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Carers of West Lothian: benefits of achieving the PQASSO Quality Mark

Carers of West Lothian provides a range of services to vulnerable people caring for a family member or friend, from the provision of relevant information and emotional support, to facilitating peer support groups, individual counselling sessions, therapeutic interventions, and social opportunities or time out from their caring role.

carers west lothianCarers of West Lothian is the first organisation to be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark at levels 1, 2 and 3 in succession.

Before deciding to use PQASSO, the organisation had two key areas they wished to improve. They wanted to look at the organisation as a whole with a view to improving how they operated in order to provide better quality of services to the unpaid carers they supported. They were also, to some extent, dependant on specific core funding and wanted to ensure that in any funding decisions Carers of West Lothian was seen as a quality organisation to fund.

In implementing PQASSO and achieving the PQASSO Quality Mark, Carers of West Lothian identified a number of positive changes to the way they were operating both internally and externally. PQASSO brought about a clearer focus on longer-term strategic aims. A closer look at their strategic direction identified the need for more appropriate premises to increase the variety of services they offered in line with carers' changing needs. The move to new premises took place in June 2014.

PQASSO also enabled the organisation to look more closely at how they communicated both internally and externally to ensure the needs of carers, staff and volunteers were being developed in line with their feedback. More systematic processes were put into place and were embedded into the day to day running of the organisation. Through the regular review of policies they cut down on risks associated with out-of-date policies and more efficient working processes were put in place that reduced effort involved.

Since working with PQASSO, the organisation have supported an increasing number of carers from 2,500 in 2010 (when they achieved level 1) to 5,000 in February 2017. They said:

Through continual organisational improvement achieved by working to PQASSO quality standards Carers of West Lothian has been able to successfully bid for a large piece of external funding. This funding has allowed us to increase capacity to offer a wider range of services to adult carers directly.
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