Implementing PQASSO Quality System within Sure Start Settings

Eastern Childcare Partnership

Implementing PQASSO Quality System within Sure Start Settings

Sure Start is government initiative within Northern Ireland providing services for children from 0-4 and their parents within specific geographical areas. The Eastern Childcare Partnership is one of four Area Childcare Partnerships regionally, hosted by the Health and Social Care Board. The Childcare Partnerships have responsibility for the implementation of government policy with regard to Sure Start and commission the programme which is provided by 34 local projects. The Eastern Childcare Partnership (ECP) has oversight of 12 Projects across the Belfast and South Eastern Trusts extending from Belfast (north) to Newcastle (south) and from Dromara (west) to Portavogie (east).

The four Childcare Partnerships identified the PQASSO quality system as a useful tool to assess practice against recognised standards and to strengthen consistency in delivery of services across the Sure Start programme. With this in mind, the ECP commissioned CENI to deliver a programme of training and mentoring support for all the projects over a 9 month period.  

CENI supported the project’ staff through the various elements of PQASSO including: understanding the self-assessment process, applying the quality indicators, identifying evidence and action planning. One to one mentoring enabled further embedding of the quality system and involved practical exercises to facilitate group assessment sessions; write up of evidence records; review the evidence; and provide advice on preparing for the PQASSO Quality Mark.

The projects taking part stated that they found the PQASSO process useful in supporting a comprehensive review of practice, often affirming the good work that was being done and identifying opportunities for further organisational development. In some cases it also complemented other quality initiatives within the projects. A number of the projects anticipate going forward to achieve the PQASSO Quality Mark over the forthcoming year.

  • This dovetailed well with development work we were undertaking…
  • Useful learning from the process - compiling a portfolio was good for us…

‘The PQASSO experience has been well received within the programme; the opportunity to combine perspectives from management, staff and service users has accelerated further each projects ability to be reflective, build on good practice and identify areas for development. The support from CENI has been valuable and essential in translating practice into organizational development. Many thanks CENI!’

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