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Home | Establishing Quality Standards

Establishing Quality Standards

Organisational Quality

The term quality is often linked to “fitness for purpose”, recognising that both a Rolls Royce and Ford Mondeo may be quality vehicles, but aimed at different price levels and customer markets.

There are a number of familiar organisational standards, including Investors in People (IIP), ISO 9001 and Pqasso – Practical Quality Assurance for Small Organisations, and copyrighted by CES. The latter is promoted by the Charities Evaluation Service (CES). It has recently published its Third Edition of the Pqasso Handbook, in which it invites organisations to assess themselves, or be assessed externally, in relation to 12 Quality Themes, and at three possible levels.

Pqasso is based on the assessment of 12 quality areas:

  • Planning
  • Governance
  • Leadership and management
  • User- centred
  • Managing people
  • Learning and development
  • Managing money
  • Communications and promotion
  • Working with others
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Results

Surrey Youth Focus attained Level 1 Pqasso in September 2014, after a process of external assessment.  

Level 2 Pqasso is the only quality mark accepted by the Charity Commission.


Youth work standards

NYA Quality Mark

In the same way as quality is addressed above in Organisational Quality, so too a total systems approach is applied to Youth Work – for example compare the two sets of bullet points above/below.

The National Youth Agency (NYA) has promoted this total quality approach – the Quality Mark framework, visit their website at:

“There are eleven standards which form the operating standards or components to a quality organisation:"

  • performance management; 
  • management information; 
  • quality assurance; 
  • equality and diversity; 
  • curriculum/programme of activities; 
  • legal requirements; 
  • personal and social development; 
  • involving young people; 
  • workforce development; 
  • partnerships and
  • resources

"The NYA Quality Mark has been designed as a management tool to support an organisation's development and improvement of its quality management systems. It tests the processes and structures, which are the building blocks of an organisation. By using the self-assessment framework, organisations will be able to check monitoring and reviewing procedures and how management information is used to improve the quality, impact and outcomes of an organisations."


Hear by rights

This is a further NYA initiative in conjunction with Participation Works. The latter has produced a guide to the voluntary sector about involving.

What's changed?

This is a tool for measuring the impact of youth work activity and is one used by Surrey Youth Focus’ Youth Development Worker. It builds on the Hear by Right approach and examines the impact of the youth work undertaken from three perspectives: of young people themselves, the organisation – probably the youth worker, and other adults in the community (residents, parents, PCSO's, etc). Details of the tool and some projects to which it has been applied are on the Case Studies page.

Other measures

Increasingly youth workers in both the statutory and the voluntary sector are having to demonstrate Recorded Outcomes. There are three further aspects to quality standards in youth work:



The simple act of giving encouragement and profile to the achievements of young people. The annual Celebration of Youth we organise is a good example of this.



Surrey County Council's Youth Development Service has published a guide to the accreditations it supports and commends to the voluntary sector. These are:




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