involvement and consultation from individuals receiving services, their families and/or guardians, support staff, and agencies have developed core standards (expectations) that agencies are evaluated on. The CET Standards are the recognized benchmark in the Community Disability Services sector. CET addresses aspects of life that are important to Albertans with developmental disabilities who need to access quality services. There are 7 standards that are evaluated:
A neutral group of professionals who come to evaluate our agency. Each of the surveyors have experience working within the Community Disability Services sector. Some may be semi-retired, some may work for other agencies within the province. The surveyors are not from our funders. Because of our agency’s size the survey team consists of 4-5 surveyors. One is identified as the team’s leader who organizes and directs the team throughout the process. All surveyors are trained by ACDS to perform surveys.
The team of surveyors come every 3 years to perform what is called an accreditation survey. A few months prior to the survey dates, our agency submits extensive information regarding our policies, procedures, and agency practices to ACDS and the survey team. They will carefully evaluate this information to ensure it meets each of the CET Standards.
The survey team is then scheduled to meet with the agency for at least 3 days but can be up to 5 days. On the first day, they will meet with the agency’s management team to discuss any follow up or clarification needed. The rest of the week/days they will meet with randomly pre-selected individuals (chosen before the survey week), their guardians (if applicable), frontline staff, and Community Support Coordinators. They will have scheduled conversations with the individual and their support team. Each scheduled conversation is booked in 3-hour windows to allow the surveyor to talk with the team that supports the individual. However, the surveyor will only talk to each person for a maximum of 45 minutes (maybe less). For example:
The surveyor recognizes that the individual in service may not have the skill or ability to express their answers. The surveyor may ask the questions in a way that the individual is able to provide some answers but may then also ask the guardian (if applicable) for their input and clarification. The surveyor may also ask to see certain practices within the support home/location. For example, they may ask to see emergency equipment (e.g. fire extinguishers, etc.), ask permission to see the individual’s room, ask to see supporting documentation, etc.
On top of the conversations, the surveyors will also review the selected files of individuals accessing services and a randomly selected group of staff files. Authorizations from individuals/guardians and staff are obtained prior to any file review occurring.
Calgary Alternative Support Services completes the accreditation process every three years. CASS’ CET Accreditation Survey is scheduled for June 6th – 8th 2023.
You can read more about the Creating Excellence Together Accreditation process and standards here: https://acds.ca/accreditation/cet-2021-standards/index.html
Credit to SupportedLifestyles for developing the content on this page and sharing it with us. Minor adjustments were made to make it more relevant to Calgary Alternative Support Services.