Volunteering Victoria (VV) took the decision to seek quality standards accreditation as an organisation with the aim of enhancing their reputation as a Peak Body and strengthening their internal systems, with the CEO favouring ISO accreditation. The LDC Group was asked to review various accreditation standards and provide advice on which would be most appropriate accreditation for VV. The LDC Group undertook a review of different standard certification and concluded that ISO accreditation would be an appropriate fit for Volunteering Victoria. The LDC Group was then contracted to assist VV to prepare for ISO2015 accreditation.
The LDC consultants initially took VV staff through an ISO familiarisation process to build their understanding what would be required for VV to meet ISO accreditation standards. This included identifying what work would be required as well as the documentation that would be needed to achieve certification.
This proved to be a valuable process for the organisation, and in recognition of the identified workload associated with preparing for accreditation and the ongoing effort to maintain accreditation, which was highlighted by the LDC team, the CEO appointed a part time quality officer to lead and support the work.
The next step involved the establishment of a Project Reference Group, which included three Managers from member agencies to provide oversight of the work and external perspective to review key documentation.
To assist VV to progress the work the LDC team produced a detailed Project Plan which outlined key steps:
An external auditor was contracted at this stage, and arrangements made for an interim audit visit to review progress, in particular to review VV’s initial documentation. This provided a clear pathway towards accreditation, which was successfully completed over a six month period.
The work undertaken as part of the preparation for accreditation identified the need for a strengthened management structure which was put in place to support the CEO and enable some responsibilities to be delegated from the CEO.
ISO accreditation is a significant undertaking and achieving successful accreditation required sustained leadership and commitment from both the CEO and Board to support the whole of organisation effort required, particularly for first time accreditation with all the additional work that required. This leadership, a clear project plan and dedicated part time quality officer provided senior management and staff with the guidance and support they to develop and maintain the organisations systems and processes going forward.
The LDC team worked with and supported the Quality Officer as she gradually took on greater responsibility for the accreditation and overall documentation. This was critical to enabling long-term accreditation maintenance when the LDC team contract finished.
We consider the appointment of LDC as external consultants to provide advice early in the process was also pivotal to success, ensuring that the organisation fully understood what they were taking on enabling them to put the necessary structures and processes in place to guide and support the work.