It is important that services in the social sector are of high quality. Quality is often perceived differently by individuals and is not easy to compare. Despite this, if a service is provided based on assessed individual needs, rights are respected, quality of life is improved and expected outcomes achieved, it can be considered as a quality service. Poor quality services can negatively impact a person’s dignity and human rights.
EQUASS is an initiative of the European Platform for Rehabilitation, launched 15 years ago. It means to enhance the social sector by engaging social service providers in continuous improvement, learning and development. EQUASS and its network want to guarantee service users a high quality of services throughout Europe. With the support of its partners, the EQUASS team facilitates a network of 400+ social service providers who wish to improve the quality of their services and learn with and from like-minded organisations across Europe.
Quality according to EQUASS, addresses 10 principles:
Leadership, Staff, Rights, Ethics, Partnership, Participation, Person-centred approach, Comprehensiveness, Result-Orientation, Continuous improvement.
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Awareness raising: events, research and publications
EQUASS promotes continuous quality improvement, learning and development on issues around quality in social service provision; the place of service users and their social services in the society; the importance of a quality approach in social service provision, the positive impact of good services and the damaging social cost of poorly-run services. EQUASS frequently organises dissemination actions on these issues.
Development and delivery of training actions
EQUASS offers trainings for auditors and consultants in the EQUASS system. It also offers service providers the opportunity to attend seminars on the EQUASS system, on quality in social services and to participate in learning events where performance
on approaches, implementation strategies and results are compared and exchanged.
Consultancy and support in projects
EQUASS offers consultancy, tailor-made advice or research on quality issues to individual service providers and others, including in the context of short or long term projects, European or otherwise.
EQUASS offers two comprehensive recognition programmes from quality assurance to excellence in social services. These programmes enable social service providers to engage in an external independent assessment process by which they assure quality of their services to service users and other stakeholders. All EQUASS recognition programmes are based on a Quality Framework (a set of quality Principles), quality criteria and performance indicators that are customised for the social sector. An international Awarding Committee oversees the certification process.