I am pleased to announce that Standards New Zealand has facilitated the revision of New Zealand's Home and community support sector Standard, NZS 8158. The revised Standard, NZS 8158:2012, reflects a fundamental shift towards support that allows people to make decisions about their lives and how they want to live. It also reflects a stronger focus on outcomes for people receiving support.

NZS 8158 supports nationally consistent quality expectations across the health and disability sector by aligning with the Health and disability services Standards (NZS 8134) where this is appropriate. It also recognises that providing support in a person's home or in the community has implications for relationships between both parties.

In addition, the Standard reflects how the type of support provided is evolving as more people with acute and complex needs are being supported to live in their homes for longer.

The Standard ensures that organisations are assessed on outcomes achieved for people receiving services and on compliance with procedures that support good outcomes. It will also assist in meeting obligations under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (the Code), a regulation under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994.

Over 400 public comment submissions were received during the revision of this Standard which is a strong indication of how important this issue is to all those involved in the sector.

You can read more on NZS 8158:2012 in this issue of Touchstone.


Thank you very much to those of you who have sent in nominations for our 2011 Meritorious Service Awards. These awards are a major opportunity for us to formally recognise the outstanding contribution that our committee members make to the development of Standards. They are also a way for us to thank the employers who enable their staff to participate on committees; the nominating organisations; and the many self-employed committee members who contribute their time to the Standards process.

We initially asked committee members to send their nominations for the individual award by 30 April 2012, but we are extending this date to Monday, 14 May 2012.

Nomination forms can be downloaded from our website.


There was a lot of media activity last month to remind us that 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of RMS Titanic's ill-fated maiden voyage, which ended when the ship sank on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1514 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. She was the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage and she carried 2223 people.

Her passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as over a thousand emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia, and elsewhere seeking a new life in North America. The ship was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants, and opulent cabins. She also had a powerful wireless telegraph provided for the convenience of passengers as well as for operational use. However, though she had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, due to outdated maritime safety regulations, she lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard. She carried only enough lifeboats for 1178 people – slightly more than half of the number travelling on the maiden voyage and one-third her total passenger and crew capacity.

We have come a long way since this maritime tragedy 100 years ago.

Although crews and passengers are safer at sea than ever before as a result of technological progress, their swift rescue in case of accident is still paramount. This means access to immediate, reliable, and accurate communication and location information and equipment, a relatively recent possibility thanks to the advent of satellite technology. The International Electrotechnical Commission prepares Standards for all aspects of the global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS). The GMDSS allows for much more effective and rapid search and rescue interventions at sea.

The GMDSS is an international integrated communications system that uses safety systems based on different communications technologies. It is intended to perform many functions including signalling distress and coordinating search and rescue operations. It would have ensured that many, many more lives would have been saved from the Titanic.

Read more about Standards and safety at sea in Touchstone.


I wrote about our annual performance survey in the April 2012 Touchstone and want to thank everyone who responded to the survey. It is important to us that we continue to look for ways to improve our products and services. The next step is for the independent research company Andrew Fletcher Consulting to analyse the results for us. We will include an overview of the results in a future issue of Touchstone.


Standards New Zealand has a range of meeting rooms for hire. From meetings for as few as two people to seminars, conferences, or training for up to 60 people, we can accommodate your needs.

We are located in the heart of the Wellington CBD, with parking and accommodation next door. We can also supply catering and a full range of meeting room equipment.

Debbie Chin, Chief Executive
Standards New Zealand

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