Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations (PQASSO)

Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations (PQASSO) is a quality assurance system that helps management to run an organisation effectively and efficiently. Created by and for the voluntary sector, it asks organisations to take a systematic look at what they do and to decide exactly where improvements are needed. It seeks to assist managers to plan, budget and allocate necessary resources for making these improvements over a realistic period.


PQASSO is an ‘off-the-shelf’ quality assurance system designed specifically for use within voluntary and community sector organisations. It provides a step-by-step approach to working out what an organisation is doing well and what could be improved.

Designed as a work pack, it aims to help organisations to set priorities for to improve their performance. PQASSO covers 12 quality standards and promotes continuous improvement through self assessment.

The 12 quality areas are:

  1. Planning for quality
  2. Governance
  3. Management
  4. User-centred service
  5. Staff and volunteers
  6. Training and development
  7. Managing money
  8. Managing resources
  9. Managing activities
  10. Networking and partnership
  11. Monitoring and evaluation
  12. Results.

The results quality area requires evidence about social, economic and environmental outcomes and impacts as well as financial and fundraising results and user satisfaction.

PQASSO offers a staged approach to implementing quality through three levels of achievement. The benefits of working with PQASSO rely on everyone involved being committed to making the necessary changes. A part of gaining that commitment involves stakeholders understanding the benefits for their organisations. PQASSO can be used for a single project or as a self-assessment tool for understanding the quality of the whole organisation.

The PQASSO Quality Mark is an externally assessed ‘kitemark’ to show that an organisation has met the PQASSO standards.

PQASSO was designed for small and medium-sized organisations and projects but can be used by voluntary and community organisations of all sizes, in all stages of development in the voluntary sector both in the UK and internationally.

Development, ownership and support

PQASSO is produced by NCVO Charities Evaluation Services.

Training Programme
Strategic overviews and practical training.

We offer tailored online and on-site training and briefings on Theory of Change, measuring social impact, commissioning for outcomes and social value, SROI, measuring local economic impact, community economic development, and more.

We also facilitate workshops to help you develop a Theory of Change for your programme or strategy. 

Clients include local authorities, universities, public health services, charities, community groups, membership bodies, and responsible businesses.

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by @nefconsulting