Quality Support in Safe Hands

12 Aug 2014

Community impact central to new-look Quest 2014

Leisure providers undertaking Quest - the sport and leisure industry's leading quality scheme - will need to prove they are making a difference in their communities in order to pass the assessment. 
From 1st August this year, the new Community Outcomes module will be compulsory for all leisure facilities and development teams undergoing Quest Plus, and will look at factors such as health education, health improvement, populations, community outreach and partnerships. 
A central aim of the new module is to make it easier for leisure providers to demonstrate to local authority partners and other stakeholders that they offer a solid social return on investment. While most of the areas it covers were already being assessed under other modules, this will be the first time they have been combined under a single umbrella. Also, unlike some of the previous modules covering these areas, Community Outcomes will be a core module rather than an optional one. 
"The introduction of the Community Outcomes module is a significant addition to Quest," said Caroline Constantine, Quest operations director and director of Right Directions, which runs the scheme. "Its goal is to enable managers and staff to demonstrate the impact they're having on the local community. This may be evidenced in a multitude of ways: an improved contribution to health and wellbeing, crime reduction and increased sport participation are just a few examples. Leisure facilities have a fundamental role to play in improving the lives of their communities and this module will show their commitment." 
Ian Brooke, head of leisure and parks for Oxford City Council, said: "Quest is a robust scheme that helps drive the leisure sector forward and the changes just announced show they're listening to feedback. As a local authority, more community focus is great for us as is the increased emphasis on the health and wellbeing agenda." 
Carl Bennett, CIMPSA chair and senior health improvement specialist for Stoke City Council, said: "It is clear most leisure providers do contribute to health and to community improvement, as well as to the crucial partnerships required to make both those themes work. The Community Outcomes module combines these strands in a single approach, meaning all providers that achieve Quest Plus will now be able to demonstrate they're addressing these issues. As we continue to move through this austerity landscape, this new module is going to help leisure providers articulate their value much more effectively." 
In order to make way for the Community Outcomes module, two other core modules - Business Planning and Continuous Improvement - will be merged to form a new Business Improvement module. Meanwhile, the optional Health and Wellbeing module will be discontinued. 
Other key changes to the scheme include the introduction of an optional module on Safeguarding Children, developed in partnership with the NSPCC; and the integration of ASA's swim21 accreditation as another optional module.

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