08-01-2015 | Epilepsy Ireland Delighted to Receive PQASSO Quality Mark

Epilepsy Ireland today received word that we have been awarded the Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations (PQASSO) Quality Mark Level 1 for charities following three years' work by the Epilepsy Ireland PQASSO working group. 

PQASSO is quality assurance system that offers a straightforward, user-friendly approach to strengthen all areas of an organisation; used systematically, it can help an organisation run more effectively and efficiently.

PQASSO is built on 12 topics or quality areas. These are the building blocks an organisation needs to be able to operate to a high standard. They are:

  1. Planning
  2. Governance
  3. Leadership and management
  4. User-centred service
  5. Managing people
  6. Learning and development
  7. Managing money
  8. Managing resources
  9. Communications and promotion
  10. Working with others
  11. Monitoring and evaluation
  12. Results

A PQASSO working group comprised of EI Board members, service users, managers, staff and support Officers from the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) was formed to systematically work through the 12 quality areas. The group collated evidence to support each quality area. At each meeting the collated documentation was reviewed, and if accepted entered into an evidence file. If it was felt that any more documentation was required for any indicator an action plan to develop this documentation was prepared and actioned. When this documentation was finalised the team reviewed the evidence to date to ensure it is sufficient to mark the standard as fully met.

Following each meeting of the group the PQASSO Champion would circulate a bulletin to all staff and EI Board members to that all parts of the organisation understand the organisation's purpose and plans, and work together to make them happen. 

In July 2014 Epilepsy Ireland completed the PQASSO desk top review process which included a Peer Review Work Book, which listed Epilepsy Ireland's list of evidence to support its achievement of each of the PQASSO standards, and seventeen specific documents. Epilepsy Ireland submitted all documentation to the Charities Evaluation Service, UK for review and successfully passed this stage of the process. 

A PQASSO reviewer was then appointed to review EIs head office and he visited Training for Success (TFS) IT Sligo, three EI regional offices, Kilkenny, Tullamore & Limerick, and interviewed all EI managers, specific staff and Board members. The reviewer stated that under the 12 Quality Standards that make up the PQASSO system for Level 1 of which there are 96 individual indicators, the reviewer felt that EI had not fully met on 3 of these. The PQASSO team reviewed these 3 indicators and submitted an Improvement Action Plan to the Charities Evaluation Service for review. This plan was approved and EI submitted amendment documentation for approval. 

Information on PQASSO can be found at www.ces-vol.org.uk/PQASSO