People standing looking at results of research

What do funders and charities think about quality assurance?

Published: 23/12/20 | Categories: Volunteering, Author: Korina Tsioni

Korina Tsioni, Quality Mark Development Officer at WCVA gives a quick project overview of ‘Trusted Charity Wales’, highlighting the Trusted Charity Research, Results Launch and why Quality Assurance is important, before during and after a crisis.


Trusted Charity in Wales is a follow-on project, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and delivered by WCVA in partnership with NCVO. Its goal is to promote Trusted Charity, a well-known voluntary sector quality mark owned by NCVO, formerly called PQASSO.

Trusted Charity is a straight-forward self-assessment process which helps charities achieve high quality governance, prove their strengths and improve their weaknesses. The first step, Trusted Charity Essentials is free and a brilliant starting point for any size charity.

Another aim of the project is to raise awareness about quality assurance in Wales, spark discussion around the topic across the voluntary sector, and look deeper into what is working well for the sector, and how things can be improved going forward.

We kicked off the project in August 2019, with me as its Project Officer for Wales. We started with initial desk-based research into Quality Standards and Quality Assurance in Wales. Many fascinating discussions around quality assurance and Trusted Charity took place with grassroot charities, CVCs, members of the Wales Funders Forum and local authorities.

Approaching 2020, and of course you know what’s coming! We had planned a series of events from March onwards to help reach a wider and more diverse audience. The events were designed to capture insights, experiences and priorities regarding quality marks and assurance.

Unfortunately, just as interest in the events was peaking, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and we were forced to postpone the events until October (more on that below).


The second stage planned in parallel to the events, was a detailed piece of research, delivered by an independent consultant. The aim of the research was to get a deeper understanding of the sector’s relationship with Quality Assurance, and to summarize the priorities of the sector, the beliefs and thoughts around Trusted Charity, and the degree to which quality marks are popular in Wales.

It was our pleasure to commission 20 Degrees and to work with Dr Alun Hughes. We created survey questions based on the discussions at the first stage of the project between WCVA and external partners. The surveys were sent out bilingually to charities, CVCs, local authorities and funders. We had responses from 35 charities, ten funders and 13 local authorities. The research team followed up with interviews with ten charities, four funders and two local authorities, looking deeper into their responses to the survey.

Dr Alun Hughes generated a report for WCVA, summarizing the qualitative and quantitative data that emerged from the research. By the beginning of summer 2020 we had created two summary reports for external use, covering the main points of the research results.

There is a ‘funders’ version and a ‘charities’ version and both are available bilingually.


Returning to a more normal way of working in September 2020, we decided to revive our event series, kicking off with the Research Results Launch Event. Dr Alun Hughs attended our event on 20 October 2020 as the main speaker, where he presented his research to a large audience. He talked about the methods he and his team used and the response of all sectors as I mentioned above, as well as the research results summaries.

The main two points that stood out from the research were:

  • Both funders and charities agree on the importance and the benefits that the journey of Trusted Charity brings to a charity’s governance. Charities benefit from working towards an accreditation, as well as maintaining it (when they have the time and the money to cover the fees that this requires).
  • Both funders and charities agree that funders could be further supporting the charities they are working with, by providing the money to cover the time and cost needed to ensure the appropriate quality standards are in place. Funders like Lloyds Bank Foundation and WCVA have pledged to support funding applicants towards achieving Trusted Charity, which enhances the governance in an organization and improves its resilience. Funders like the National Lottery Community Fund, and other Wales Funders Forum members, are happy to discuss with their funding applicants on a one-to-one basis regarding supporting costs and time towards achieving an appropriate quality mark or standard, and they are also happy to discuss with current grant holders any underspend being used towards Quality Assurance. We recommend discussing this with your funding officer.


The second event took place 17 November 2020, and also highlighted the importance of Quality Assurance in a crisis. Trusted Charity and Investing in Volunteers achievers and assessors delivered presentations about how achieving and maintaining an appropriate quality standard has helped them cope with the crisis and put them in a stronger position to face the unprecedented challenges that 2020 has brought.

In the New Year we are planning to run more events to discuss Quality Assurance in the sector in Wales. We would love to see you at one of our free events, please follow WCVA on social media for updates, subscribe to receive our newsletter for free, and why not become a member of WCVA for a 10% discount on Trusted Charity fees? For further information please get in touch.


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