What are QuADS Organisational Standards?

The Quality in Alcohol and Drugs Services (QuADS) Organisational Standards are the quality standards approved by the HSE for addiction services in Ireland. Originally developed in the UK, QuADS Organisational Standards have been adapted for Irish addiction services. The QuADS Organisational Standards are available in a manual which is intended to be used as both a guide and a review tool for drug and alcohol services engaged in developing quality standards in their organisation.

Where can I download QuADS Organisational Standards?

Click here [1] to access the latest version of the QuADS Organisational Standards and accompanying spreadsheet which can be used to track progress through the standards.

How do I use QuADS Organisational Standards?

Find out more about how to use the QuADS Organisational Standards manual here [2]


Where can I access resources and support if I use QuADS?

The aim of the Quality Standards Support Project (QSSP) is to develop and promote quality standards for addiction services; and to support organisations in implementing quality standards in their services. The QSSP have a number of resources available on www.drugs.ie/quality to support services using the QuADS Organisational Standards:

  • QuADS Organisational Standards – the quality standards and spreadsheet to accompany the standards
  • Quality Champions Training – the aim of this online training is to provide key persons in a service with the skills they need to champion quality standards in their service
  • Policy Template Library – this is a library of policy templates that have been developed in ALDP for services to download and adapt themselves. Please note, there are no ‘QuADS policies’, only QuADS Organisational Standards
  • How to use the QuADS Manual – a guide on how to use the QuADS Organisational Standards manual
  • Links
  • FAQs

Please note, the Quality Standards Support Project do not have a role in monitoring engagement with the standards or validating the evidence provided that standards are being met.

Is there training available to help me implement quality standards in my organisation?

Quality Champions Training aims to give the learner the skills they will need to champion quality improvement in their service. Quality Champions Training is delivered online through Moodle in a series of multimedia based learning modules. The training is accessed through a unique log in and is free. All the learner needs to participate is a PC or laptop with internet access and basic computer skills. The modules are divided into five sessions:

  • Session 1: Introduction to Quality
  • Session 2: Organisation Review and Mapping
  • Session 3: Consultation
  • Session 4: Policy Writing
  • Session 5: Implementation and Policy Review

Further information about Quality Champions Training can be found here [4]


[1] QuADS Organisational Standards

[2] QuADS Organisational Standards Review

[3] Or you can use the text below, instead of linking to the drugs.ie page just use the text from it, I’ve copied it in below

[4] Champions Training


How to use the manual



The QuADS Organisational Standards manual can be used to assess a service against the core standards; and against applicable standards from the ‘service specific’ and ‘target group’ standards sections.

The organisation can use the manual to self-assess their service internally against the core standards and against applicable standards from the service specific and targeted standards section.

It is suggested that one person in the organisation take responsibility for coordinating the self-review.

Suggested steps in the self-review process:

  • Step 1: Nomination of a coordinator from the organisation to either conduct in full, or lead the self-review.
  • Step 2: Read through the manual in detail. Identify the standards from the ‘service specific’ and ‘target group’ standards sections applicable to the organisation. All core standards are applicable.
  • Step 3: Identify where individuals (manager, staff member, service user) can take responsibility for particular sections. For example, the Human resource management and development standards could be tasked to an individual with responsibility for, or knowledge of, human resources in the organisation. If it is not possible or appropriate to nominate an individual, the coordinator of the process can carry out the self-review.
  • Step 4: The review is carried out by collecting evidence to measure against the criteria of each applicable standard, to demonstrate that the standard has been achieved. Criteria can be marked as being met, partially met, unmet and not applicable.Policies, protocols, procedures, practices, guidelines, structures and systems are all examples of evidence that can be used to show the organisation is meeting a standard (see examples below).The methods used to gather evidence might include focus groups with stakeholders, interviews with stakeholders, policy review, data collection and documentary research.
  • Step 5: When all evidence has been compiled, gaps may emerge where applicable standards have not been met or have been only partially met. A plan for working towards those standards can then be put in place.
  • Step 6: The manual can be used as a running document to monitor progress after the initial self- review has been completed.

Peer review

The manual can be used for peer review, which involves another similar organisation (e.g. agencies in a particular area, particular service types) reviewing and evaluating your service against the standards. This method is more objective than self-review. However, other factors – such as having the service open to assessment by potential ‘competitors’ – should be taken into consideration.

External independent evaluation

The manual can be used for external independent monitoring and assessment. Independent assessment involves a review by an independent body of the evidence provided against criteria met, partially met, and unmet – and a review of planned action to address gaps in quality provision. Ultimately, independent monitoring and assessment could be linked to the funding of services.