Early Years were awarded the EFQM Steps to Excellence Gold Award by the Centre for Competitiveness in January 2012 with the formal presentation taking place in Belfast City Hall. Steps to Excellence is a recognition scheme for Northern Ireland organisations to be assessed against the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Model by an external team of trained validators.
The Northern Ireland Quality Awards, organised by the Centre for Competitiveness, is the premier business event in Northern Ireland to recognise organisations that have demonstrated excellence in their overall business performance. From the broad range of past winners, many have gone on to achieve further awards at UK and European levels, making Northern Ireland one of the most successful regions of Europe.
The Northern Ireland Quality Awards process was established in 1994. Based on the internationally recognised EFQM Excellence Model, the process provides one of the most robust means of assessing how well an organisation is performing. Of the 200 plus organisations that have been involved in the process, the applicants include micro-businesses, Government Agencies, Large Public sector Departments, Councils, Schools and Colleges, Hotels, multi-national private companies and those from the Voluntary sector.
Early Years commenced its journey on the Steps to Excellence programme in 2009 and was awarded the EFQM Steps to Excellence Bronze Award by the Centre for Competitiveness in January 2010. The organisation was hoping to achieve the Steps to Excellence Silver Award this year, but has been delighted that it has achieved the Gold Award.
Investors in People is a business improvement tool designed to advance an Organisation's performance by matching what people can do and are motivated to do, with what the Organisation needs them to do. It's proven to be the most successful framework for business improvement through people management. The Investors in People standard is the core foundation of good management practice; it allows businesses to achieve greater profitability, better performance and increased productivity. The Investors in People standard is about getting the strategy right, enhancing employee engagement, improving management effectiveness and evaluating what's working best for the Organisation.
Early Years has had a long commitment to investing in its people and successfully achieved Investors in People accreditation in September 2002. The Organisation recognises that its people are the most valuable asset that it has and that investing in their development and growth adds value for those who access services, members, funders and other stakeholders.
Early Years were awarded the Investors in People Silver Award in November 2011. The achievement of Silver within the Investors in People framework is significant to our organisation and demonstrates a progressive approach to business improvement through our people. We have achieved an additional 76 requirements on top of the IIP standard making us 1% of the Organisations in the UK who have achieved the IIP Silver Award.
This clearly demonstrates that we are an organisation that learns from experience and that are committed to excellence in people management practices.
In January 2011, the Finance and Fund Management Departments of Early Years – the organisation for young children successfully achieved the Quality Management Standard ISO 9001:2008. This required a Quality Management System to be implemented within the two departments to promote structure, organisation and consistency throughout the two departments’ key processes with the aim of ensuring that the needs of customers and other stakeholders are met.
This Quality Management Standard is awarded for a three year period and will be reviewed annually to ensure the two departments continue to work to the required standard.
Early Years successfully retained the ISO 9001:2008 standard in January 2013.