North West Parents & Friends Association


North West Parents and Friends Association (NWPFA) is a voluntary Organisation providing person centred services for children and adults with special needs and their families in the West of Ireland.

In 2011 the Board of Directors decided to embrace a quality standard and in conjunction with the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI). With the assistance of the DFI’s licensed quality standard Mentor Dermot O’Donnell, we commenced working towards implementing Level 1 of the PQASSO Quality Management Standard (QMS) in November of that year.  We successfully achieved our accreditation in July 2016.

In early 2019 prior to the expiration of the PQASSO license period, the Board and Management undertook the task of deciding whether they would continue with the PQASSO Standard or explore whether other standards might be more appropriate to NWPFA. Following this process, the Board of Directors selected the “Improving Quality” (IQ) Standard, as they considered it to be:

In March 2019, NWPFA established an “IQ Quality Committee” to lead and oversee the implementation of the IQ Standard at Foundation Level in the organisation.  This was conducted by Self-Assessing against all of “Requirements” in each of the four Elements of IQ. This exercise was completed in September 2019 when we applied for External Assessment and submitted our evidence and workbook via “IQ Dropbox”.

Our Site Visit took place in October 2019 where interviews and visits to our different Centres took place and further documentation requested.  This Assessment was both rigorous and structured but the Assessor was very flexible and made all our Interviewees feel very comfortable during the Assessment. The Assessment was based on interviews, evidence gathered and observations in each Element of the Standard. The closing Meeting at the end of the Site Visit was very positive.  Our Draft Report was received within one week of the termination of the Site Visit.  We would like to acknowledge the support we received from our colleague in DFI in helping us prepare for this undertaking.

We are delighted to be the first organisation in the Republic of Ireland to be IQ accredited.  Our certificate was presented to us at the annual SOLA Symposium in the University of Limerick on the 6th December 2019.

Concurrent with implementing IQ, we were also in the process of embedding the HSE Report “New Directions – Personal Support Services for Adults with Disabilities” in NWPFA. The discipline gained from Self-Assessing against the four Elements of IQ within our Day Services, greatly helped us when completing our EASI Tool for the HSE.

As our Service Users are the most important Stakeholders in our Organisation, it was a very important piece of work to develop an “Easy to Read” version of the Assessment Report to share with our Service Users.  We are grateful to Community Matters Yorkshire for their kind assistance in developing this Document.

After receiving our certificate of Accreditation, we feel confident that we are compliant with the “Charities Governance Code”, “Implementation of New Directions” and meet all the legal obligations and regulations required of Charitable Organisations in the Republic of Ireland.

Thank you to all involved in gaining this award and also PQASSO.  PQASSO has been achieved over four years and IQ was achieved over 2019.  This is proof of the commitment of everybody involved in preparing for the Accreditation. A particular thank you to our Mentor, Mr. Dermot O’Donnell, Disability Federation of Ireland, who guided us though this process to enable us to achieve both awards.  Special thanks to the Core Team who met every 6 to 8 weeks, to the Board of Directors, CEO, Management, Staff, Service Users and their representatives and Volunteers for all their hard work and dedication in order to achieve both these awards.