The CAS Quality Standard is an award which helps your organisation to build upon a firm foundation. It helps you to demonstrate your organisation has strong safeguarding and governance in place.
It was created for the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector by the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector.
Over 180 organisations in Suffolk have used the CAS Quality Standards to help them strengthen, build their confidence and embed effective practice across the organisation. Groups say it has:
- improved their confidence, resilience and efficiency through the implementation of robust policies and procedures.
- engaged staff across the organisation to be a part of embedding quality and development
What is the CAS Quality Standard?
The CAS Quality Standard means a commitment to quality. It can help you evidence that your organisation has the structure, policies and procedures in place to be a safe, well run provider of services.
It is an online portfolio – no carrying bulky paper based portfolios around, you securely upload your evidence showing how you meet the specified indicators in each section of the Standard. When you complete a section you can request an assessment review of it and you receive feedback on how you have met the indicators and any actions needed to meet the standard.
When you have met all of the indicators for the Quality Standard your portfolio is submitted to the Quality Standards Awarding panel for a decision.
It covers four vital sections:
- Health, safety and welfare
- Staff recruitment and development
- Organisation Management
Each of the four sections can be completed and assessed independently rather than wait to complete the entire portfolio before getting feedback.
Please be aware that the safeguarding section covers both children and adults at risk of harm as we follow a ‘Think family’ approach to supporting people and communities. It is also helps organisations meet their safeguarding requirements for the Charity Commission that states, ‘No one who comes in to contact with your organisation should experience harm’ including your staff, volunteers and service users.
The CAS Quality Standard is endorsed and supported by Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership. It is externally assessed by the Quality Standards Awards Panel comprised of Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk County Council Commissioning, Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership. It was developed in 2005 by VCSE sector organisations, for VCSE sector organisations.
Example below of what a section of a portfolio looks like
The red indicators will change colour after the section is assessed so you can see at a glance your progress or areas that require some further work. The ‘0%’ indicator also changes after assessment so you can see your achievements.
Please note that all groups registering from 1 December 2021 will complete the Safeguarding section: safeguarding children and adults at risk of harm as we are embedding the ‘Think family’ approach to safeguarding throughout the Quality Standard.
For instance, you may work with adults but they may also bring in children to your service and it is important that you are able to respond to any safeguarding children concerns. Alternatively you may work with children but they may reveal safeguarding concerns about an adult sibling, parent or you may even need to support an adult member of your team with safeguarding.
We ask you to meet the standard appropriately for your organisation and the levels of detail you supply will reflect the work of your organisation.
Some more reasons to do the Quality Standard
- Improve the quality, safety and consistency of your organisation’s services
- Improve customer and ‘stakeholders’ confidence that your organisation is ‘safe and well run’
- Provide evidence to funders and customers that your organisation is committed to robust quality assurance, continuous improvement and development
- Enable your organisation to review and benchmark your current practice
- You build your organisation on a robust framework, if you are setting up systems/services
- Prepares you to meet other regulatory frameworks requirements
“Completing the CAS Quality Standard has been a thorough but rewarding process. It has helped us to ensure that we are up to date with the organisation of our charity and policies and it is a good way to show to our supporters and donors that we take a professional and safe approach to our work with children and young people. The support from the CAS team during the process was excellent.”Christian Youth Ministries.
All of this is included in the QS support price
- a comprehensive standards framework
- a wide range of example policies and procedures
- example forms
- helpful links
- access to your secure online portfolio
- upload evidence direct to your portfolio
- see your progress towards achieving each section
- a user guide to get you started
- support from CAS to guide you through the process
- external verification
- secure online storage for evidence
- a CAS QS network newsletter
- children and young people’s organisation undertake the Suffolk Youth Charter
Frequently Asked Questions
It is suitable for all voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations who are part of the Community Action Suffolk network.
Joining the Community Action Suffolk Network is free and you can sign up online here to become part of our vibrant network.
The Award is valid for three years and groups can maintain and renew their Award by reengaging with the process by registering again.
The process can take a varying amount of time depending on an organisations circumstances but normally takes between three and twelve months to complete. For a sample of the framework click here, for a “What’s involved?” guide, click here.
It is also a good first step towards achieving other accredited Quality Standards, such as Investors in People
Yes. The information in your online portfolio is stored securely and is only accessible to necessary Community Action Suffolk staff and the people from your organisation that you register to have access. The Quality Standards Panel members will only have access to the portfolio for the time needed to fulfil their tasks in relation to the Quality Standards Panel.
£150 VCSE sector organisations (with income less than £100,000)
£275 VCSE sector organisations (with income more than £100,000)
£500 non VCSE sector