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PQASSO Quality Mark terms and conditions

Assessment general terms and conditions

1. Definitions

The following words shall have the following meanings:

1.1 ‘NCVO’ means The National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

1.2 'Organisation' means the organisation to be assessed.

1.3 ‘Fees’ means the fees referred to in Schedule 1.

1.4 ‘Final Report’ means the report issued pursuant to Clause 4 of the Assessment Process document.

1.5 'Lead Assessor' means an Assessor appointed by NCVO to lead the Assessment.

1.6 'Parties' means NCVO and the Organisation.

1.7 'PQASSO' means NCVOs practical quality assurance system for voluntary and community organisations.

1.8 'PQASSO Quality Mark' means NCVOs badge of achievement issued to voluntary and community organisations upon achieving certain standards pursuant to an assessment process as set out in the Guide for Applicants.

1.9 'Assessor’ means an assessor appointed by NCVO to assess the Organisation pursuant to an Assessment.

1.10 'Process' means the Assessment process as set out herein and in the Guide for Applicants.

1.11 'Reports' means all reports, documentation, presentations or documents in whatever form that NCVO or the Assessor shall or may create or deliver as part of the Assessment.

1.12 'Assessment' means the assessment conducted by the Assessor to assess whether the Organisation meets the PQASSO standards.

1.13 ‘Sterling’ means the lawful currency of the United Kingdom.

2. The Organisation's obligations

In addition to any other obligation, the Organisation will:

2.1 pay the legitimate expenses of the Assessor in accordance with any agreement made with the Assessor. NCVO may not issue the PQASSO Quality Mark until it is satisfied that such expenses have been paid or do not need to be paid;

2.2 comply with any relevant written guidance, documents or rules, as amended from time to time, governing the use of the PQASSO Quality Mark and other NCVO materials including in particular the provisions of the Assessment Process document, these Terms and Conditions, the Guide for Applicants and any licence granted pursuant to the Terms and Conditions;

2.3 pay an Assessor for any additional reasonable costs and expenses incurred by them which are a result of the Organisation's inappropriate instructions, or failure to provide instructions, or failure to comply with any of the provisions of Clause 16 of the Assessment Process document;

3. Fees, payment and cancellation

3.1 Payment of the Fees for the Assessment shall be made in accordance with Schedule 1.

3.2 If the Organisation postpones or cancels an Assessment or part of it, NCVO reserves the right to levy a charge equal to the cost of the service so far carried out and/or in respect of any loss NCVO has or will suffer, as indicated in Schedule 2.

3.3 In the event of cancellation of an Assessment by NCVO, a refund will be made to the Organisation in accordance with Schedule 2.

4. Terms of Use of the PQASSO Quality Mark

Upon the Lead Assessor’s Final Report recommending that the Organisation be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark, NCVO may approve the Organisation's right to use the PQASSO Quality Mark. In the event of an approval NCVO shall grant to the Organisation a licence for a period of 3 years from the date of approval to use the PQASSO Quality Mark in all print and electronic media, signs, buildings, vehicles and other such medium that may be beneficial to the Organisation in promoting itself. For the avoidance of doubt reproduction of the PQASSO Quality Mark, attached as Schedule 3 (or as notified to the Organisation from time to time), must take place in full. Partial reproduction may only take place with NCVOs prior written consent. Further details of the terms of use will be provided to the Organisation and are available upon request.

5. Copyright

Reproduction or provision to a third party of any material or articles in respect of which NCVO is the legal and/or beneficial owner or licensee including in particular commercial entities, in whole or in part whether for the reproduction, distribution, sale or otherwise howsoever, is strictly prohibited. No copyright work which the Organisation has been licensed to reproduce may be sold, sub-licensed or given away to any third party whether or not for gain. Sub licensing of any copyright work is strictly prohibited. The Organisation shall not assert any claim as proprietor, author or owner nor seek to profit from any use and any money or other benefit received as a result of use of any copyright work, shall, unless agreed otherwise, be held on trust for NCVO.

6. Confidential Information

6.1       Each Party ('Receiving Party') shall keep the Confidential Information of the other Party ('Supplying Party') confidential and secret, whether disclosed to or received by the Receiving Party. The Receiving Party shall only use the Confidential Information of the Supplying Party for the Purpose and for performing the Receiving Party's obligations under these Terms and Conditions.

6.2       Where the Receiving Party is under a compulsion of law, or by agreement to reveal confidential information from the Supplying Party, the Receiving party shall notify the Supplying Party of release, unless specifically prohibited from doing so by order of law.

6.3       This Clause 6 shall survive termination for a period of 2 years.

7. Warranties, liability and indemnities

7.1 NCVO will use reasonable care and skill in ensuring that the Assessment is carried out and to a standard which conforms to generally accepted industry standards and practices in the UK.

7.2 NCVO expressly does not warrant that any result or objective whether stated in these Terms and Conditions or not shall be achieved, be achievable or be attained at all or by a given completion date or any other date.

7.3 Except in the case of death or personal injury caused by NCVOs negligence, NCVO, Assessor, and Appeal Panel Member’s liability, whether in contract, tort, negligence, breach of statutory duty or as a result of any act or omission of NCVO or of an Assessor or Appeal Panel Member, shall not exceed the Fee paid to NCVO.

7.4 NCVO, Assessor, and Appeal Panel Member shall not be liable to the Organisation in contract, tort, negligence, breach of statutory duty or otherwise for any loss, damage, costs or expenses of any nature whatsoever incurred or suffered by the Organisation of an indirect or consequential nature including without limitation any economic loss or other loss of turnover, profits, business or goodwill whether as a result of an act or omission by NCVO, an Assessor, or Appeal Panel Member.

7.5 The Organisation shall indemnify and hold harmless NCVO from and against all claims, loss, damage, liability, injury to NCVO, including its officers and employees or Agents and third parties, infringement of third party intellectual property, or third party losses arising in consequence of any breach of these Terms and Conditions and associated documents by the Organisation or arising out of any information supplied to the Organisation by NCVO, its officers, employees or Agents, or supplied to NCVO by the Organisation.

7.6 The Organisation is responsible for ensuring it has appropriate insurance in place to cover the work of an Assessor when at the Organisation's premises or anywhere under its control and will produce a copy of any policy, schedule and other documents if requested.

8. Termination

8.1 NCVO shall have the right (in addition to any other rights which it has at law) to terminate the agreement (and any licence granted to use the PQASSO Quality Mark pursuant to these Terms and Conditions) immediately:

8.1.1 if the Organisation is in breach by an obligation and, where the breach is capable of remedy, the breach has not been remedied within 14 days of the Organisation receiving notice from NCVO specifying the breach and requiring the breach to be remedied; or
8.1.2 if the Organisation commits any fundamental breach of these Terms and Conditions or and associated documents or breaches any terms of them which are not capable of being remedied; or
8.1.3 if the organisation fails to inform NCVO of any subsequent significant failure to meet any of the indicators in the PQASSO standards for the period that the PQASSO Quality Mark award is valid; or
8.1.4 if an order is made or a resolution is passed for the winding up of the Organisation (other than voluntarily for the purpose of solvent amalgamation or re-construction), or if an administrator, administrative receiver or receiver is appointed in respect of the whole or any part of the Organisation's assets or business, or if the Organisation makes any composition with its creditors or takes or suffers any similar or analogous action in consequence of debt, or if an order, appointment, or composition or similar or analogous action is made in a jurisdiction other than England and Wales which has a similar effect.

8.2 At the date of termination any license granted shall immediately cease to be valid and the Organisation shall destroy the certificate and any associated materials bearing any representation or reference to the PQASSO Quality Mark.

9. Assignment

NCVO may delegate, sub-contract, mortgage, assign and/or transfer all its rights and obligations to any person.

10. Entire agreement and understanding

These Terms and Conditions, the Assessment Process document and other associated documents contain the whole agreement between the parties in respect of subject matter of agreement and supersede and replace any prior written or oral agreements, representations or understandings between them relating to such subject matter. The Organisation confirms that it has not entered into this agreement on the basis of any representation that is not expressly incorporated into these Terms and Conditions or associated documents.

11. Severance

If any provision of these Terms and Conditions or associated documents are prohibited by law or judged by a court to be unlawful, void or unenforceable, the provision shall, to the extent required, be severed and rendered ineffective as far as possible without modifying the remaining provisions, and shall not in any way affect any other circumstances of or the validity or enforcement of these Terms and Conditions. All of the provisions of the remainder of the terms and associated documents which are capable of having effect after termination shall survive and remain in full force.

12. Interpretation

In these Terms and Conditions and associated documents unless the context otherwise requires words importing the singular number include the plural number and vice versa; words importing persons include firms, companies and corporations and vice versa; any obligation on any party not to do or omit to do anything is to include an obligation not to allow that thing to be done or omitted to be done; the headings to the clauses, schedules and paragraphs of these Terms and Conditions and associated documents are not to affect the interpretation; any reference to an enactment includes reference to that enactment as amended or replaced from time to time and to any subordinate legislation or byelaw made under that enactment; where the word 'including' is used, it shall be understood as meaning 'including without limitation'.

13. Law and jurisdiction

The validity, construction and performance of these Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English and Welsh law, Scottish law, Northern Ireland law, as or where appropriate and the parties hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland in connection with any dispute arising under or in connection with it.

14. Third parties

For the purposes of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 and notwithstanding any other provision of these Terms and Conditions and associated documents they are not intended to, and do not, give any person who is not a party to them any right to enforce any of its provisions, save that Assessors and Appeal Panel Members may enforce relevant provisions.

Schedule 1

1. The Fee payable to NCVO as at the time of provision of these Terms and Conditions shall be the applicable sum payable in Sterling as set out in the sliding scale at https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/quality-and-standards/pqasso/pqasso-accreditation.

2. NCVO shall render an invoice upon acceptance of these Terms and Conditions which shall become payable upon receipt. The assessment will not commence until full payment for the PQASSO Quality Mark assessment fee has been received.

3. The Fees on the website for the PQASSO Quality Mark are exclusive of VAT, however, VAT and/or any other taxes applicable will be added to the invoice issued to you.

4. The Fee is exclusive of the Assessor expenses which the Organisation must reimburse in Sterling.

5. If the Organisation fails to make any payment on the due date then without prejudice to any of NCVOs other rights NCVO may suspend or cancel work or delivery of any Assessment or other material due to the Organisation and shall not be obliged to comply with any of its obligations under these Terms and Conditions until full payment is made. For the avoidance of doubt, late or non-payment of any sum shall constitute a material and fundamental breach of these Terms and Conditions.

6. Payment of any other sum and VAT, where applicable, shall be due as set out in these Terms and Conditions or as otherwise agreed in writing between the parties but in the absence of such variation, shall be due no later than 30 days after the invoice date. For the avoidance of doubt, a fax transmission sheet indicating that an invoice was sent to the Organisation shall serve as conclusive proof that it was received.

7. The Organisation may not withhold payment of any amount due to NCVO by reason of any right of set off or counter claim which the Organisation may have or alleges to have for any reason whatsoever.

8. Time for payment shall always be of the essence.

9. NCVO reserves the right to amend the rates set out at www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/pqasso/pqasso-quality-mark by giving prior notice to the Organisation.

Schedule 2

Costs of cancellation and postponement

1. In the event of cancellation or postponement by the Organisation of the Assessment after accepting these Terms and Conditions but prior to the desktop review stage, the following fees will remain due and will be payable in Sterling:

a. 14 calendar days or more prior to desktop review stage 100% of the NCVO administration fee (currently £300)

b. 3 - 14 calendar days prior to desktop review stage 40% of the Fee for the Assessment

c. Less than 3 calendar days prior to desktop review stage 50% of the Fee for the Assessment

2. In the event of cancellation or postponement by the Organisation after the Desktop review stage but prior to the site visit taking place or termination of the assessment at desktop stage by NCVO if the organisation is not ready for the site visit, the following fees will remain due and will be payable in Sterling:

a. 14 calendar days prior to the site visit stage 60% of the Fee for the Assessment

b. 3 - 14 calendar days prior to the site visit stage 70% of the Fee for the Assessment

c. Less than 3 calendar days prior to the site visit stage 80% of the Fee for the Assessment

3. In the event of the failure of the Organisation to complete the improvement actions post the site visit, within the agreed period, there will be no refund of any fees paid by the Organisation and all sums due shall remain payable.

4. In the event of NCVO cancelling an Assessment (where the Organisation is not in breach of any obligations hereunder or under any ancillary agreement or licence) the Organisation shall be entitled to a refund of all fees paid to NCVO in respect of the Assessment.

5. The Organisation agrees that all amounts referred to in these Terms and Conditions represent a reasonable pre estimation of NCVO loss.

Assessment process

This document contains provisions in relation to the Assessment Process and should be read in conjunction with the General Terms and Conditions.

1. Assessment

1.1 NCVO agrees to arrange an Assessment of the Organisation and shall, where appropriate, award the Organisation the PQASSO Quality Mark subject always to the provisions of the applicable Terms and Conditions and any licence granted pursuant to them.

1.2 NCVO undertakes to provide personnel who are suitably qualified under generally accepted industry standards in the UK, and to instruct an Assessor to perform the services hereunder.

1.3 The Assessment will involve a two stage process:

1.3.1 a desktop review of documents as requested in accordance with the criteria set out in desktop review list as notified to the Organisation.

1.3.2 a site visit at time(s) to be agreed.

1.4 Both stages will involve an assessment against predetermined criteria followed by the production by the Lead Assessor of a draft Report then a Final Report(s) in order to determine whether the Organisation meets the required standards.

1.5 A site visit will only be conducted once the Lead Assessor is satisfied that the Organisation has been successful at the desktop review stage.

1.6 The Organisation acknowledges and agrees that for an Assessment to take place it shall:

1.6.1 pay the agreed fee(s);

1.6.2 co-operate with NCVO and the Assessor as is required;

1.6.3 provide to NCVO and the Assessor such information and documentation as is reasonably required by the times agreed;

1.6.4 make available to the Assessor the facilities, resources, working space and staff as has been agreed and/or as NCVO and the Assessor reasonably require to conduct the Assessment; and

1.6.5 instruct the Organisation's staff and agents to co-operate and assist NCVO and the Assessor.

2. Desktop Review

2.1 In the event that the Organisation fails to provide the documents or other information by the time(s) specified by the Lead Assessor, NCVO may terminate the Assessment in accordance with the applicable Terms and Conditions.

2.2 In the event that the Lead Assessor deems that the Organisation has been unsuccessful at the desktop review stage, NCVO may terminate the Assessment in accordance with the applicable Terms and Conditions.

3. Site Visit

3.1 The Organisation and the Assessor shall endeavour to agree the time and place for performance of the site visit, taking account of the availability of the Organisation's staff and the Assessment team.

3.2 NCVO and the Lead Assessor shall use reasonable endeavours to ensure the Assessment is completed by any agreed timescale and to meet such other dates as are agreed. Time shall not be of the essence for any times for when the Assessment is to be performed, whether given or agreed to by NCVO, or for the length of time that the Assessment is to take, whether specified in writing or otherwise.

4. Full Report

4.1 Within 14 calendar days (2 weeks) from the date of the site visit, the Lead Assessor will produce a draft Full Report setting out their findings, a copy of which will be provided to NCVO for moderation.

4.2 Within 14 calendar days (2 weeks) of receipt of the draft Full Report NCVO will undertake a quality control/moderation review of the draft Full Report to ensure that there has been no material departure from the published assessment criteria and that the Full Report contains no serious errors or irregularities. The Lead Assessor with appropriate guidance and feedback from NCVO shall amend and finalise their draft Full Report.

4.3 Following NCVOs moderation, the Assessor sends the draft Full Report to the Organisation. Within 14 calendar days (2 weeks) of receipt of the draft Full Report the Organisation may inform the Lead Assessor in writing of any observations in relation to factual errors or omissions only. The Lead Assessor shall, at their discretion amend and finalise their draft Full Report. The final Full Report shall:

4.3.1 Recommend that the Organisation be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark; or

4.3.2 Recommend that the Organisation should not be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark until improvement actions have been satisfactorily undertaken or complied with.

4.4 The Assessment team signs the final Full Report and sends it to the Organisation. A representative of the Organisation counter signs the final Full Report and submits it to NCVO.

5. Improvement Actions

5.1 The Lead Assessor shall notify the Organisation of areas where improvement actions are required by the conclusion of the site assessment.

5.2 In addition, the Lead Assessor shall, in their Full Report, identify any areas or instances where there was no or insufficient evidence demonstrating that an indicator (or indicators) were fully met and shall set out the areas where improvement actions are or were required.

5.3 The Organisation will have up to 14 calendar days (2 weeks) from the conclusion of the site visit to send an Improvement Action Plan to the Lead Assessor, setting out the steps it intends to take.

5.4 The Lead Assessor shall consider the Improvement Action Plan and shall, within 14 calendar days (2 weeks) of receipt, inform the Organisation of any comments they may have in relation thereto.

5.5 The Organisation will have up to 8 weeks from the date of the Lead Assessor’s response to its Improvement Action Plan to carry out the improvement actions. The Organisation must submit evidence to the Lead Assessor which demonstrates to the Lead Assessor’s satisfaction that improvement actions have been undertaken.

5.6 Failure to submit evidence that the Improvement Action Plan has been completed within the requisite time frame will result in the Assessment process being terminated.

6. Improvement Action Report

6.1 Within 14 calendar days (2 weeks) from the deadline for the completion of improvement actions, the Lead Assessor will produce a draft Improvement Action Report setting out their findings, a copy of which will be provided to NCVO for moderation.

6.2 Within 14 calendar days (2 weeks) of receipt of the draft Improvement Action Report, NCVO will undertake a quality control/moderation review of the draft Improvement Action Report to ensure that there has been no material departure from the published assessment criteria and that the Improvement Action Report contains no serious errors or irregularities. The Lead Assessor with appropriate guidance and feedback from NCVO shall amend and finalise their draft Improvement Action Report. The final Improvement Action Report shall:

6.2.1 Recommend that the Organisation be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark; or

6.2.2 Recommend that the Organisation should not be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark.

6.3 The Assessment team signs the final Improvement Action Report and sends it to the Organisation. A representative of the Organisation counter signs the final Improvement Action Report and submits it to NCVO.

7. Award

7.1 Where the final Full Report and Improvement Action Report (if applicable) contains a recommendation that the Organisation should be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark, NCVO will confirm to the Organisation in writing its right to use the PQASSO Quality Mark and shall grant a licence to use the same for a period of 3 years, subject to 7.2 below.

7.2 In the event that NCVO considers that a recommendation to award the PQASSO Quality Mark was flawed because of a material departure from the published assessment criteria or due to some other serious error or irregularity, it may decline to award the PQASSO Quality Mark. In those circumstances NCVO shall write to the Organisation setting out the reasons for its decision and may, where appropriate, afford the Organisation the opportunity within such time frame as NCVO shall specify, to provide such further information and/or documents as NCVO shall determine are required in order to justify awarding the PQASSO Quality Mark.

7.3 In the event that the Organisation fails to provide such information and/or documents as NCVO has specified within the time frame notified to it, NCVO shall confirm in writing its decision not to award the PQASSO Quality Mark.

8. The Organisation may request a fresh Assessment any time after the conclusion of any live Assessment Process. The cost of any fresh Assessment would be payable by the organisation.

9. At any time during the assessment process NCVO may in its absolute discretion provide an extension of time if the Organisation can demonstrate there are exceptional or extenuating circumstances.

10. An Organisation may, in certain limited circumstances, appeal NCVOs decision not to award the PQASSO Quality Mark provided it does so within 28 days of receipt of the decision. Further details regarding the Appeal process are available upon request. This document contains provisions in relation to the Assessment Process and should be read in conjunction with the General Terms and Conditions.

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