Evaluation of the IQ Standard Pilot

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Executive Summary
In response to the increased demand for better quality of governance in the Third Sector, the Improving Quality (IQ) standard scheme was created. IQ was designed to assist the Sector governing teams to perform critical and reliable self-assessment. In addition IQ can provide an external accreditation following the completion of the self-assessment process.
A comprehensive research of the scheme, which was piloted across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, was conducted. Following is the summary of the research findings and recommendations.
After reviewing the IQ standard against the range of existing standards and the recommendations of academics and industry experts, we concluded that:
• The IQ standard integrates all of the themes emerging in the Third sector which deemed to be of relevance to the quality and nature of governance, strategy and operations.
• The IQ standard appropriately incorporates the sector- wide domains and their weighting.
• The organising principles underpinning the standard framework in the sector, are carefully taken into consideration by, and are reflected in, the IQ standard.
The main findings of the primary research:
• The IQ standard provides an important contribution to organisational development.
• The IQ standard is beneficial for evidencing organisational soundness to external stakeholders, particularly the funding bodies.
• Additionally, the IQ standard contributes to organisational sustainability by encouraging the transfer of tacit knowledge to documented processes and procedures.
• The IQ standard is noted for its particular suitability for Small and Medium Sized charities.
• The IQ Standard is noted for an increased flexibility and for its unique focus on potentially diverse collaborative relationships, as well as its capacity to support development of local impact and community leadership.
• The IQ standard was found to be accessible, easily integrated with existing reporting and user-friendly

To support further market and brand development of the IQ standard, we recommend to focus on the following areas:
1. Differentiation of the IQ standard based on its USP as a tool for organisational development and continuous improvement.
2. Emphasis on the IQ’ additional unique proposition of Leadership Development.
3. Emphasizing simplicity in the IQ Standards’ guiding structures and principles may maximize its potential relevance to a diverse range of organisations.
4. Maintaining a business model based on open access to the standard, and offering a value added proposition (e.g. kitemarking, community access, supplementary support and resources) through paid membership.
5. Considering positioning IQ as a ‘collaborative standard’.
6. Continuous effort to support brand penetration amongst key funding bodies and agencies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Jul 2020


  • Quality Standard
  • Small and medium sized charities


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