Recognised for Excellence 4 star
Cornerstone is one of Scotland’s largest charities and voluntary sector social care organisations. Every day we provide flexible, high quality care and support services for adults, children and young people with disabilities and other support needs to improve their quality of life. With over 30 years’ experience, we now deliver a wide range of services in 20 of the 32 local authority areas across Scotland, to over 2600 individuals. We employ over 2000 staff and have around 200 active volunteers who enhance our service provision. Our aim is “to enable the people we support to enjoy a valued life”.
Why Recognised for Excellence?
Cornerstone has always been committed to quality and chose the Business Excellence model in 2006 as the best way of evidencing continuous improvement across the expanding organisation. As the most widely used performance management framework in Europe, we value its overarching, holistic framework- encompassing all other business initiatives and continuous improvement activities to add further structure on top of what we do already.
Key issues we wanted to address
Having gained R4E at 3 star level in award cycle 2010/11, we wanted to continue our excellence journey and be reassessed against the revised EFQM Excellence model. We had been working on improvement actions from last time, with priority areas taken forward including our customer satisfaction process. We knew we had come a long way over the years, but wanted to step back to review where we were, and how well we were doing. We value the external EFQM assessment as a good way of doing this, feeling we are too close to it all ourselves, whilst also recognising that we work in a fast-moving, constantly changing environment where on-going assessment and review are absolutely critical.
“Cornerstone has a dedicated and passionate staff, enthusiastic about the organisation and what it stands for, empowered to provide personalised support and outcomes and working for Cornerstone because of their belief that the organisation is making a difference to the individuals that they support.”
Quality Scotland Assessor Team
“External independent recognition of our commitment to continuous improvement has proven to be a useful tool when seeking funding for new projects or when tendering for new business. We have used our EFQM submission document to demonstrate to funders and investors how we meet both our business and social outcomes and the accreditation and feedback report provides evidence of our quality standards, which funders are always keen to see.”
Edel Harris, CEO Cornerstone
- Doing this has improved our understanding of Cornerstone as an organisation and the external world we work in.
- We have worked with people we wouldn’t usually work with, and gained a better understanding of how different teams and departments interlink and work together.
- We have used the submission document for other things, such as inductions for new staff, funding applications and tenders.
- The process has helped us appreciate our strengths and celebrate how good we are.
- It has given a focus/rationale - for areas for improvement and links to our strategic plan.
- Increased public awareness of Cornerstone and our commitment to quality.
Hints & Tips
Make sure you get buy-in from the very top of your organisation or you will flounder from the start.
Plan the timetable. Working back from submission deadline, including time for printing and checking, and make sure you have the resources you need.
Planning the site visit can be a logistical nightmare, with assessor and staff availability, and different locations, being key factors which need consideration. As such, allow lots of time to plan this stage and be prepared for changes at the last minute.
Learn from Quality Scotland and others. Go to the Submission Writer’s workshop, join the relevant sector group and attend other organisation’s Learning Journey events.
Be prepared to put a lot of time and energy into your journey, it’s not for the fainthearted but like anything which is hard work it’s also very rewarding. Just take small steps and realise it is not something you will achieve overnight.