The Wise Group

The Wise Group

Recognised for Excellence 5 star


The Wise Group has been transforming lives through social enterprise in Scotland and the north east of England since 1983. We make a positive difference to people, communities and society by helping customers gain new skills and employment, reducing re-offending, regenerating communities and tackling fuel poverty. We have a clear understanding of the type of support our customers need and have a proven track record of providing both innovative and high quality services. The Wise Group delivers results by working closely with stakeholders which include Government, local authorities, other Social Enterprises and private businesses.

Why R4E?

We choose the tools and standards we work with based on their added value. EFQM was selected as our primary framework because it is holistic, flexible and focused on improvement.

Our Journey

We used EFQM in conjunction with other tools to achieve cultural change and deliver better results for people and communities.

On our continuing journey to excellence we have achieved recognition at three levels:

  • Committed to Excellence (2009)
  • Recognised for Excellence 3 star (2012)
  • Recognised for Excellence 5 star (2015)

We believe this approach, under the umbrella of EFQM enabled us to manage change effectively and deliver excellent results.


“I have seen how EFQM has benefitted the Wise Group, our staff and customers. It has also been of huge benefit to my own personal and leadership development”.

Kerry Antoniak, Governance Manager and EFQM Lead

Light bulb moment

Even though we have been using EFQM since 2009 we continue to learn from it. During the submission process we realised the enabler map is a valuable management tool in its own right.

Future plans

Assessor feedback has already been valuable for us. We have integrated it with all other forms of external feedback and our own internal findings to generate a prioritised action plan and inform plans for 2016-2018. We will continue to monitor progress internally and we will reapply for Recognised for Excellence in 2016/17.

The value of entering business awards

As a future-focused organisation it was a great opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the long-term results we have achieved and how well we managed change during a very challenging period.

A more detailed version of this case study is available for Quality Scotland Members on the Members' Area of our website

The Benefits

  • Achievement of a constructive culture
  • Demonstrable impact of leadership development on organisational effectiveness - verified by staff perception results
  • Improved financial results
  • Improved customer satisfaction

Hints & Tips

  • Use EFQM in a way that suits your organisation and culture. There are many different examples of what has worked in various organisations. Speak to them and to Quality Scotland to plan and implement an approach that works for your organisation. Our approach varied quite drastically between our 2011 and 2014 submissions because of the progression of our culture.
  • Make use of the support from Quality Scotland – we received excellent advice from our Account Director Fiona Liddle and some of the practical hints and tips in Excellence Now. The submission writer’s workshop is also an excellent opportunity for those preparing for R4E.
  • Relax – it’s not an audit! The assessment team are second to none. They really made the assessment a positive experience for all out staff.
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