SQP – Platinum

Simple Quality Protects offers small voluntary groups a set of consistent processes to help them achieve the foundations of quality and safeguarding enabling small groups to focus on the content that matters rather than the makework administration of recreating policy documents from scratch.

SQP is a progressive programme, Platinum is the level awarded to organisations who seek to achieve external Quality Assurance standards designed for larger organisations such as:


PQASSO – (Practical Quality Assurance for Small Organisations)

This is designed specifically for small to medium sized community and voluntary organisations. It is a self assessment system where the organisation itself assesses its work and performance in 12 key areas.

Easy to use and can be achieved at your own pace. The workbook costs £98 and CD Rom to compliment the workbook is an additional £55.

PQASSO can now be externally accredited, leading to the PQASSO Quality Mark and is a nationally recognised award that offers users, as well as commissioners and funders, external verification of the quality and credibility of an organisation. The Quality Mark is also endorsed by The Charity Commission.

RCVDA can provide advice and support for groups wanting to use the PQASSO system.

PQASSO contact:
Charities Evaluation Services
4 Coldbath Square
London  EC1R 5HL
Tel 020 7713 5722


Investors in Volunteers

Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations which involve volunteers in their work. The Standard enables organisations to comprehensively review their volunteer management and also publicly demonstrates their commitment to volunteering.

The organisation managing the process in England is Volunteering England.

for more information visit the Investing in Volunteers website


Investors in People

Investors in People

This scheme concentrates on managing and supporting staff to help achieve your aims and does not look at all aspects of an organisation.

Like any employer, VCS organisations rely on people to provide products and services. Therefore, the most important investment any organisation makes is in the people who work (or volunteer) for it. IiP thus focuses on key aspects of an organisation’s capabilities as a good employer.

In particular it looks at:

  • how an organisation develops and communicates its aims, values and goals to its staff and volunteers (including how staff and volunteers are involved in the group’s business planning process)
  • how the organisation caters for its staff and volunteers’ learning and development needs
  • how staff and volunteers are valued and respected
  • how well managers manage and support their staff and volunteers (including what competencies and skills managers should have according to their seniority and level of responsibility within the organisation).

The Investors in People Standard is based on three key principles:

  • Plan – Developing strategies to improve the performance of the organisation
  • Do – Taking action to improve the performance of the organisation
  • Review – Evaluating the impact on the performance of the organisation.

Unless you can obtain funding for IiP, it can prove quite costly. Assessor costs are around £550 + per day. For a small organisation, assessment will normally require 2 days (half a day preliminary visit, one day of interviews and half a day to write the report).

For larger organisations the interviewing period may require two days or more. On the other hand most organisations report that the IiP process has been invaluable in sharpening up processes, focussing on staff and volunteer needs and creating a learning organisation.

Investors in People provide a wide range of online tools to help organisations work with the Standard. These tools are currently free to use and available for download or use online:


Investors in People UK
7-10 Chandos Street
Tel 020 7467 1900


Quality Mark

Quality Mark

This is designed for organisations providing legal information and advice to the public and is free to those in receipt of public, local authority or charitable funding. There are 3 standards relating to Information, General Help and Specialist Help. The system is fairly easy to use but potentially time-consuming and involves external assessment.

Quality Mark
Legal Services Commission
85 Grays Inn Road
London  WC1X 8TX
Tel 020 7759 0000


ISO 9001:2008

This is a group of standards that aims to help organisations achieve customer satisfaction by focusing on 'how things are done' . External assessment is carried out by a certification body. Although the standard was originally oriented towards the manufacturing sector, it has been developed over time to encompass both product and service organisations across all three sectors.

Many VCS organisations, however, are now having to look at ISO 9001 in order to qualify for a local authority tender or to achieve preferred supplier status. ISO 9001accreditation attracts the highest score on a PQQ (Pre-qualification Questionnaire) or full tender submission and is the only externally verified and EU recognised quality system (Office for Government Commerce Guidance 2007)

Whilst previously, there has been little take-up of this system in the voluntary sector this situation is now changing. More and more voluntary organisations are going the route of ISO 9001and RCVDA itself is currently in the process of developing and implementing its own ISO 9001:2008 quality system.

To find out more