Quality Accreditation – ISO 9001
How delivery organisations operate is important as this can make a tangible difference to the people who benefit from the services they deliver. In essence, high quality services should deliver better services with better outcomes. Commissioners want to have confidence that the organisations they are giving funding to are working to a high standard across all levels and functions of the organisation. As a result, delivering a quality service is integral to the success and the achievement of outcomes for all organisations.
There are many different types of quality accreditation. One that is widely known and utilised by 3SC is ISO 9001. To demonstrate our commitment to quality we obtain ISO 9001 accreditation with the British Assessment Bureau https://www.british-assessment.co.uk/services/iso-certification/iso-9001-certification/ via an annual inspection, but there are also several other accreditation standards and organisations. 3SC use ISO 9001 as it is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a Quality Management System (QMS).
ISO 9001 requires 3SC to have a Quality Assurance System and Framework. The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is developed to provide assurance that standards of practice are at a level consistent with those expected by 3SC and our commissioners and stakeholders. It ensures compliance with contractual delivery expectations and aligns with the expectations of external inspection agencies. The QAF is a vehicle for continuous improvement and development activities which also enables our delivery organisationsto deliver improved, efficient and effective outcomes. By meeting the ISO 9001 standard we are able to show that we have the ability to consistently provide services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.
Part of the process for ISO 9001 requires the setting of objectives for quality. Setting objectives doesn’t just mean identifying what you intend to do but also to be clear about how you will measure your success against the quality of what you do. For example, in 3SC we have the following objective which we measure this through management information and stakeholder feedback:
- We endeavour to deliver our services to specification, on time and to the price quoted.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of accreditation. Every delivery organisation will usually establish some sort of internal standards and rules for operations, but accreditation ensures that delivery organisations not only meet regulations and standards set by a recognised, external organisation but are assessed and recognised as such against explicit criteria. Accreditation acts as an external stamp of approval on your organisation showing that you follow required standards and best practice.
However, accreditation isn’t just about reputation. Going through the accreditation process helps streamline operations and improve the quality of services which builds trust with customers and the community, all of which lead to better services and better outcomes for service users.
Denise Blackwell, Risk and Quality Manager, 3SC