Apply for PQASSO
If you would like to apply for the PQASSO Quality Mark, please complete our online application form.
Once you have completed the application form, your application will be processed and you will be invoiced for the review fee. We recommend you do not apply for the PQASSO Quality Mark until you have completed your self-assessment and are ready for your review to begin. However, if you wish to make an application and pay your review fee before you are ready to proceed, we are able to place you on hold for a maximum of 12 months.
Before completing the application, please read:
- the terms and conditions
- Achieving the PQASSO Quality Mark – a guide for applicants (PDF, 700KB), which will give you essential information about the peer review process.
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How far back should evidence go?
PQASSO recommends that documentary evidence is consistent, accessible, recent and dated (or CARD for short). How far back in time evidence will need to be gathered really does depend on the indicators in question.
For instance, if the indicator talks about the current year plan then that is all that is required. If it is asking for evidence of monitoring and evaluation leading to improvements then that may depend on project/activity life-cycle as to how far back to go.
For the purpose of gaining the PQASSO Quality Mark, assessors are primarily concerned with how the organisation is looking today and that they have systems in place for the future. Evidence may be older, but still current. For example, a job description may be four years old but still in use, in which case it would be acceptable to submit this as evidence.
As outlined in the introductory pages of your PQASSO workpack, evidence has to be C.A.R.D. - Consistent, Accessible, Recent and Dated. PQASSO is an evidence-based system. An evidence-based self-assessment involves asking yourselves whether or not you meet the requirements of each indicator and identifying the evidence you have to support your judgement.
PQASSO expects consistency across an organisation. You have to ask yourself if your policy is consistent with your practice. For example, indicator 8.1.3 says ‘Resources and working practices meet all health and safety and other relevant legal requirements’. The law doesn’t require you to have annual PAT testing done to all electric devices; but if you have an internal policy that requires you to have annual tests, then you must have evidence that this has been done.
It is also important to remember that PQASSO doesn’t require uniformity, which is often confused with consistency. Not all teams/projects have to be doing the same thing but they do need to be able to demonstrate how they meet the indicators in whichever way is appropriate to them. For example indicator 5.1.6 (3rd edition) indicator 5.1.8 (4th edition) says ‘Staff and volunteers get enough individual support and supervision to carry out their work effectively’. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to have the same level of supervision. Depending on people’s roles and experiences, some will need monthly supervision sessions, whereas others may meet every 4-8 weeks. A volunteer might only need two catch up meetings a year. What is crucial to question here is if staff and volunteers feel they receive ‘enough’ support and supervision. Equally, you also have to make sure that the level of actual supervision is in line with your internal policy (if you have one).
Evidence needs to be easily accessed by the people that need to find it. This does not require everyone to have copies of all policies and procedures, planning documents and other paper evidence. For example, you might not need to issue a hardcopy staff handbook to everyone. Instead you might have it available electronically and as long as everyone knows how to access this, then it is accessible. In addition, you need to consider what is appropriate to people’s roles. For example, a lone worker policy covering outreach workers might not be relevant for an office-based finance officer. So, although they wouldn’t need a copy of the policy, it would still be good practice to have it saved somewhere accessible for people to find easily in case they need it.
Your evidence has to be currently relevant. For some evidence this means two months, for other evidence it may be two years or more. You have to consider the time importance and context of the specific evidence. For example, your governing document might be in place for years or decades, whereas your reports to the Board or financial reports should occur every few weeks or months (depending on your size and structure).
In order to ensure that your evidence is recent and relevant it has to also be dated. Otherwise you won’t be able to test how recent it is, if it has been regularly updated, or if it has been reviewed after changes in legislation.