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NAVCA to take over Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation from NCVO

NCVO and NAVCA reached an agreement which saw the Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation (VCQA) transfer to NAVCA from 1 January 2022. This move will bring more certainty to funders, commissioners, and also holders of the sought-after quality assurance mark.

Sarah Vibert, interim chief executive at NCVO, commented:

Following a strategic review, NCVO has taken the difficult decision to stop providing VCQA. We are delighted to announce that formal agreement has been made to transfer ownership rights of VCQA to NAVCA. We support the continuation of this important mark and wish NAVCA and all VCQA holders and applicants the very best for the future.

Maddy Desforges, chief executive of NAVCA said:

Taking on this quality assurance is a good fit with NAVCA’s strategic aim of assuring the quality across VCS local infrastructure organisations.

We are delighted that the future of the VCQA has been agreed. This will bring certainty to those Volunteer Centres which are already accredited, as well as making sure the scheme is still open for the future.

NAVCA has also been redeveloping our Quality Award and the refreshed and rebranded Local Infrastructure Quality Standard will be launched in the spring. The two schemes – VCQA and LIQS – complement each other well and will continue to provide valuable assurance to funders, commissioners, the general public and other stakeholders.

NAVCA has worked closely with existing holders of the VCQA to understand the need and potential for the standard. Feedback demonstrated that there was scope for both a content refresh - to better reflect current volunteer centre practice - and an opportunity to streamline the assessment process for gaining accreditation, as well as building in opportunities for learning and development as part of the VCQA renewal pathway.

Work is currently underway to complete a first draft of the refreshed VCQA guidelines, alongside a new system of assessment that NAVCA will pilot and refine from the spring.

Current VCQA holders have already had their accreditation status extended by NCVO to March 2022 and NAVCA will continue to honour this extension period to enable sufficient time to undertake any renewal process as part of a ‘staggered’ transition of the assurance mark.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

About NCVO

NCVO (National Council of Voluntary Organisations) is the largest membership organisation for the voluntary sector in England. With almost 17,000 members, NCVO represents all types of organisations, from large ‘household name’ charities to small voluntary and community groups involved at the local level. We are also the lead body for volunteering in England. To find out more visit NCVO's website.

About NAVCA

NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action) is the only national membership body specifically for local sector support and development organisations (also known as local infrastructure) in England. Alongside our members, we are part of the movement for local social action. 

Our members support over 200,000 local charities and voluntary groups across the country, helping them to thrive and deliver essential services within their communities. 

What is the VCQA?

Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation (VCQA) is the quality mark for Volunteer Centres (and other organisations providing Volunteer Centre functions). Accreditation provides assurance to commissioners and funders, as well as members of the public and volunteer-involving organisations, that the Volunteer Centre is providing high quality and effective service. Established in 2001, the VCQA Standard has been achieved by over 90% of Volunteer Centres across England. Accreditation lasts for three years.

The Standard covers the five core functions of a Volunteer Centre’s work:

  • Strategic Development of Volunteering
  • Good Practice Development
  • Developing Volunteering Opportunities
  • Voice of Volunteering
  • Brokerage

What does this mean for accredited Volunteer Centres?

Current VCQA holders have already had their accreditation status extended by NCVO to March 2022. Upon transfer of VCQA, NAVCA as awarding body will continue to honour this extension period. If necessary, a further extension for individual VCQA holders’ accreditation status will be granted to enable sufficient time to undertake the renewal process. This will form part of a ‘staggered’ transition across to NAVCA ownership.

The VCQA – 2022 and beyond

NAVCA’s engagement programme ran throughout the summer of 2021. Stakeholders, primarily VCQA holders, were consulted as to how the VCQA could benefit from a refresh and system overhaul. Feedback demonstrated that there was scope for both a content refresh - to better reflect current volunteer centre practice - and an opportunity to streamline the assessment process for gaining accreditation, as well as building in opportunities for learning and development as part of the VCQA renewal pathway.

Work is currently underway to complete a first draft of the refreshed VCQA, alongside a new system of assessment, that NAVCA will pilot and refine from January 2022.

NAVCA encourage current VCQA holders to express interest in taking part in the piloting of the new standards in order to test and refine the updated VCQA prior to launch in March 2022. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register interest.

Find more information

Anna Pashley
Head of Membership, NAVCA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
0114 312 2786

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