The Business Excellence Model. Developed by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), it is administered in the UK by the British Quality Foundation (BQF).
This is a framework for assessing and continuously improving the performance of an organisation across the entire spectrum of its services.
The first task is normally to conduct one of several self-assessment options (from quick assessment to fully evidenced and validated reports). This will lead to a numerical score against the model and a prioritised action plan for future improvement.
The framework allows organisations to have their performance benchmarked against a range of the highest performing organisations around Europe.
Achieving the BEM can be costly and time consuming, with initial registration to the Public Sector Benchmarking Project requiring about pound;4000 as well as 35 staff days over six weeks. But the award is the most prestigious of all those currently available.
Contact: British Quality Foundation, 32-34 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2QX Tel: 0171 654 5000 Fax: 0171 654 5001 email: firstname.lastname@example.org ISO 9000
The International Standards Organisation 9000 - so called because it is the 9000th title in the ISO's index of quality and standards (it used to be number 5750 on the British Standards list).
ISO9000 is a worldwide standard for measuring the efficiency of management systems and organisations' ability to consistently meet the needs and expectations of its customers.
Participating schools must submit to rigorous examination of its management procedures. Organisations must produce a manual detailing the high quality of services offered and then have the validity of their claims tested in practice by independent assessors from a certified body.
The process of application and assessment is usually completed within six to nine months. Organisations will be subject to regular reassessment to ensure that the standard is being maintained. The cost of initial assessment can range from pound;1,500 to pound;2,600, depending on size. Reassesssment audits cost around pound;1,400 per year.
Contact: British Standards Institution, 389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4AL Tel: 0181 996 9000 Fax: 0181 996 7400 Website: www.bsi.org.uk Investors in People
The people's favourite. Best known and most widespread award, which now covers one third of the workforce in both public and private sectors. The award represents an organisation's commitment to developing its employees by providing ongoing training for all staff.
It is a more systematic approach to training and improving employee communications. In theory, by investing in training, an organisation develops a more skilled workforce and an increase in overall efficiency.
Schools have to go through their local training and enterprise council (TEC).They will need a series of interventions from IIP assessors (staff meetings, interviews, questionnaires, scrutiny of school, in-service records etc). IIP assessors cost pound;550 per day. From a school's initial commitment to formal recognition can take from six months to two years. There will also be a follow-up assessment phase, in which schools can choose to be re-assessed either 12-15 months or three years after their initial recognition).
Contact: 4th Floor, 7-10 Chandos Street, London W1M 9DE Tel: 0171 467 1900 Fax: 0171 636 2386 Charter Mark
The Charter Mark Award recognises any organisation that can demonstrate an excellent standard of service with the emphasis placed on the quality of service that users actually receive. Public sector organisations of any size and type may apply for the award.
In the first instance, schools would need to complete a 12-page application with supporting evidence (no more than a box file). The aim of this documentary evidence is to provide proof of the standard of service provision against 10 criteria. Following the submission of evidence, schools will have their evidence tested during a visit from an independent assessor, who will talk to staff and users. All the evidence collected will be used by the independent panel of judges that makes the final decision.
Apart from the time and effort involved in making the application, there is no other cost involved in the pursuit of the Charter Mark Award. The whole procedure - submission of application to award - will be complete within six months. For those who don't quite make the Charter Mark grade, there is a certificate of commendation available as a kind of near-miss award.
Contact: Charter Mark Awards, Service First Unit, Cabinet Office, Horse Guards Road, London SW1P 3AL Tel: 0171 270 6343 (general enquiries) email: email@example.com Website: www.servicefirstgov.uk TNT
Full title: Thomas Nationwide Transport Modernising Government Partnership Award. Launched by courier firm TNT and backed by the Cabinet Office, this award is designed to encourage new partnerships between different public sector outfits or between public sector, business or voluntary sector organisations. The emphasis is on multi-agency relations, co-operation and "joined-up government".
To achieve the award, schools need to set out details of their working partnerships with other organisations in an 11-page application pack and pay a registration fee of pound;10. The written application will form the basis for assessment by a TNT awards jury. The first winners of the new award will be announced at an award ceremony in April 2000. Successful schools will win the right to use the award logo on their stationery and be invited to take part in winners' roadshows and conferences.
Contact: TNT UK, Holly Lane, Atherstone, Warks CV9 2RY Tel: 01827 318856 Fax: 01827 318857 email firstname.lastname@example.org QUALITY MARK
The Quality Mark scheme is run by The Basic Skills Agency. The Quality Mark for Secondary schools provides a framework for improving literacy and numeracy standards. Schools must meet 10 elements including adopting an action plan and evaluating progress.
The Quality Mark for Basic Skills Programmes for Adults focuses on entitlement - what students can expect and effectiveness. More recently Quality Marks have been developed in primary and secondary schools which focus on effectiveness.
Contact: The Basic Skills Agency, 1-19 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1NU Tel: 0171 405 4017 Fax: 0171 440 6626 email: email@example.com Website: www.basic-skills.co.uk