Changes to the Home and Community Sector

August 7, 2017

Home and community support services (HCSS) providers that hold a contract with the Ministry of Health, a district health board and/or the Accident Compensation Corporation must be certified against home and community support sector Standard NZS 8158:2012.

Overview of the Oversight Committee

In 2015 an Oversight Committee was formed to support the ongoing development of this certification scheme. It is made up of funder representatives and a representative from HealthCERT.

The purpose of this committee is to provide oversight and direction to the HCSS certification scheme, and ultimately to improve sector outcomes. It will soon be possible to identify national trends based on audit reports as these reports are now being processed through an electronic database, the Provider Regulation and Monitoring System (PRMS). Over time, PRMS data will build a national picture of the main areas of non-conformity. This information will create the opportunity to work with the sector on key areas for improvement.

From an operational perspective, the Oversight Committee will provide advice to the Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) where required. The role of the IAC is outlined below. Please note the Oversight Committee is not responsible for the operational activities of the conformity assessment bodies.

This is the first substantive review of the 2012 document Auditing Requirements: Home and community support sector Standard NZS 8158. Developing this revised document has involved significant feedback from stakeholder groups. In their feedback, stakeholders asked the Oversight Committee to consider the following areas of change:

  • a risk-based approach when deciding on periods of certification
  • unannounced midpoint/surveillance audits
  • an integrated audit programme (as with the aged residential care sector)
  • a standardised tool for ‘clip-on’ events (that include additional contractual elements)
  • a sampling methodology that covers:
    • the number of sites when auditing large, multi-site providers
    • auditors’ time on site
    • minimum file review and interviews
    • tracer methodology
  • the role and function of the Independent Assessment Committee
  • audit requirements when a provider sells a certified organisation.

While the Oversight Committee does not currently have dedicated representation from either a CAB or a provider, it is committed to seeking expertise from the relevant group or groups as issues arise.

Role of Independent Assessment Committee

Independent Assessment Committee is to make a recommendation to the conformity assessment body on certification, noting the CAB is responsible for the final certification decision (in line with ISO 17021-1:2015, clause 5.1.3 (ISO 2011)).

The IAC is made up of funder representatives. Each funder (district health board, ACC and the Ministry) nominates at least one representative to participate as a member. To be a member of the IAC, the nominated representative must understand NZS 8158 and the certification process relevant to this scheme. The IAC follows Terms of Reference that the Oversight Committee reviews each year.

If the IAC has a complaint that it cannot resolve directly with the CAB, the IAC it can escalate the issue to the CAB’s independent appeals committee. HealthCERT will facilitate the process as part of its administrative function as the Oversight Committee has set out (see below).

Role of HealthCERT

The Oversight Committee has agreed that HealthCERT – a section of the Ministry of Health – will coordinate and administer the HCSS framework on behalf of funders. HealthCERT’s role is to:

  • maintain a central repository and collation point for audit reports, audit summaries and progress reports for corrective actions
  • manage audit reports using the PRMS
  • manage and maintain the web page for publishing audit summaries. Audit summaries will only be published if they meet the Ministry’s publication standards
  • channel communications between each CAB and the IAC as they review certification audit reports
  • undertake other administrative functions as the Oversight Committee directs.

Updated process of certification for the home and community support sector:

Need further assistance?
Contact the friendly team at Q-Audit via email at or via our free calling number on 0800 428 348.

You can also get additional information from the Ministry of Health here.