Many areas today have a growing and diverse voluntary and community sector made up of organisations of all sizes. They are delivering substantial services and public sector contracts and are all affected by the changing needs of, and demands from, service users and other stakeholders, including funders.
As an infrastructure organisation serving the voluntary and community sector, BVA and BDBC understand the importance of excellent standards, high quality, consistency and value of service as well as the added value that the sector brings to its clients and the wider community. With services often being funded by public bodies it is crucial that voluntary and community organisations are able to evidence their performance and quality in a businesslike manner.
Benefits of Simple Quality Protects
Any groups approaching HCC will be using it as a quality standard for pre-qualifying questionnaires (PQQ), and it is the recognised quality standard in BDBC PQQ’s. If intending to apply for BDBC contracts, SQP is one of the recognised quality standards in PQQ’s as opposed to an unrecognised one which would require a lengthy explanation of how your current standards meet their quality standard criteria.
Simple Quality Protects is a unique preparatory, progressive quality assurance programme for organisations. It was initially developed to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in delivering services to users, staff, volunteers, funders, sponsors, statutory organisations and influential bodies in a coherent and consistent way. It has now been extended for the wider sector to use and the completion of the standard takes a considerable organisational commitment from trustees, staff and volunteers. However this investment will reap rewards by enabling organisations to demonstrate quality, identify how to improve services and convey continuous improvement to potential funders.
Simple Quality Protects
- Demonstrates to funders the quality of your service
- Improves your effectiveness and efficiency
- Ensures services that fits clients’ needs
- Improves the satisfaction of service users, staff and volunteers
- Demonstrates services are delivered in a safe and secure way
- Identifies areas for improvement
- Ensures your services, policies and procedures are fit for local commissioning, tendering, procurement and funding.
The accreditation process is structured into six sections which should contain the information relevant to Bronze, Silver or Gold levels. Information can be stored online for ease of update and access but should be clearly indexed with required hard copy information maintained and displayed where appropriate.
The sections are -
|Governance & Leadership||Finance & Funding||Policies & Procedures|
|Administration & Management||Staff & Volunteers||Activities & Services|
Three levels of SQP Accreditation
Bronze level shows that minimum standards are in place. The emphasis here is upon the development of basic policies and administrative procedures, encouraging the management committee to think about planning, reviewing, communicating with users and showing that the organisation meets basic legislative requirements.
At this stage the organisation will be further developing their basic policies in response to the needs of the users and showing that it is both keeping up to date with changes and developments and collaborating with others. Planning will be a more significant part of the organisation and there will be a more formal process for staff and volunteers. High quality of service is demonstrated and the organisation has a good knowledge of relevant legislation and good practice.
The organisation now has its policies and procedures in place, staff and volunteer training is part of the culture. The strong and confident organisation is able to more fully involve users in decision making and discuss its work with funding agencies and statutory authorities as well as work in partnership to promote the needs of its clients.
Once an organisation feels that they have most of the required evidence for a particular level in place the next stage involves arranging a follow-up SQP meeting with an SQP Assessor whose role is to act as a ‘critical friend’ rather than as an ‘inspector’.
An SQP Assessor will then either go through the portfolio with someone from the organisation or arrange to do this separately prior to the meeting itself. The purpose of this meeting is to provide feedback and agree a timeframe for the organisation to pick up on and address any items of evidence that are still outstanding. Throughout this process, an assessment template is used a) to enable the assessor to carry out the assessment, b) to provide a framework for giving feedback to the group and c) to help with the record keeping of the awarding body.
Final SQP meeting and Certification
A final SQP meeting is then held to sign off the organisation’s portfolio and certify the level of SQP attained. This is followed by the organisation receiving their certificate at a later date.
What costs are involved
Basingstoke Voluntary Action charge a registration fee of £99 (Plus mileage costs if applicable) for Basingstoke & Deane registered organisations by direct debit for booking this quality mark for 3 years. Non registered Basingstoke groups or those outside of Basingstoke & Deane will incur additional costs. This includes an initial overview training and advice session plus ongoing support from the Group Development team. (Groups should aim for accreditation within six months from participation in the training session but within a year at most). This fee also includes support and any updates during year one and two and groups then pay £51 in year three which includes a second review to ensure accreditation is still valid and its extension for two additional years. Ideally, the £150 total should be paid up front prior to the initial training session to negate the requirement for additional invoicing. Annual charges may increase in line with inflation. This will not exceed 10% over the 3 years. (Note that these charges are under review as at September 2016)
In the event that a organisation wishes to be re-assessed to gain a higher level of SQP ie Silver or Gold. An additional assessment fee of £50 will be charged. If an organisation chooses to be initially assessed against a silver or gold standard they must let BVA know that this is the standard they seek to achieve and look at achieving this in their first year of assessment.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any SQP enquiries adding SQP Query in the email title.