Safety and Quality Roles and Responsibilities in Your Organisation


Published: 02 August 2020

Every staff member of a health service organisation is, in some way, responsible for ensuring safety and quality care is delivered to clients.

The organisation’s role is to support their workforce to understand and perform their designated safety and quality roles and responsibilities (ACSQHC 2019).

What is ‘Safety and Quality’?

Safety is the practice of preventing errors and adverse outcomes in healthcare, while quality refers to the likelihood of positive client outcomes and how well the organisation works in tandem with current professional expertise.

STEEEP Framework for Safety and Quality

Safety and quality can be defined further using the STEEEP framework:

Safe Avoiding harm to patients and keeping staff safe.
Timely Preventing delays that impede on the flow of care.
Effective Delivering evidence-based care, only to those who are likely to benefit.
Equitable Providing equal access to care regardless of gender, income, ethnicity, location etc.
Efficient Using resources sustainably.
Patient-centred Delivering respectful, responsive care that takes into consideration individual clients’ preferences, values and needs.

(Adapted from West Moreton Health 2020)

Together, safety and quality practices aim to ensure that clients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time and cost (ACSQHC 2019).

nurse and client talking

Safety and Quality Roles and Responsibilities in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards

Safety and quality roles and responsibilities are outlined in Actions 1.25 and 1.26 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, under Standard 1: Clinical Governance.

These actions aim to ensure that staff are supported and supervised to appropriately fulfil their designated safety and quality roles and responsibilities. Providers are required to:

  • Assign safety and quality roles and responsibilities to staff;
  • Support their staff to understand and perform these roles and responsibilities; and
  • Supervise staff to perform these roles and responsibilities safely.

(ACSQHC 2019)

Safety and Quality Roles

Safety roles and responsibilities within an organisation can be seen as a hierarchical structure, wherein:

  1. A governing body oversees safety and quality practices.
  2. Managers operate the organisation within the parameters established by the governing body, ensuring that safety and quality systems perform effectively.
  3. Staff work within safety and quality systems. They are expected to adhere to professional codes of conduct and are held accountable for their practice.
  4. Clients receive care from staff.

(West Moreton Health 2020)

More specific roles and responsibilities should be outlined in the organisation’s policies and procedures, as well as in individual staff members’ position descriptions (West Moreton Health 2020).

Upholding Roles and Responsibilities

In order to ensure safety and quality roles and responsibilities are upheld effectively, organisations should:

  • Ensure roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, delegated and documented;
  • Ensure roles and responsibilities are outlined in policies and procedures;
  • Regularly review whether staff are fulfilling their roles and responsibilities;
  • Train staff to fulfil their roles and responsibilities;
  • Identify professional development opportunities;
  • Review position descriptions when required; and
  • Supervise junior staff.

(ACSQHC 2019)


junior nurse and supervisor talking

One key component of safety and quality is supervising junior staff to ensure they are appropriately fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. The aim is for junior staff to increase their competency and eventually become independent. Supervision should include regular performance feedback and reviews (ACSQHC 2019).

Those responsible for supervising junior staff should:

  • Have the necessary skills, qualifications and training;
  • Have appropriate experience;
  • Be located in a place from where they can supervise adequately; and
  • Participate in the review process.

(ACSQHC 2019)


All clients expect and deserve safe and high-quality care. This responsibility falls upon every staff member, and the health service organisation is expected to ensure individual roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. Furthermore, the health service organisation must support staff to understand and appropriately uphold their designated roles and responsibilities.

Additional Resources


Test Your Knowledge

(Subscribers Only)

Question 1 of 3

Finish the sentence. Safety is…

Start an Ausmed Subscription to unlock this feature!