RAN Quality Standard

The right information and advice, given when people are facing a crisis or at their most vulnerable, can transform lives for the better. The RAN Quality Standard is designed to enable your organisation, your funders and your service users to be confident you are giving a high-quality service to the people who come to you for help.

What is the Quality Standard?

The Quality Standard is set out in a self-assessment booklet (downloadable either by clicking on this link, or the image above).
It has two parts:
  • Part 1 is for organisations who signpost and give assisted information
  • Part 2 is for organisations who give advice and do casework.
Both parts focus on:
  • putting the needs of service users at the centre of what you do
  • developing your staff and volunteers
  • properly supervising service delivery
  • ensuring recording and checking is done properly
Part 2 also focuses on:
  • using good procedures when giving advice and doing casework

The Quality Standard forms part of the conditions for membership of RAN. Organisations who want to join RAN must:

  • commit themselves to achieving the Quality Standard
  • commit themselves to securing Reading Voluntary Action’s ‘Safe and Sound’ Governance Mark
  • pay a membership fee of £100, which covers them for three years

Is this right for my organisation? 

Reading Borough Council has strongly supported the development of the Quality Standard and in its last commissioning round would only give contracts to organisations giving information and advice that had joined RAN and made a commitment to achieve the Standard. Achieving the Quality Standard will give you a simple and easily recognisable Logo that will demonstrate the quality of your information and advice.
Any charity giving information and advice in Reading is eligible to join RAN. Becoming a member will give you:
  • networking opportunities with other organisations who give information and advice to the people and communities of Reading
  • training opportunities at reduced cost for your staff and volunteers, and
  • the chance to be part of a strong ‘unified voice’ to help shape service provision in Reading.

How much does it cost?

There is no charge either for assessment against the Quality Standard or for assessment against ‘Safe and Sound’. The only cost is the £100 membership fee.

How do I get started?

First, get hold of the Quality Standard booklet and decide whether Parts 1 or 2, or both Parts, apply to your organisation. Then use it as a self-assessment tool to work out how your organisation measures up to each of the key elements in the different sections. It is at this stage that we encourage you to contact us, because RAN is committed to doing all it can to help its member organisations achieve the Standard.

To arrange for an initial telephone consultation or visit, either complete our enquiry form (by following this link), email us at QS@readingadvicenetwork.org.uk, or phone Margaret Osborne, our Business Development Manager, on 07775 957 973.

That initial consultation may identify steps you need to take to prepare for assessment, and if this involves additional Quality Standards Logotraining or support from other RAN members we will make this available to you. If it shows that you are ready to be assessed we will arrange for the assessors to get in touch with you to fix a mutually convenient date for the assessment. The assessment will be carried out by two assessors and is likely to be completed within a single day.

At the end of the process, RAN will give you a Certificate demonstrating your achievement, and access to the RAN Quality Standard Logo which we will encourage you to use on all your marketing materials.

I already have accreditation from another organisation, do I need RAN’s Quality Standard as well?

The RAN Quality Standard covers a number of elements in delivering information and advice that are not covered by other Standards. However, where there are elements in the Quality Standard that are covered by another Standard that you hold, you will be automatically recognised as having met those elements. These elements are clearly identified in the self-assessment booklet.

RAN recognises three other relevant standards:

  • AQS – Advice Quality Standard
  • IIP – Investors in People
  • Matrix – Matrix Quality Standard for Information, Advice and Guidance Services

Reading Advice Forum

The Forum has been primarily set up to provide networking and training opportunities to voluntary and community sector organisations that offer information, advice and guidance services to people in Reading.

Forum Information