Winning the uphill battle: from pushing quality through compliance to leading quality as strategy

Balding C1,2

1Active Quality

2La Trobe University


The slow progress of human service quality and safety improvement is frequently discussed in the literature and The Royal Commission into Aged Care Safety and Quality shows these concerns to be reflected in reality.  Executives and managers struggle to get traction with staff, to embed improvements and to measure what’s meaningful.

Yet we also know, from the literature and experience, what it takes to provide consistently high-quality care.  Drawing on these sources, this presentation shows how the characteristics of high-performing organisations can be designed into a strategic quality system that supports consistently high-quality consumer experiences at point of care.  Standards have a key role in this approach, but as enablers, rather than ends in themselves. Practical examples will demonstrate how integrated and strategic quality and clinical governance systems can align whole organisations around point of care and service delivery and engage staff in wanting to be part of the process.

Leading this approach requires specific knowledge and behaviours essential to implementation success, and developing these attributes in leaders and managers will be discussed.

This presentation relates directly to the ‘Beyond Compliance’ topic and will benefit delegates by laying out a model that describes how to take a strategic approach to consistently high-quality care; and the role of standards and clinical governance in achieving this. Examples from organisations using the model will demonstrate improvements in board, executive and staff focus on and understanding of the process of providing consistently high-quality point of care experiences with consumers.


Cathy has been dedicated to ‘making quality make sense’ for health, aged and community services. for over three decades.  She has worked in healthcare quality and executive roles, and in accreditation and government policy development, as well as being a past acute healthcare accreditation assessor and current aged care board member.

Cathy has been involved in the development of state and federal quality and clinical governance frameworks, standards and measures, and conducted clinical governance training for Victorian health service boards for the Department of Health and Human Services for a number of years.

Over the past decade, Cathy’s work has centred on implementing quality and clinical governance as organisational strategies for success. She has a particular focus on supporting boards and executives to lead and govern for high-quality care.

She has conducted published research on effective quality and clinical governance systems and is the author of three books on the topic.

Cathy’s work with Active Quality integrates her research and experience to tailor strategic quality and clinical governance solutions for aged care boards and executives who are seeking to lead and govern for consistently high-quality consumer care and experiences.

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