New bilingual version of quality assurance standard

The first bilingual edition of a well-established quality standard written by the third sector, for the third sector, was launched at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, on 10th June.

The PQASSO quality standard can help organisations to ‘do things better’, and the launch features presentations from speakers whose organisations have previously achieved the standard.

‘PQASSO has been written by the sector, for the sector and is a tried and tested approach to quality management and is flexible enough that it can be used by organisations of all sizes, and we are delighted that we now have a version which is available in Welsh for the first time and which reflects the bilingual context in which organisations work,’ said Caroline Cook, NCVO’s PQASSO Programme Manager.

‘WCVA is delighted to be working with NCVO to deliver and promote the PQASSO for Wales project’, ’ said Ruth Marks, Chief Executive of Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

PQASSO for Wales is a five-year project, running until the end of 2018, which aims to strengthen quality management in the third sector and create a culture of continuous improvement.

It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), working in partnership with WCVA. The standard is also being produced as a new online tool and in Welsh for the first time.

Ms Marks added: ‘Developing fit for purpose organisations, from providing funding advice, to training, to supporting work on demonstrating outcomes and impact and good governance, to Investing in Volunteers, all contribute to developing well-run third sector organisations and reflect the quality areas of PQASSO.

‘In an economic environment where funding sources are strained, funders and commissioners are becoming increasingly interested in quality standards as a way of demonstrating that their money is being used efficiently and effectively to produce the best outcomes for users. 

‘PQASSO provides a way to do this and to look at doing things better – not just the way in which the organisation runs, but also the services it delivers.’

Along with Ruth Marks, other speakers at the event are Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker; Becky Hancock, Deputy Chief Executive of Welsh Centre for Action on Dependency and Addiction; and Helen Swain, Director of Torfaen Women’s Aid.

The PQASSO for Wales project aims to:

  • select 125 organisations to take part
  • give 400 newly-formed and very small groups an organisational health check as a stepping stone to implementing the PQASSO standard at level 1
  • recruit 25 PQASSO mentors across Wales to train and support organisations in their area to implement PQASSO
  • recruit eight to 10 assessors across Wales to conduct the external assessment process for the PQASSO Quality Mark
  • offer a bursary scheme for certain organisations covering the costs of the external assessment for the PQASSO Quality Mark

An expression of interest round was launched on 1 June to identify the 125 organisations taking part in the project.

‘For organisations using the PQASSO standard in Wales, it will include new requirements around identifying language requirements and demonstrating the use of the Welsh language in the development and delivery of services, and in other aspects of organisational life,’ Ruth Marks said.