The RAN Quality Standard is designed to enable our Member organisations, their funders and their service users or clients to be conﬁdent that the organisation is providing a high-quality service to the people who come to them for help.
What does RAN's Quality Standard entail?
Our Quality Standard is set out in a self-assessment booklet which our Members work their way through with the support of our Assessors.
The Quality Standard is divided in two parts:
Part 1 is for organisations who signpost and give assisted information, and Part 2 is for organisations who give advice and do casework
Both parts of the Quality Standard ask you to consider whether your organisation:
- puts the needs of service users at the centre of your work
- trains, supports and develops your staff and volunteers
- properly supervises service delivery, and
- ensures that enquiries, and your responses to them, are properly recorded and checked
In addition, Part 2 also asks about the procedures you have in place for giving advice and doing casework.
Covid-19 and lockdown: RAN has suspended QS assessments and will be revising the Standard to V3, to include online delivery of information and advice. More here.
Is this right for everyone?
We think that every organisation engaged in providing Information and Advice to its clients should have Quality Standard accreditation.
Accreditation by some national bodies can be cumbersome and expensive. Fearing that this might be a strong deterrent for smaller organisations, RAN has devised its own Quality Standard tailored to the key needs of the Information and Advice sector in Reading.
Moreover, the assessment process has been devised to be as supportive as possible - with support available both from the Assessors and from other Member Organisations who have already been through the process. It may also be possible for RAN's Trustees, some of whom are from RAN Member organisations, to explain the Quality Standard and what's needed for the assessment, although Trustees are never involved in the Assessment Process itself.
RAN Quality Standard recognition
At RAN we are committed to being the "collective voice" of the Information and Advice sector which means we take our relationship seriously with policy making bodies. For this reason we consulted extensively with Reading Borough Council, who have strongly supported the development of the Quality Standard.
We are pleased they have recently reaffirmed their support. As part of their commissioning processes, Reading Borough Council have said "If successful in their Narrowing the Gap II bid to provide information, advice or non-statutory advocacy, all organisations will be expected to achieve the RAN Quality Standard accreditation or a suitable alternative within 12 months of being awarded a contract".
We campaign to ensure that the people and communities of Reading are fully aware of the importance of Quality Standards for Information and Advice they access, and to make the RAN Quality Standard Logo widely recognised.
I already have accreditation from another organisation, do I need RAN’s Quality Standard as well?
RAN's Quality Standard covers a number of elements surrounding the delivery of Information and Advice that are not covered by other Standards. However, where there are elements in the RAN Quality Standard that are covered by another Standard your organisation already possesses, you will be automatically recognised as having met these (each element is clearly identified and defined 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
Costs and conditions for assessment
There is no additional charge for the RAN Quality Standard assessment process as it is included in the £30 per annum Membership fee.
Member organisations will also have to achieve RVA's "Safe and Sound" Governance Mark, which focuses on good governance and management. The 'Safe & Sound' assessment process is also free and well supported by RVA.
Contact Us for more information about the RAN Quality Standard.
If you're a RAN Member, please Contact Us if you want to discuss the Standard or start the Assessment.
If you have concerns about the timescale to complete the assessment, you can Contact Us informally.
You can directly contact our Trustees who have involvement with the Quality Standard assessment process by emailing QS[at]readingadvicenetwork.org.uk
You can also speak with our Members who have successfully been through the assessment process.