The European Quality in Social Services (EQUASS) EQUASS is an initiative of EPR enhancing the social services sector by engaging service providers in quality and continuous improvement through training recognition, certification and consultancy services.
EQUASS Certifications 2014
Local Licence holders
Overview of training seminars
Projects / Consultancy meetings
EQUASS Quality Control
EQUASS Events and PR
Publications about EQUASS
EQUASS Social Media
EQUASS Structures and Staff
Editorial Dear readers, 2015 saw a number of important developments in EQUASS. I would like to highlight the development of 3 “S”; the System, the Secretariat and the Stakeholders. Firstly, the system. The EQUASS Technical Working Group (TWG) had its kick-off meeting in June 2015. The TWG started the reflection on how to best improve the system based on stakeholder expectations and needs. The main issues taken into account were to develop a clearer system, a stronger emphasis on implementation, ensuring a tangible impact on service users’ quality of life and empowerment, and finally a reduction in paperwork. The second meeting saw the group discuss the quality principles and criteria of the 2018 system. The work of the TWG continues in 2016, the system will be piloted in 2017 and launched in 2018. I’m confident that service providers will very much appreciate the new approach and content. Secondly, two key EQUASS stakeholders developed their roles in 2015. The Local Licence Holder in Estonia, Astangu, became the National Centre for the Quality of Social Services. Its mission is to raise awareness of quality issues, and develop capacity for efficient services. We are very pleased for this recognition and responsibility and look forward to hearing about the results in service improvement and expansion of EQUASS in the country. Many Estonian actors already have a strong understanding of the importance of quality in services and this can only build on that. EQUASS Europe also created a new status for actors who support EQUASS in their country: the National Representative. “Panagia Eleousa” in Greece became the first National Representative, and will be promoting EQUASS in Greece with a mandate from the Greek Ministry of Social Affairs. We believe that even in times of financial crisis it is worth investing in the quality of social services, for effectiveness and impact on quality of life, and are believe that Greek stakeholders will come to the same conclusion. Last, but not least, 2015 saw the development of the EQUASS secretariat, the core unit in Brussels. A permanent EQUASS Assistant position was created as EQUASS Europe took over the management of certifications in Norway. The unit put in place a series of measures to ensure high quality service to applicants and auditors in order to ensure a smooth transition. Another development in the unit was that I took on the position of Secretary General in EPR, with oversight of the EQUASS unit. I am happy to join the community of people committed to improving service quality, and look forward to sharing more exciting developments with you in the future. Yours sincerely,
Laura Jones Secretary General - European Platform for Rehabilitation 3
EQUASS Certification system EQUASS Assurance is a certification programme for quality assurance and quality control in social services. It enables social service providers to engage in an external independent certification process at European level by which they assure quality of their services to service users and other stakeholders
EQUASS Excellence identifies and encourages excellence and best practice in the social sector. It is the second level of the EQUASS certification in social services. The EQUASS Excellence certification programme requires a social service provider to carry out a self-evaluation on the performance on the EQUASS criteria via a self-evaluation report.
Overview of EQUASS Certifications awarded in 2015
243 EQUASS Assurance
4 EQUASS Excellence
147 in Norway 55 in Portugal 26 in Estonia 7 in Slovenia 4 in Germany 2 in The Netherlands 1 in Italy 1 in Lithuania
2 in Portugal 1 in Ireland 1 in Slovenia
Portugal APPACDM de Viana do Castelo Deliver care services to 537 patients—Employs 327 staff União das Misericórdias Portuguesas - Centro João Paulo II Deliver care services to 192 patients - Employs 196 staff Ireland National Learning Network Deliver care services to 2568 patients—Employs 782 staff
Slovenia University Rehabilitation Institute Republic of Slovenia/ Univerzitetni rehabilitacijski inštitut Republike Slovenije Soca Deliver care services to 839 patients—Employs 57 staff
EQUASS Local Licence Holders (LLH) The dissemination and expansion of EQUASS in Europe is assisted by a set of local representatives, called Local Licence Holders. The LLH serve as a local intermediary between the EQUASS customers and the EQUASS Secretariat, and coordinate the certification process between applicants and auditors in the countries where an LLH is established. The EQUASS Secretariat only comes into action when the full application dossier and Audit report are submitted for approval. In Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovenia, EQUASS Assurance certification services can be obtained through the Local Licence Holders detailed hereafter. For EQUASS Assurance certification in countries other than those listed above, and for EQUASS Excellence certification in all of Europe, applications are made directly to the EQUASS Secretariat, based in Brussels, Belgium. The EQUASS Secretariat in no way outsources or delegates to the Local Licence Holder the decision on awarding the Quality Mark, but trains, supports and monitors the LLH. National Stakeholder Committees are established in countries where the volume of certifications (actual or expected) is significant, and requires to consult with the sector actors for input and scrutiny on the role and implementation of EQUASS in the country. The Committee consultation and comments benefit the cycle of continuous improvement for both for the LLH and the management of EQUASS in Brussels.
Estonia Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Center, EQUASS Eesti Astangu 27, Tallinn 13519 , Estonia Contact person: Keiu Talve email@example.com
Astangu is a leader of promoting quality of social services in Estonia. Since January 2012, Astangu acts as an EQUASS Local License Holder. Over 80 service providers are involved in the implementation of an EQUASS Assurance quality system. EQUASS Assurance has been implemented in Estonia since 2010 with the support of the European Social Fund, with currently 40 certified organisations as of January 2016. Analysis of the social sector from the perspective of quality of services have been carried out during 2012-2013 and the report will be used in further planning of the sector by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Since January 2015 the Centre for Quality in Social Services is created to promote EQUASS in Estonia and quality of social services. More information about Astangu centre: http://eng.astangu.ee
Germany EQUASS Deutschland c/o: Josefsheim Bigge gGmbH Heinrich-Sommer-Str. 13 - 59939 Olsberg Tel: +49 2962 800 225 Contact person: Winfried Henke firstname.lastname@example.org
www.equass.de EQUASS Deutschland is operated by the Brüsseler Kreis, a collaboration of the major Protestant and Catholic social enterprises in Germany. The Brüsseler Kreis is active in providing care for persons with disabilities, the elderly, youth and in education. With about 40 000 workers and more than 35 000 in-patient, partly-in patient and out-patient care clients, they serve about 100 000 persons yearly, with a turnover of around € 1.7 billion. EQUASS Deutschland is represented by the organisation Josefsheim Bigge, located in Olsberg.
Lithuania Valakupiai Rehabilitation Centre (VRC) Vaidilutés str. 69 Vilnius LT-10100 - Lithuania Tel: +370 5 2477542 Contact person: Natalja Markovskaja email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
VRC, a public organisation funded under the Ministry of Social Affairs, has a leading role in promoting quality in the Vocational Rehabilitation sector in Lithuania. VRC provides medical and vocational rehabilitation services, social day care, practical driving assessment and a driving school for people with disabilities. VRC was also the recipient of the EQUASS Excellence Mark in 2011. The services audited support over 600 persons and employ over 100 staff members.
Associação Portuguesa para a Qualidade - APQ Serviços Centrais Rua I do Pólo Tecnológico de Lisboa , nº 3 (Lt 24) 1600-546 Lisboa - Portugal Tel: + 351 214996210 Contact person: Carla Cunha email@example.com
www.equass.pt APQ is a membership based non-profit organisation founded in 1969. Its purpose is to promote and spread knowledge and experiences in the field of quality organisational excellence, as well as practices that lead to increase the productivity between organisations in Portugal. APQ is recognised as the leading nongovernmental institution of the Portuguese quality movement. APQ regroups around 2200 members, covering organisations from various sectors and dimensions, public and private, and a wide number of auditors, consultants and quality managers. APQ is also a Sectorial Standardisation Body in the field of Quality Management, responsible for three Technical Committees - Quality Management, Conformity Assessment and Risk Management.
University Rehabilitation Institute, Republic of Slovenia Linhartova 51, 1000 Ljubljana - Slovenia Tel: + 386 1 475 8 275 Contact person: Aleksandra Tabaj, PhD. firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ir-rs.si/en/ The development unit for vocational rehabilitation of URI in Ljubljana has a leading role in promoting quality in the vocational rehabilitation sector of Slovenia. Its role is recognised through public mandate and financially supported by the Slovenian Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs. The University Rehabilitation Institute in Ljubljana started its role as EQUASS Licence Holder in January 2011.
EQUASS National Representative (NR) The EQUASS National Representative (NR) acts as official EQUASS representation in a country by providing information (and support) to social service providers who are interested to implement the EQUASS system, and lobbying with local, regional and national authorities for getting official recognition and funding for EQUASS activities. The NR does not have a formal position for coordinating/managing EQUASS Assurance or Excellence audits. In March of 2015, EPR has signed a National Representative Agreement with Workshop Panagia Eleousa in Greece. Workshop Panagia Eleousa is a day care centre for persons with disabilities, and an influential player in the field of social services in Greece who has shown full commitment to the EQUASS approach of Quality and will play a substantial role in promoting and disseminating EQUASS in the national jurisdiction.
Overview of training seminars
Full EQUASS Assurance Auditor
EQUASS Assurance auditors attended auditor training in the requirements of auditing to be followed through the whole EQUASS Assurance 2012 process. The training contained: fundamentals of EQUASS system, case study, bench marking and bench learning, calibration of experiences and requirements for verifying performance and reporting of results.
The one-day EQUASS Assurance auditor calibration session corresponds to the content of the first day of an EQUASS Assurance initial training. The topics covered are: Introduction to the European Quality Frameworks and various quality management concepts, the overview of the EQUASS Assurance certification programme, and a review of the EQUASS Assurance Key performance indicators, as well as major changes of the EQUASS Assurance system, if applicable.
Josefsheim gGmbH, Olsberg, Germany 21, 22 and 23 January 2015 Tallinn, Estonia 30th, 31st March and 1st April 2015 Total Assurance auditors trained: 25
FundaĂ§ĂŁo Afid, Lisbon, Germany 12 March 2015 Oslo, Norway 22 October 2015 Total Assurance calibrations: 11
1 EQUASS Excellence Auditor Calibration The one-day EQUASS Excellence auditor calibration session corresponds to the content of the first day of an EQUASS Excellence initial training. The topics covered are: Introduction to the European Quality Frameworks for SSGI, the EQUASS approach on quality, the overview of the EQUASS Excellence certification programme and system and any major changes, if applicable, and a review of the EQUASS Excellence Key performance indicators, as well as a case study. FundaĂ§ĂŁo Afid, Lisbon, Portugal 13 March 2015 Total Excellence auditors trained: 12
1 EQUASS Excellence Dissemination Event The EQUASS Consultant facilitated a seminar to inform Social Service Providers in Estonia about EQUASS Excellence. Astangu VRC, Tallin, Estonia 4 June 2015
1 Benchmarking training event Benchmarking in the social sector, Benchmarking on business performance, Benchmarking on UNCRPD, Benchmarking on Quality Management. CRIA, Abrantes, Portugal 29 January 2015
4 Consultancy Training Seminars The new EQUASS Consultant training programme (introduced in 2014) continued to teach consultants how to support and advise organisations throughout the implementation of EQUASS criteria and the EQUASS certification process. This programme applies to both EQUASS Assurance and EQUASS Excellence certification programmes. Porto, Portugal 15, 16 and 17 April Tallinn, Estonia 4, 5 and 6 May Tallinn, Estonia 12-13 October 2015 Lisbon, Portugal 26 and 27 October 2015 Total consultants trained : 27
Benchmarking in Vocational
Rehabilitation Sector - FORMEM seminar Workshop 1 aimed at Identifying, defining and reviewing EQUASS performance indicators for benchmarking. Workshop 2 focused on benchmarking on Quality Culture aspects Coimbra, Portugal 25 and 26 June 2015
Projects - Consultancy meetings DeSqual Project (Development of Sustainable Quality assurance in VET) The DeSqual project, launched in November of 2013, is a collaboration of four quality assurance expert organisations and 10 social service providers/VET providers for people with disabilities who have piloted a newly developed training program for achieving sustainable quality assurance in their organisation. Partners developed a training program that focuses on individual quality behavior, quality awareness of professionals and quality culture in the organisation. In the final conference, 3 project pilots presented the impact of the ad-hoc trainings: Fundaciรณn INTRAS (ES) with a leadership development programme, the National Learning Network (IE) with a Partnership added-value assessment programme, and REA College Pluryn (NL) with a Team Ownership programme. On 30 September 2015, the DeSqual project leader REA College Nederland hosted the final project conference in Zandvoort, the Netherlands. The project conference further highlighted the importance and impact of management and staff being aware of how culture impacts the daily work of organisations, and how the quality of the vocational services for persons with disabilities can be enhanced by an awareness of Quality issues throughout the organisation.
Sport+4all Project The aim of Sport+4ALL is to create tools that will support more diverse and higher quality of sport on offer at European level for PwD. To achieve this aim the project will involve Rehabilitation Centres, Sport Centres and Facilities. 7 organisations across Europe are involved in this collaborative partnership. They all have extensive experience of providing rehabilitation, adapted sport and social services. Their expertise in the social - health sport process will be invaluable to supporting the project to achieve its aims. Activities will be managed in 3 main areas: 1. Benchmarking activities - mapping, designing, testing, validating and implementing innovative practices in sport provision for people with disabilities 2. Benchlearning activities - interactive benchlearning activities in 6 international workshops for training and developing European networks in the field of sport 3. R&D activities: resulting in the issue of a Handbook/Best Practice Guide “Recommendations for Inclusive Sport”; “Competencies and Skills of Sport Instructors”; “Assessment tools”. EQUASS provided: External R&D support for Overview and testing of Innovative practices Quality Processes in Sport. External R&D for developing a Cross Reference Study Sport vs HEPA (European Network for the promotion of Health - Enhancing physical activity of WHO, www.euro.who.int/hepaeurope)
Handicap International Project in Morocco The EQUASS unit of EPR has been selected by Handicap International - Maghreb division to contribute to its project “Support to the Quality Improvement and Sustainability of Social-Medical Services in Morocco”. Funded by the OCP Foundation, the project will last four years (2015-19) and aims to develop the capacities of 5 pilot centres by implementing a quality system based on the CRPD and good practices of management. The pilots will also receive ad-hoc support in training their staff and management in the various tools and practices identified in their improvement plan. EQUASS supported the project between October 2015 and May 2016, by training the managers and professionals of the 5 pilot centres in the use of a Quality approach, in understanding the EQUASS standard, and in performing their very first self-evaluation. The 5 Pilot centres provide a wide range of services: educational, occupational and/or medical services to children, young people and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, persons with sensory and mobility impairments and persons with autism.
EQUASS Quality Control EQUASS strives for continuous improvement, and has implemented a series of procedures used to address complaints and resolve disputes. The EQUASS complaint process is available to all and can be consulted at the following link: http://www.equass.be/equass/index.php/about-equass/quality-control In 2015 the EQUASS Secretariat received 2 formal complaints The table below gives an overview of the complaints received in 2015, and how it was dealt with.
Reason for the complaint
Number of complaints
Complaint (Appeal) about the outcome of an audit
The EQUASS unit investigated the complaint with the applicant and the auditor.
Complaint about an auditorâ€™s attitude during the audit
The EQUASS unit investigated the complaint with the applicant and the auditor.
A new auditor was sent to the applicant for a half -day, in order to check the validity of the outcome of the audit on the criterion that had been identified as non-compliant by the original auditor. As a result of this half-day follow-up audit, the client was certified with EQUASS Assurance. After collecting information from both the applicant and the auditor, the EQUASS unit came to the conclusion that the atmosphere of the two days site visit may not have been appropriate to carry out a proper validation of performance. Both applicant and auditor had contributed to this, and as a result, EQUASS will be paying more attention in auditor training in preparing auditors to defuse such a negative atmosphere, while paying attention the information given to applicants about the conduct of an audit.
3 Information/Dissemination Events These events aimed at providing a better understanding of EQUASS and the implementation of its criteria/indicators. It was addressed to professionals of vocational rehabilitation services or any other social services.
Event in NAV - Fornebu, Norway 21 October 2015 Event in Valakupiai Rehabilitation Centre (VRC), Vilnius, Lithuania 23 November 2015 Event in the District Meeting Oslo, Akershus and Ă˜stfold - Akershus, Norway 16 December 2015
3 Conferences EOQ Conference - Athens, Greece 11 - 12 June 2015 Reflection on how quality management approach applies to the social services and debate on a possible paradigm shift.
CEDEFOP Conference - Thessaloniki, Greece 26 - 27 November 2015 Reflection and discussion on how globalisation is affecting the skill needs of enterprises and influencing national VET systems and how national provision can meet global needs.
6th Conference of Disabilities - Tel Aviv, Israel 6-9 July 2015 The Conference was a major international Conference that ran over three days, there were 1,000 participantsâ€™ attendees and 200 presenters from 23 countries participating and sharing their expertise at the open forum sessions, at the various themed workshops and at the informal gathering during the event. EQUASS presentation focused on the involvement, empowerment and participation of service users; impacts and outcomes related to the implementation of the UNCRPD in social service providersâ€™ process of assuring the quality of services delivered to service users.
Guus van Beek - EQUASS Key Expert
1 National Awareness-raising Event Introduction to European Quality concepts for Social Services & Implementation of the Person Centred principle in the design and delivery of Social Services - Warszawa, Poland 17 November 2015 The seminar focused on how business management and quality management approaches can be coupled with rights-based approaches, to allow service providers and social enterprises to comply with the spirit of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, in the way that they design and deliver their services. The afternoon session was a practical workshop focused on one of the core dimensions of the rights-based approach: Person centred services.
Michael Crowley - EQUASS Expert
Publications about EQUASS
2 Studies "Impact Study of the EQUASS Assurance
Quality System" - By Mariliis Männik-Sepp Astangu VRC, Estonia January 2015 The Development Plan 2012–2015 of the Ministry of Social Affairs underlines the importance of the quality and availability of social services as well as increased customer awareness. Previously, Estonia lacked a uniform quality management system for social services. However, projects funded by the European Social Fund have helped to address this shortcoming and the EQUASS Assurance model has been applied with a view to increase the efficiency and performance of social services by introducing a quality system. The study concentrates on analysing and assessing the impact of applying the quality system on the example of institutions that have started to implement the quality system.
“Quality management approach in social services sector: a paradigm shift!" - By Guus van Beek, Prof. Li Bing (PHD) of the Department of Sociology, Beijing Administrative College. The publication is a co-production with Associated Prof. Li Bing (PHD) of the Department of Sociology, Beijing Administrative College, doing research on social services and aging policy and responsible for training management for Beijing Government Officials. He is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China to do research on "Building the Institutional Framework of China Social Services".
EQUASS Social Media
244 Followers @EQUASS_Europe
1 Video EQUASS UN Convention on Rights of People with Disability (UNCRPD)
341 Members LinkedIn group for EQUASS professionals and stakeholders (www.linkedin.com/grp/ home? 15
EQUASS Structure & Staff EQUASS Secretariat The EQUASS Secretariat operates the EQUASS system from the offices of EPR in Brussels.
Laura Jones - EQUASS Manager (From May 2015 onward) The EQUASS Manager has a final say on the strategic decisions and finances, and reporting to the EPR members, owners of the system.
Marie Dubost - EQUASS Coordinator The EQUASS Coordinator manages and monitors the daily operations and implementation of the annual work plan, including budget and contracts, marketing, certifications and communications with clients and auditors.
Guus van Beek - EQUASS Key Expert The EQUASS Key expert provides content expertise on all issues related to the certification system, developing new consultancy products, validating awarding decisions in EQUASS Assurance. The Key expert also delivers most EQUASS trainings and consultancy services.
Eric Falch - EQUASS Assistant (From March to October 2015) Madeleine Clarke - EQUASS Assistant (From November 2015 onward)
EQUASS Core Group The EQUASS Core Group is an advisory body composed of quality practitioners and experts. They provide a balanced and diversified view on the EQUASS system, processes and procedures. Their recommendations are then provided to the EQUASS Awarding Committee or the EQUASS Management, depending on the topic of the recommendations. The Core Group meets 2 to 3 times per year.
Michael Crowley, RehabGroup (Ireland) Hubert Vornholt , Josefsheim Bigge (Germany) Ester Thunes , GREP (Norway) Guus van Beek, EQUASS Key Expert EQUASS Secretariat (Laura Jones, Marie Dubost)
EQUASS Awarding Committee The EQUASS Awarding Committee is the body in charge of validating the EQUASS Awarding criteria for EQUASS Assurance and Excellence, and approving any changes made to the certification systems of applicants and auditors. It includes various members of European social partners, funders, policy makers, service providers and service user representatives. The Awarding Committee meets 1 to 2 times per year.
European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR) - Jean-Paul Essers European Social Insurance Platform (ESIP) - Wolfgang Schulz-Weidner and Mr Franz Terwey European Association for Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) - Luk Zelderloo Council of Europe (CoE) - Irena Kowalczyk-Kedziora Business Disability Forum - TBD Rehabilitation International (RI) - Jan Johansen European Federation of Older People (EURAG) - Dirk JarrĂŠ European Network of Social Authorities (ENSA) - Johan Lindstrom
EQUASS Technical Working Group Its mission is to provide advice to the Awarding Committee , as well as the EPR Board of Directors and its Subcommittee on EQUASS, on the adaptations to be brought to the EQUASS 2012 system in its 2018 iteration. Guus van Beek (Chairman)
Marie Dubost (EPR)
Karl-Wiggo Jensen (Norway)
Michael Crowley (Ireland)
Carla GonĂ§alves Pereira (Portugal)
Natalja Markovskaja (Lithuania)
Keiu Talve (Estonia)
Winfried Henke (Germany)
What is EQUASS? The European Quality in Social Services (EQUASS) is an initiative of the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR). EQUASS provides a range of comprehensive services in the area of approval and certification of quality, all of which comply with the European requirements for quality in the provision of Social Services. The certification programmes are complementary to existing quality certification programmes at the national level and are overseen by an independent International Awarding Committee that includes representatives from key European stakeholders.
EQUASS Secretariat Avenue des Arts 8 c/o CCI, 1210 Brussels, Belgium Tel +32 2 736 54 44 Fax +32 2 736 86 22 Email email@example.com Website www.equass.be @EQUASS_Europe
Editor-in-chief: Marie Dubost Editors: Cinzia De Letis, Guus van Beek