People are sometimes surprised that children's charities are not inspected. A few of the things we do are inspected by Ofsted; in common with all charities we are regulated by the Charity Commission which means we have to file our annual report and accounts with them; and as a registered business we also have to file our annual accounts with Companies House. Apart from that we are free and independent. However in a competitive world it can be hard to know how we compare to other organisations so things like Investors in People, Investors in Volunteers, CHAS etc. are really important ways for us to ensure we are up to the mark.
This week we received the report of our Investors in People re-assessment which spoke of a 'positive assessment process'; Children North East being 'impressive in many areas' having a 'strong golden thread from mission and purpose to objectives' and 'outcomes supported by a strong business planning process which includes, staff, managers and trustees'. The assessors interviewed 29 people, including some volunteers to reach these conclusions. We employ about 60 staff so it was a large sample.
Last year we changed the organisational structure of Children North East mainly because project staff wanted to collaborate more but the former structure of the organisation put obstacles in the way of that happening easily. So I was reassured the IIP found support for the changes from staff at all levels - 'people felt empowered to put forward ideas, develop solutions and collaborate'. Middle managers in particular said the changes were correct and understood why they had been necessary.
So, very encouraging feedback from an impartial, external source and Children North East has 'comfortably met the standard' for the Investors in People award for a further 3 years.