Quality in the Charity Sector

April 24, 2015

We were delighted to receive a PQASSO Level 2 award for quality in 2014. The team at Langley House Trust has been working hard behind the scenes to achieve this award which allows us to demonstrate to external organisations and individuals the standards to which we work.

Quality marks an essential for charities…

PQASSO Quality Mark Level 2 logoQuality marks have become an essential inventory item for any charity hoping to win and maintain the confidence of supporters and evaluators. While it is difficult for commissioners and charities to mutually agree on what that may look like (government agencies still heavily rely on the ISO quality standards to assess agencies), the charitable sector has taken matters into its own hands and developed a few meaningful resources with which we can describe effectively that what we are doing is both useful and well managed.

PQASSO allows charities to articulate what good looks like

PQASSO is one of these quality systems, allowing charities to articulate in their own language what good outcomes look like and how we go about achieving them, PQASSO has led the way in helping to remove some of the language barrier that exists between those that fund services and those that deliver them.

Stella Wint, Head of Quality, coordinated the accreditation on behalf of the Trust:

It was all about improving our quality management system, making sure that we were better at looking at our outcomes and our service delivery. We had to show that we were service user-centred, that governance was in place from the top all the way down and that we were committed to continuous improvement.

However, the whole process was not just about ticking boxes. Undertaking PQASSO has had a real impact. Stella elaborated on what this meant in practice:

We introduced a new PMAT (Project Manager Audit Tool) system because of PQASSO. Before, we weren’t capturing all that data on a regular basis. Then when we first introduced PMAT there were lots of projects in amber and red because of the Red-Amber-Green (RAG) rating system. At our last National Managers Meeting, all projects were in green apart from one. Now we are capturing data more consistently and we have a clear process of interventions to address concerns at an earlier stage.

And it’s not all about picking up on negative issues. Some positives have arisen from the implementation of the new system.

One of the things that PQASSO identified as an area that we could develop was celebrating success. We now manage our compliments and make sure that they are followed up and the team members praised. It also made us more aware of our environmental impact and a stronger commitment was made afterwards about managing our environmental footprint which will go on to inform our value for money process.

I asked Stella to summarise the single biggest thing that PQASSO had done for Langley.

It’s made us more proactive and be on top of things – we shouldn’t have any surprises now. We are more forward- thinking and proactive rather than reactive.

And that can only mean a better service for those that we support and greater transparency for those that support our work. I couldn’t think of a better argument for the value of having a quality mark accreditation for the Trust.

This week’s blog is from Claire Burton, Head of Business Development, Langley House Trust, 31st March 2015.

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