Page 5: Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement
Quality Assurance (QA) involves confirming that a service meets all requirements when measured against the purpose of and targets for providing that service.
For example, those seeking legal advice should feel that they have received the advice they expected in a timely way. Advice Centres and Solicitors working with the Legal Services Commission should feel that they have been treated appropriately by the Commission, receiving communications and payment on time using straightforward paperwork. Through QA the Legal Services Commission is able to provide better value for money to the taxpayer and service to the customer.
QA firstly requires that appropriate measures and standards are documented for all processes so that the whole organisation understands what is expected. By auditing against these standards, the Legal Services Commission can assess that it is meeting its own and customer expectations.
Continuous Improvement involves everyone. Employees at the Legal Services Commission can propose ideas through an ongoing suggestion scheme. These are then analysed by senior managers. Throughout the organisation groups of employees come together to discuss improvements to their working practices. The emphasis is on getting work done to the standard required first time, every time, with no waste the aim of Total Quality Management. This reduces time, achieves cost savings and improves productivity.
Through sharing ideas, new ways of working have been established. This creates greater consistency and higher quality. Everyone knows how to do the key tasks to a high standard. Improvements have been facilitated by the development of electronic support, for example, in the creation of simple, well explained e-forms (electronic forms) that make working life simpler.