Reaching a shared understanding about quality Before you can engage in assessing and improving quality, it is helpful to reach a shared understanding. It is important to be clear about: the aims and objectives of adopting quality standards how quality sits alongside other management tools and systems the resources available. What does planning for quality entail? A number of other things need to be thought through, such as: do the relevant people understand what they will be committing to? what training will staff and trustees need? have resources been set aside for the work involved? does the organisation need any support, for example from an external consultant? what information is needed about different approaches? Getting the resources needed to ensure quality This early stage is also the time to consider the resources that may be needed: purchase costs for the standards, guidance material and external recognition costs from training or external consultancy support time investment in self-assessment, external assessment and in quality improvements. Talk to your funders about including an appropriate proportion of your costs in your funding bids for particular projects or services – they may be willing to support you, especially if they expect you to have a system in place. You may also find that funding is available to support quality initiatives in your area or field of work. Developing a quality plan Once an approach to quality has been agreed, decisions are then required on how to introduce it to the organisation. An overall plan or framework will consider: who will take a lead and manage the activities? who will be involved and how will they contribute? how will the information gathered through assessment be fed back into decision-making and work processes? how will quality planning be linked to other organisational planning? how will improvements be demonstrated and shared with others?