Why do Quality Standards matter?
While anyone may make mistakes, when it comes to helping others it is important that we do everything in our power to minimise the risk of that happening: it can be highly damaging, with far-reaching consequences.
RAN believes that the process of organisations undertaking an accreditation process and achieving a Quality Standard helps reduce errors of this kind.
That is why we passionately believe in the importance of the Quality Standard accreditation process both for the prospective client, as well as for the organisation itself.
Our Quality Standard starts with the following statement:
"The right information and advice, given when people are facing a crisis or at their most vulnerable, can transform lives for the better"
Why have a RAN Quality Standard?
As detailed in our history, we were formed as the Reading Advice Network Project (a three year project funded by the National Lottery in conjunction with the Cabinet Office) was due to come to an end.
During that Project, concerns were raised about the detrimental effects that the wrong Information and Advice can have on people, and on the importance of Quality Standard accreditation, even if it is hard to achieve for an organisation.
All members of the Project acknowledged the need for an affordable, sector-specific, rigorous, collaborative and supportive Quality Standard accreditation process.
The RAN Quality Standard was therefore created to enable any organisation, no matter its size or workload, to engage with this process. RAN's accreditation encourages everyone in an organisation to pause, reflect on the way they work and helps them realign focus.
Our Quality Standard is heavily subsidised by RAN, is recognised by Reading Borough Council, who have made it a requirement for any organisation providing Information and Advice who receives a grant from them. Reading Borough Council are highly supportive of our Independent Assessors who collaborate with and encourage our Members, helping them through the process.
Quality Standard revision and Covid-19
Although RAN expects our Members to undertake Quality Standard assessments and, when the time comes, reassessments after holding the Standard for three years, RAN’s trustees have decided to suspend these assessment processes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is effective from November 2020 onwards as long as this notice is here on our website.
Most, if not all, of our Members have moved to online delivery of information and advice during this ongoing pandemic and its lockdowns, either instead of face-to-face and telephone provision, or in addition to those. Consequently, RAN has decided to revise our Quality Standard to include ‘online delivery’ as an additional legitimate method of providing information and advice to service users.
During early 2021, we are consulting our Members about these proposed revisions and will issue Version 3 of the RAN Quality Standard once we are all satisfied that it is fit for purpose.
Future assessments will use V3 and assess our Members’ online delivery alongside other methods.
If you want to know more about these proposed changes please contact us.
All-round quality reassurance for Information and Advice provided
Seeing the RAN Quality Standard logo is a reassurance to anyone approaching an organisation that the Information and Advice it delivers meets the very highest standards, those agreed upon by the sector as a whole, and through consultation with our Member organisations.
Unlike other national accreditation bodies, the RAN Quality Standard accreditation process has been devised for a broad variety of Information and Advice-giving bodies.
That the RAN Quality Standard is specific to our area, we feel is an added bonus as it increases its "recognisability" by the people and communities of Reading.
And while rigorous in its nature, our assessment processes support our Members as they implement any changes needed to acheve the Standard.