Blog: Investors in People Gold is not just for Christmas

Jane Gray
Jane Gray

ARK Housing Association CEO Jane Gray celebrates ARK’s Investors in People Gold status and reflects on the collaboration and learning that came along with all the hard work.

ARK has retained its Investors in People (IIP) Gold status with the following endorsement from our assessor:

‘I feel that you should be a best practice organisation in the delivery of person centred care/support that is recognised by Scottish Government. With an integrated care and health agenda I feel this is even more important. I work with a great deal of organisations both here and globally with Investors in People. Judging by the benchmark I can say without hesitation that your leadership at all levels is simply outstanding as is the drive and commitment of your workforce to deliver the highest standards of care in what are very challenging circumstances.’

Of course we are delighted as we believe the IIP process is a benchmark for good practice and we have fully integrated the IIP framework as ARKs standard for continuous improvement. This a wonderful recognition of all our staff: of how the leadership respond to feedback from the organisation and just how much our frontline staff invest in making the organisation the very best we can for everyone.

By coining the phrase ‘not just for Christmas’ we wanted to emphasise that we take the award and process to get it very seriously. We want to continuously audit the organisation against a set of standards and honestly reflect where we can do better to achieve ARK’s strategic aim of supporting good lives now and for a generation to come. We can’t achieve that aim if we are not working and supporting our staff in the best possible ways.

Investors in People is a globally recognised standard for managing people in innovative and collaborative ways that produce business results. The steps to IIP accreditation include self-assessment against IIP criteria to get a picture of the current state of the organisation, working with a dedicated IIP practitioner and carrying out a detailed set of interviews with staff and service users.

Our journey

We put together an IIP Continuous Improvement Team in January 2015 which was made up of staff from all areas of the business. Their work plan was designed to help ARK focus on two areas: to value, support and develop our workforce and to engage with our internal and external stakeholders.

In February 2015, 19 services were visited, 120 staff were interviewed (the majority were front line) and a number of service users were also included in interviews. By July 2015 all our review reports had been submitted to IIP Scotland and their recommendations had been made back to us. From those recommendations we made changes and improvements that meant we were able to retain our IIP Gold accreditation.

We learned a lot during the review period, especially about the things that were not working in ARK. We heard about things that were making staff feel pressured or not always valued and we heard that some of our internal systems were not working so well. Putting ourselves forward for IIP accreditation was a catalyst for helping us improve from the inside out.

As a publicly funded organisation with the welfare of people at the heart of what it does, we have a duty to always listen and reflect on how we do things. Not just for the people who use our services but for the people who deliver them. National financial pressures are creating unprecedented challenges for both the welfare system and the care sector. Investors in People helps us navigate those challenges and continue to find ways to deliver what our customers want.

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