The Growth Company is contracted by the Department for Education to administer and manage the matrix Standard starting on 11th January 2020.
Crisis are the national charity for homeless people, striving to end homelessness. The charity holds a matrix Accreditation and we have had the opportunity to talk to Matt Green, Director Crisis Skylight Birmingham who leads as Crisis’s internal sponsor on matrix Standard.
Why did you choose matrix Standard?
“We decided to be assessed by matrix, not because we needed to for any contractual agreements but because we believed in the standard. We believe reflection is very important, being able to look back and learn is something we feel is vital and the matrix Standard helps us do this efficiently.
We wanted to be externally validated for our services and have an outside perspective to keep us on track for our objectives.
As an organisation, we try to be a learning environment and the matrix Standard contributes to our continuous improvement.
IAG is the umbrella to all our services and this then leads to the coaching of our members (service users) – the matrix Standard helps us ensure the information and guidance we provide is of the highest standard.
As we deal with individuals, everyone has got a story. We are dealing with humans, so we need to personalise it otherwise they may switch off.
‘We are predominantly funded through donations, charitable grants and trusts as we are both a service delivery & campaigning organisation.’
This is part of the reason why we choose matrix - to challenge ourselves. We actively promote the fact we have a matrix Standard Accreditation when recruiting and finds it helps us attract talent to our organisation and this helps us deliver our services to a good standard.”
How did you find the assessment process?
“We enjoyed the process and briefed all our staff before the assessment day, so everyone was on board and Leadership and Management did a chronology. You do need to put in the work for the assessment but it’s worth it.
Matt was the organisation lead for matrix Standard in their recent review assessment and his knowledge and expertise was impressive. He’s been involved with matrix Standard since 2010 at Crisis.
Having virtual visits meant we could do some meetings to some of our skylight centres across the county and we enjoyed the recognition to staff and centres it provided.”
What elements of the standard were attractive to you as an organisation? What are the main benefits to Crisis?
“It’s so valuable having someone come in with fresh eyes and especially someone who doesn’t know our service but does know IAG because quality is quality. Offering suggestions and use of best practice in the team. Our quality cycle was immediate because of the matrix Standard which has previously led to the immediate training of staff.
The matrix Standard has led to a consistent approach to the induction of staff. NVQ L3 work and learning coaches came out of the Accreditation as part of our standardisation.
It helped us foster a culture when speaking to staff about change. There were also some valuable lessons learned from the process.
We look at the recommendations and apply them accordingly. SMT and key SLG members were involved throughout the process, highlighting the whole organisational approach to the assessment.
What advice would you give to another organisation going through assessment?
“Embracing the challenges in development is a positive approach to go into the matrix assessment.
Be willing to be open and vulnerable to your Practitioner and give them as much exposure as possible to your client group and staff. This allows them to share a valuable anonymised, honest reflection for you take on the lessons learned. Don’t only pick the people who are probably going to give praise - It’s important to get a balanced opinion, so don’t try to manufacture the planning of the assessment.”
Tell us about your experience with your matrix Practitioner?
“Having someone from outside of the organisation with an objective approach was great. He was very good at listening and putting people at ease. Our members tell them warts and all which in turn brings objectivity and quality in IAG.
We were really impressed the assessor took the time to understand our organisation beyond the assessment.
Our members benefit greatly from the matrix Assessment as we take the areas of recommendation for developments very seriously. It does direct the pace of change for members and for staff. Best practice teams are what we want to deliver and externally disseminate.
For example, our training and development of staff is now better at induction with consistency, e-learning platforms and the completion of certain programmes.”
Thanks to Matt for taking the time to talk to us and offering some sound advice for those yet to go through the assessment.
Crisis are a crucial charity and do amazing work in the community. We are delighted the matrix Standard has been able to help them showcase the high quality of their advice and guidance. Now more than ever it is vitally important for IAG services to be offering the best possible advice and Crisis have some amazing December campaigns and activities to support their mission.
This Christmas their frontline teams will be providing essential support. They’ll be on hand with emotional and wellbeing support, offering everything from Christmas games and advice to volunteer befrienders. Nutritious meals, somewhere to stay, help for the future – it will make such a difference to people.
Check out their website to see how you and your organisation can get involved.