Ensuring top quality practice in the voluntary sector

Voluntary organisations that embrace quality assurance are striving to achieve the highest standards in the way that their organisation is run, in service delivery and in creating the greatest impact.

A commitment to quality helps to drive improvement and also increases confidence internally, with key stakeholders and with the wider public.

Before embarking on any quality assurance scheme make sure that you research all the options, thinking about your organisation’s priorities and the level of commitment and investment that will be required to achieve the standard.

There are a number of quality systems commonly used in the voluntary sector and you can find out more about them below.


Charity Essentials is a free online health check designed specifically for small charities, community and voluntary groups. You can use this tool to do a basic health check on how your organisation is performing, identifying strengths and areas for development. The tool can be used as the first step in building quality assurance into your organisation.

A bilingual version of the Charity Essentials tool has been created in partnership with our sister organisation in England, NCVO (the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) and is available on the Knowledge Hub – thirdsectorsupport.wales/charity-essentials.


The Trusted Charity quality standard is designed to help charities operate more effectively and efficiently. The standard covers 11 quality areas including governance, managing people, managing money and working with others. The process involves an initial systematic self-assessment across the quality areas following which can then be followed by external accreditation to achieve the Trusted Charity Mark.

The Trusted Charity Standard is delivered by The Growth Company on behalf of NCVO and more information can be found at trustedstandard.org.uk/trusted-charity-standard.

WCVA members receive a 10% discount on Trusted Charity fees.


If you want to assess the quality of your volunteer management and involvement, prove and improve the effectiveness of your work with volunteers, and enhance your organisation’s reputation, Investing in Volunteers provides the ideal framework. IiV is available to any voluntary organisation and is equally recognised in all four nations in the UK.

The IiV standards has been active since 1995. It has recently been reviewed and refreshed with the updated standard launched in March 2021. For more information visit www.investinginvolunteers.co.uk or visit our Investing in Volunteers page for details about IiV in Wales.


Investors in People is a standard for people management, offering accreditation to organisations that adhere to the Investors in People Standard. The framework assesses how well you are supporting your people, looking at three key areas: leading, supporting and improving.

Investors in People assessments are conducted locally through local Delivery Centres across the UK and internationally.



The ISO 9000 is a set of quality management systems (QMS) standards that help organisations ensure they meet customer and other stakeholder needs within statutory and regulatory requirements related to a product or service.

Certification is provided by independent certification bodies.



The real Living Wage is the UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by businesses who believe their staff deserve a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. Living Wage rates for the UK and London are higher than the government minimum and are independently calculated based on what people need to get by.

More information about the Living Wage and how to become an accredited Living Wage Employer can be found on the Living Wage website.


Cyber Essentials is a government-backed, industry-supported scheme to help organisations of every size protect themselves against a whole range of the most common cyber-attacks. Certification provides your organisation with peace of mind that you are protected, and demonstrates your commitment to cyber security. There are two levels of certification available and a readiness toolkit that helps you move towards meeting the Cyber Essentials requirements.

More information about can be found on the Cyber Essentials website.


This scheme run by the Welsh Language Commissioner provides certification to organisations that have committed to developing their Welsh language provision. The Commissioner’s Hybu Team help organisations create a Welsh Language Development Plan, a long-term plan to maintain and develop your Welsh Language provision.

Organisations with a strong Development Plan can apply for official recognition from the Commissioner. The Cynnig Cymraeg (Welsh Offer) certification is a great way to demonstrate to funding bodies and the public that you have a clear plan in place to provide quality Welsh language services.

For more information visit the Welsh Language Commissioner’s website – www.welshlanguagecommissioner.wales/businesses-and-charities/cynnig-cymraeg.


In addition to those listed on this page there are a range of quality assurance or accreditation schemes that apply to specialist areas of work or specific areas of service delivery. You should research these thoroughly and we recommend that you seek advice from your relevant umbrella or membership body to ensure that the scheme is right for you.


Please get in touch with us to share ideas, experiences and feedback on any quality marks or systems. Contact help@wcva.cymru or 0300 111 0124.

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