What our Clients Say
Barrie is to be highly recommended. He is professional, knowledgeable, friendly but determined that we make progress. We are very grateful.
Building Circles had been working towards a PQASSO accreditation for several years. A small working party met irregularly over a few years and had made some progress. We had established some policies and procedures which we felt were appropriate at the time. We were a small charity that had started to grow beyond the 1 part-time member of staff.
Once we had a few part-time staff we understood the need to have some policies and procedures in place. A staffing issue really encouraged us to have some contracts, policies, and procedures to protect our organisation and the trustees that were giving of their time and energies.
As chair of that small working party looking at Quality Assurance, I felt that we were making some progress. There was no external scrutiny of our work. Trustees and management were content that we were meeting and looking at PQASSO. Our small working party divided up the sections and we made efforts to call ourselves to account at our meetings. We did the best that we could in the time and the priority that we had given to this project. We didn’t share the work or the outcomes with the rest of the organisation very well.
This changed with the opportunity, to work with Barrie Wyatt, a licensed mentor, that we were given through the Volunteer Bureau.
Almost immediately we saw that our work could be significantly improved.
We understood that;
- That there was a new PQASSO standard and our efforts with the old standard would have been wasted a little if we had gone for inspection at that time.
- That we had not shared our work with the other stakeholders in the organisation – the trustees, staff nor volunteers.
- That we had no timetable for completing our work.
- There was no review of the quality of our work.
- There was no updating of the work that we had done once we felt that an item was completed.
Working with our mentor changed our approach and practice towards PQASSO and Quality Assurance. We opened up our meetings to others and included others with knowledge or experience to look at our work.
As we were working with someone outside of our organisation, we had to make dates for meetings and to keep to them. We had to give ourselves specific tasks to be completed by the next meeting. We had to open our meetings to external review and through that we gained input from knowledgeable people.
Our practice and our attitude to Policies and Procedures changed. Now there is a review timetable. We know when a policy is due for revision. Trustees get to see, comment and approve all of our policies outside of the quarterly meeting of Trustees with just a vote of agreement at our quarterly meetings. Quality Assurance, Policies and Procedures are a standing item at Trustee quarterly meetings. Our Admin Manager keeps a record of when our policies are due for revision and sends out the papers to Trustees for review in good time. Trustees must give feedback – even if it is to say that they approve the policy or the changes that have been made.
In the day to day work of our organisation there were always more immediate tasks to do. Events that we were organising were constantly upon us. The need to write bids to attract funds is a constant pressure on the CEO and the rest of the organisation. Writing reports to current funders and going to meetings to report on progress, to have a presence amongst purchasers and providers are always going to be a day to day priority. Quality Assurance is so easily relegated to being non-urgent that week.
Working with our mentor shocked us out of our complacency. As the chair of that working party and as Chair of Trustees, I was suddenly accountable for the quality of my work and the commitment to the tasks involved in completing PQASSO. Being questioned and having the standard of ones work scrutinised was a challenge to the easy-going approach that I had adopted to QA. Being answerable certainly made everyone up their game. We felt that we were contracted to do what we had talked about at our meetings. We felt that we were letting down our organisation if we did not give QA the time and priority that was needed to improve, update and review our work. We understood the value of having our paperwork in good shape and of being up to date.
The other side of that picture was that we felt very motivated and more diligent in our attitude to Policies and Procedures. A certain amount of pride developed in our QA working party as we developed a more business-like approach to QA and gave it some priority.
Our mentor was the catalyst for this change. Without him we would still be working in isolation of the rest of the organisation. We would be very vulnerable should a serious issue arise. We are able to be much more positive about QA in our organisation with our funders and potential funders and hopefully they will find working with us, and funding us, to be a more rewarding an experience.
In our latest bid we have identified an amount that we would like to use for a PQASSO Assessment, and this was encouraged by that agency.
Working with a mentor is a challenging experience. It forces the issues of time and priority to this task. I would thoroughly recommend that to any agency/charity wishing to achieve PQASSO. In particular Barrie Wyatt is to be highly recommended. He was professional, knowledgeable, friendly but determined that we make progress. We are very grateful.
Andy Rozwadowski Chair of Trustees, Building Circles of Gloucestershire
We employed Barrie as a mentor when we started working towards the Trusted Charity Mark. We met with him every two months for approximately one year. We always found Barrie to be punctual and prepared for our sessions. He had an open and approachable manner and his advice was always helpful and practical. Barrie’s feedback to us was always honest and he was very good at helping us to focus and look at things differently and objectively.
At times we found going through Trusted Charity challenging but found that with Barrie’s positive and motivational support that we were quickly re-motivated and focussed to overcome any hurdles. Barrie was always professional but had a good sense of humour. He has left us with the confidence and skills to know that we can continue to move forward with the final stages of Trusted Charity. We would highly recommend Barrie to any organisation.
Charmaine Davies, Louise Butcher and Mary Apperly – Cheltenham Housing Advice Centre Management Team
Working with Barrie has been a great experience. He has gently and kindly opened our eyes to what compliance with the new Standards meant for us. Barrie looked at the work that we prepared for our meetings, and in discussion, helped us to consider what the standard would be for our setting and how we could show compliance.
Barrie respected the fact that we were always busy juggling different issues within the organisation but his meetings with us helped to keep us to task. He was warm and understanding about our resources as a small charity but firm in his resolve to give us constructive feedback about our progress towards compliance.
We are most grateful for his knowledge, skills and for the considerate and fun way that he had with us.
Andy Rozwadowski – Chair of Trustees, Building Circles in Gloucestershire
Barrie has patiently worked with us towards our PQASSO accreditation, despite changes of our staff and the updated PQASSO. Barrie has calmly and kindly helped us to understand the process and explain how best to meet the criteria in a practical and appropriate way, so that the process is positive rather than onerous. His approach is positive, focussing on our strengths and supporting our weaker areas, so that we emerge a stronger organisation. Many thanks Barrie!
Indigo Redfern – Manager, GL11 Community Hub
Barrie structured his Organisational Strengths Review to our requirements whilst using the PQASSO framework as a benchmark.
Barrie’s facilitation skills and final report have been exceptional. The process celebrated our recent achievements but also highlighted areas for improvement. His detailed observations have helped the Senior Management Team to prioritise our work plan and give balanced and well informed information to our Board of Trustees.
We would highly recommend Barrie Wyatt and nVision Consulting.
Grahame Flynn – CEO, Devon in Sight
Barrie provided a great combination of insight, analysis and personability in delivering an ‘end of grant’ independent audit for a Comic Relief grant for 2 of our Ethiopian partner NGOs.
It was a reasonably complex assignment and Barrie was able to assimilate complex information, formulate an appropriate assessment process, and swiftly produce analysis and reports that not only met the project brief but clearly exceeded it.
All of this was done in such a way that participants felt heard and understood, regardless of cultural boundaries. Barrie seems to relish not only the challenge of understanding and processing organisational issues, but also the opportunity to strengthen and empower organisations and the individuals within them.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Barrie and nVision Consulting for grant audits, monitoring and evaluation, and organisational capacity building in general.
Simon Paylor – CEO, CRED.
Barrie has convinced me that there is real value in the PQASSO kitemark, because to achieve it we have made one or two very positive changes to the way our charity operates.
Jenny Hopkins – CEO, Gloucestershire Deaf Association.
Barrie’s facilitation of our discussion and helping us to delve deeper in to the meaning of our work, what is important and what is measurable was really valuable and provided a turning point for our organisation. We couldn’t have done this without a fresh pair of eyes and expertise.
Off the back of this work we have been successful with a grant from Children in Need which will fund our summer schemes for 3 years and is worth £75,000. This is the biggest single grant we have ever achieved.
Joy Blundell – Director, Alive Trust.
Barrie has been an excellent mentor as we’ve gone through the Level 1 PQASSO self-assessment process with him. He is sympathetic and understanding of the voluntary and community sector’s realities and peculiarities; he has quickly got his head around our own organisation’s uniqueness; and he has sensitively made sure that our self-analysis has been thorough. He asks questions to help our thinking, not to catch us out. We have found the process very helpful in recognising where we are as an organisation, in acknowledging that we are actually doing okay, and in establishing what else we need to do to make ourselves even better.
Philip and Jane Douch – Directors, Active Impact.
Barrie has been invaluable in supporting Allsorts through a time of significant growth and change. Initially he came in to the organisation to guide us through a PQASSO level 2 self assessment, and subsequently made an independent evaluation for the end of a Big Lottery grant term, and an organisational strength review for the beginning of the next Big Lottery term.
All three pieces of work were detailed and thorough. He was able to pinpoint very accurately our strengths and weaknesses, and give clear suggestions for improvements. He gave us a wealth of insights which we just would not have gained without him.
Allsorts is a user-led charity that has grown organically over the years. Barrie has enabled us to step up to the next level, putting into place systems and procedures that mean we are operating more efficiently, with better safeguards in place and with more confidence and resilience for the future. I would happily recommend him to any organisation that wants to achieve the same.
Rachel Levay – Chief Executive, Allsorts.
Forest Pulse first used the Services of Barrie Wyatt from nVision Consulting to advise and support us in relation to the charity applying for PQASSO (Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations). The charity commissioned Barrie following very positive feedback from a closely linked organisation with a very similar remit to ourselves who also used the services of nVision Consulting for the same purpose. I found Barrie to be very knowledgeable, and lead us through the process in a very positive way, enabling us recognise our own strengths and weaknesses rather than ‘directing us’. He was empathetic, and although the world of disability was not an area he was familiar with he had the skills to give us the direction we needed.
Following our very positive relationship with Barrie when working on PQASSO, the trustees unanimously agreed to commission him on a second occasion, this time to produce an Organisational Strengths Review, funding by the Building Capabilities element of a Big Lottery Grant. Again Barrie was insightful and had a way of drawing our knowledge from us. We were very pleased with the finished report, and I feel it was a very true reflection of the operations of the charity which has proved to be a very successful tool.
I would certainly be happy to recommend Barrie to other organisations, and particularly to small charities such as ourselves as Barrie clearly understood the peculiarities of our position, and the different challenges we face both as a small organisation and as a charity with limited funding and resources.
Pam Jones – Charity Manager, Forest Pulse