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What do we mean by quality management?

Quality management is the set of procedures by which you ensure that the standard of delivery remains high and that impact continues to be delivered over time. It usually comprises:

Quality Assurance is closely linked to Support Packages – ensuring that partners have what they need to meet their Roles and Responsibilities

Quality Control is usually remedial – correcting where delivery goes wrong through measures such as site visits, reporting requirements, and so on.

Why do you care about quality management?

Your scaling model is a way of translating your current level of impact to a larger audience. As your footprint grows, there is a risk that poor quality delivery of your solution will be harder to pick up on and correct. This is especially important when your chosen scale pathway involves delivery through an implementing partner. 

Quality management also helps to ensure that delivery remains high quality over time.

When to focus on quality management?

This tool will help you think about both Quality Assurance and Quality Control. However, we have already covered Quality Assurance when thinking about your Support Packages to potential partners. Therefore, you may want to think about the importance of Quality Control when deciding whether to focus on this tool:

It can be helpful to focus on Quality Management if:

  • Achieving quality impact has been identified as a crucial reason for scaling
  • Your intervention is complex, and many risky elements could go wrong
  • Your organisational reputation relies on quality implementation

You may choose not to focus on Quality Management if:

  • You are pursuing a lighter-touch scaling model
  • Your intervention is simple and unlikely to go wrong
  • You are trying to keep costs low
  • You want to create a democratic, bottom-up atmosphere among your partners


To work on the tool worksheet, follow these steps:

  • Make a copy to your own Google Drive folder: Click file > Make a copy > Entire presentation > Select your personal drive folder, OR
  • Download a copy to your desktop: Click file > Download > Microsoft Word (or other file type)

Step 1

Define your quality management standards

Look at the Roles and Responsibilities that you expect partners to fulfil. Pick all the activities that you think should form the basis of a quality standard, i.e. those activities for which failure to complete them properly might undermine your scaling model’s impact, sustainability, or effectiveness. 

For each responsibility, define a key indicator that will form the basis of the quality standard. The indicator should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It should provide you with a single sentence descriptor that, if you were able to observe all your partners all of the time, would tell you if they were delivered successfully.

Top Tip

You may find that some responsibilities can be grouped under a single quality standard. For example, you may have decided that partners will be responsible for collecting and sharing impact data with you. While you could set a separate quality standard for each of these actions, you may decide that, since a partner would not be able to share data that they had not collected, a quality standard covering both activities would be sufficient.

Step 2

Assess your quality assurance

If you have not already done so, complete the Support Packages tool to help you understand what initial and ongoing support you will be providing to your partners. 

Once you have an idea of the support that partners will be expecting from you, critically consider these packages as a whole with reference to the defined quality standards. The question to ask yourself is:

Would a reasonably competent partner of the type we are likely to work with* be able to meet this quality standard, initially and on an ongoing basis, if they had access to this support from us and nothing else?

*Please see the Partner Profile tool for further help outlining who you will work with.

Record any concerns you have. Assess whether you:

  • Are satisfied that the support package will be sufficient for equipping partners to deliver the quality standards. 
  • Need to provide partners with more support (and if so, what is that support)

Top tip:

At this stage, it is likely that any assessment of the support package’s effectiveness will be based on your intuition alone. You may consider devising a test to see if these support packages can effectively support quality delivery.

Step 3

Prioritise measures for quality control (Optional)

This step is optional, as you may decide that, given the nature of your solution or the scale pathway chosen, there is little need for quality control or that quality control would not be practical (for example, a scale pathway that includes little ongoing contact between yourself and any partners, or one where the overall quality of the partners’ activities are not of primary importance).

Use the Risk and Certainty matrix at the end of this worksheet to assess the size of the risk regarding each quality standard that is:

  • The likelihood that a partner will fail to meet that quality standard
  • The impact that failing to meet that quality standard will have on the scaling model.

Based on your results, pick the 5-10 ‘highest risk’ quality standards that will form the basis of your quality control measures.


Step 4

Define quality control measures (Optional)

Using the table at the end of this worksheet, hypothesise the measures you will use to pick up on and correct poor-quality delivery. These should be separate from the quality assurance measures discussed in Step 2.

Collectively, these measures should be capable of:

  • Identifying where your critical quality standards are not being met
  • Assisting partners to return to quality delivery

Top Tip

Discuss with your team how to handle partners consistently failing quality standards, especially when quality controls are costly. Decide how many strikes you will grant a partner before deciding to end a relationship and plan how you might escalate, measured so that you right-size the cost of the intervention to the nature of the breach. Particularly important here will be a discussion on why a partner fails to meet quality standards repeatedly. Is there anything you might need to do differently?

Step 5

Reflect and test

Take a step back and consider the measures as a whole. Note your answers to the following reflection questions:

  • Overall, how confident are you that your support packages will be able to support your partners to meet the quality standards?
  • How confident are you that any quality control measures you have identified will effectively identify and correct instances of low quality?
  • How much have you had to add to your scaling model throughout this exercise? What are the cost implications of these decisions?
  • What are your biggest concerns? What actions are required to alleviate your concerns?

As you roll out your scaling plans, you should test how your quality management processes work to ensure they effectively uphold the defined quality standards.



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