In order to keep a close eye on the quality of operations and the systems that support them, War Child UK has rolled out a bespoke quality framework including a self-assessment tool.
The main goal was to establish a common understanding across all operations about the expectations and standards the charity wanted to achieve and be held accountable for, as well as providing structure through a period of rapid growth.
War Child used a collaborative design process where all teams were given the chance to input on the areas covered, and were allocated specific themes to be the lead authors of the standards, which were then open for consultation and editing.
Ultimately the quality framework became 15 headings with 70 standards. The headings created minimum standards for operations across the agency, including security, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy. These were translated into Dari, Arabic and French and exist as standalone leaflets that can be shared with partners and beyond. The standards form an important part of staff inductions and provide the framework for the agency’s intranet.
Interactive online tool
The self-assessment process became an interactive online tool allowing for efficient use of the data afterwards. The bespoke online tool has a user-friendly logic with appealing design to ensure users feel motivated to use it.
Teams are invited to grade their performance on each standard, either being “met/ partially met/ not met”, with a small amount of information requested for each grade. The reports generated then feed into annual planning, individual workplans and are used to highlight areas of learning. War Child also committed an internal development fund that teams were able to use for prioritised standards that had been graded as ‘not met’, which incentivises transparency and honesty.
Dan Collison, programmes director at War Child said: “The challenges for developing the online tool were in user experience and information design – routing users simply through the choices required, and enabling them to see overviews of their progress, when there was a lot of data involved. This was especially important given that several country operations rely on basic hardware and patchy internet lines, and could not complete the form in one session.
“The online tool continually saved progress, and enabled users to see several live ‘views’ of their data as they went, showing standards which had not been met, funding requirements, and so on.”
The existence of the Quality Framework has helped War Child to build consistency across the organisation, and signals commitment to a culture of transparency and continual improvement. It’s really clear from the standards what is expected of teams and individuals working for War Child UK, wherever the teams are based.
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