ACVO - Aberdeen's 3rd sector interface


Committed to Excellence



ACVO is the Third Sector Interface for Aberdeen City. We exist to develop, involve, represent and support voluntary, charity and social enterprise organisations in Aberdeen.


Why Committed to Excellence?

We were actively looking at improvement systems and had previous experience of using other systems, when we were given the opportunity to accredit with C2E through Supporting Voluntary Action funding and subsequently the TSI Making Quality Count Programme.


Our Journey

ACVO first achieved Committed to Excellence in February 2011 as part of the Supporting Voluntary Action programme.

Following their original accreditation, ACVO convened a Working Group to conduct a further Impact v Ease Matrix analysis of the remaining themes identified in their original self-assessment in 2010.

It was agreed that the areas of improvement identified in the initial self-assessment were still relevant priorities for the business. These areas formed the basis for ACVO’s three improvement projects for the Committed to Excellence re-accreditation in October 2014.

The improvement projects prioritised were:

  1. Implementing a Communication Strategy
  2. Implementation of a system for Staff Support and Appraisal
  3. Measurement of Customer Perceptions

The projects had a common theme and stemmed from the original assessment carried out in 2010.  They were identified by stakeholders as areas in which improvement was required and were also logically suggested by the self-assessment process itself. 

We were keen to evaluate the quality of our work in a structured way that led logically to planning for improvement. We also ensured that the training offered by Quality Scotland was utilised and that we had commitment at all levels of the organisation.

The first accreditation took about ten months from start to finish. We were fortunate to have a staff team who understood the process and this was shared by our board.

During this journey we took pains to ensure that this was not “extra” work.  This was a way to evaluate and direct our work and improvements to our working practices. Taking the time to explain the process to our staff and board in some detail was time well spent.

A “light bulb” moment was the realisation that the process was logical and replicable.

We intend to continue to use EFQM as a way to improve our organisation. Being accredited for EFQM means a great deal to us as an organisation. It has added to our credibility as a well-run organisation, serious in its commitment to improve what it does.

The Benefits

  • Readership of the weekly eBulletin increased by 19%
  • A baseline measurement was set for customer satisfaction levels
  • All Staff have undergone an active appraisal and are working to achieve agreed priorities and work plans

Hints & Tips

  • Take the time to explain to all members of the organisation what the process will involve and don’t underestimate that time.
  • Stress the fact that this is not about “additional” work, this is part of normal working practise.
  • Make sure that implementation is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation, both the staff and the Board.
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