First Steps have now achieved the PQASSO Level 1 Quality Mark (see attached picture), which is the Charities Evaluation Services’ externally accredited award for PQASSO.


First Steps Derbyshire has now successfully achieved accreditation of the PQASSO Level 1 Quality Mark.

PQASSO Quality Mark peer reviewers completed an external assessment of the Charity.The reviewers are members of the voluntary and community sector who are specially trained and supported by the Charities Evaluation Service [CES] to carry out reviews of organisations against the PQASSO standards.

The PQASSO assessment comprised a number of activities which involved gathering evidence, reviewing documentation and interviews with members of Staff, Board members and volunteers across the following 12 quality areas:

1. Planning

2. Governance

3. Leadership and management

4. User-centred service

5. Managing people

6. Learning and development

7. Managing money

8. Managing resources

9. Communications and promotion

10. Working with others

11. Monitoring and evaluation

12. Results

PQASSO deems these to be the building blocks an organisation needs in order to be able to operate to a high standard.

PQASSO, the Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations, is the most widely used quality assurance system within the voluntary and community sector, and has been adopted by thousands of organisations wishing to become more efficient and effective.

PQASSO uses a self-assessment approach which involves people within an organisation making judgements about its performance against the PQASSO standards. The PQASSO Quality Mark is a ‘kitemark’ to show that an organisation has met the PQASSO standards. It is designed to build on self-assessment by having an independent external review. Achieving the PQASSO Quality Mark means that an organisation has been externally accredited against the PQASSO standards and will receive the PQASSO Quality Mark logo and certificate. The PQASSO Quality Mark is valid for 3 years.

The benefits of using PQASSO® Research has shown that organisations using PQASSO as a self-assessment tool can gain the following benefits:

• more effective and more efficient organisational systems and procedures

• better quality of services for users

• better communication among staff, trustees and volunteers

• more creative thinking, enabling new perspectives and ways of working continuous improvement over time.

The benefits of the PQASSO Quality Mark Achieving the PQASSO Quality Mark will give an organisation the following additional benefits:

• external verification of your achievement of the PQASSO standards

• greater recognition and credibility from statutory and independent funders, users and other stakeholders

• increased motivation for staff, trustees and volunteers

• confirmation that the organisation has reached a recognised quality standard

• enhanced organisational learning through the assessment process

• Charity Commission endorsement for Level 2 and Level 3

First Steps PQASSO Quality Mark Certificate