Inside The Basic Assurances®

Going far beyond compliance with licensing and certification standards, the Basic Assurances® look at the provision of safeguards from an individual perspective, where the effectiveness of the system or the policy is determined in practice, person by person.

What Are The Basic Assurances®?

The Basic Assurances® is a tool to evaluate successful operations involving the health, safety, and human security of people receiving services, as well as areas such as natural supports, social networks, employment, and more. Through 10 factors, 46 indicators, and hundreds of probes, the Basic Assurances® provide organizations with guidance for ensuring that systems translate into actual practices to positively impact the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities.

Why Are The Basic Assurances® Important?

Alignment with the Basic Assurances® is a prerequisite for being in business in our field, and organizations unable to meet the requirements are not permitted to operate as public or private entities. By identifying evidence of practices that demonstrate the system’s effectiveness, the tool ensures that organizational policies, procedures, etc. are actually delivering results. Organizations can collect data through the Basic Assurances®, to analyze systems and practices and track the progress of their initiatives over time.

"All goals are organized around the CQL Basic Assurances®. These are guiding principles for our team."

Cory Gumm, Search Inc.

"We rewrote our procedures to conform to all Basic Assurances® factors, indicators, and probes."

Josh Wilson, Independent Case Management, Inc.

"The Basic Assurances® have provided a framework to help us know the right things to measure."

Megan Moore-Stevens, MMI Residential

"CQL helps us look at every facet of what we do through the criteria of their Basic Assurances®."

Angela Pasyk, Center for Enriched Living

Basic Assurances® Components


‘Factors’ refer to the main topic areas of the Basic Assurances®, which encompass critical aspects of quality in human services.


‘Indicators’ set expectations for each factor of the Basic Assurances®, describing the general standards that need to be met.


‘Probes’ include specific questions or criteria to evaluate if an indicator is present in an organization’s systems and practices.

Have questions about Basic Assurances®?

Basic Assurances® Factors

The Basic Assurances® include 10 different factors that help structure and organize the tool, including its associated indicators and probes.

Download Listing
  • Rights Protection and Promotion
  • Dignity and Respect
  • Natural Support Networks
  • Protection from Abuse, Neglect, Mistreatment and Exploitation
  • Best Possible Health
  • Safe Environments
  • Staff Resources and Supports
  • Positive Services and Supports
  • Continuity and Personal Security
  • Basic Assurances® System

Get Started With The Basic Assurances®

There are a number of ways to learn more about the Basic Assurances® (BA), and especially how to utilize it at your organization.


Basic Assurances® Manual

Purchase the Basic Assurances® manual to receive robust guidance to evaluate organizational systems and practices.



Watch webinar recordings for detailed insight into the application of the Basic Assurances® at your organization.



Download free resources that will help you in understanding and aligning the Basic Assurances® with your practices.



Expand your employees’ knowledge of the Basic Assurances® through interactive training and workshops.



Read CQL research encompassing Basic Assurances® data, that is collected and analyzed using the PORTAL Data System.



Access articles sharing practical information about how organizations use the Basic Assurances®.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are Basic Assurances® indicators evaluated?

Organizations assess the Basic Assurances® indicators along two different dimensions, Systems and Practices. Systems are those organizational supports that provide the structure for organizational practice. These can be policies and procedures, staff training, or other types of systems. Practices involve what is observed in daily operations and demonstrate how an organization’s supports are put into action. There must be evidence of both Systems and Practices for the overall indicator to be considered present.

Where can organizations analyze Basic Assurances® data?

Organizations can use CQL’s PORTAL Data System collecting and analyzing their Basic Assurances® data. It is a secure, online tool to enter and evaluate discoveries during the Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment process. Through various online dashboards and reporting, an organization can view scoring from the Self-Assessment, compare findings with the determinations of CQL staff members, review data based on ‘Systems’ and ‘Practice.’

What is the Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment?

The Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment contains each of the factors, indicators, and probes to help an organization conduct an internal evaluation of its systems and practices. The Self-Assessment asks organizations to review health, safety, and human security. It can be used to offer insight into an organization’s current operations, highlight areas of excellence, identify areas of opportunity, and track progress over time.

How is the Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment used in CQL Accreditation?

As part of the CQL Accreditation process, the organization will submit their completed Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment to CQL staff, who will validate the tool. Through a number of methods, including document reviews, focus groups, interviews, observation, on-site visits, and more, CQL will identify where the Self-Assessment does and does not align with CQL’s own findings. Organizations can use the Self-Assessment and the validation process to develop an action plan for improving quality across the organization.