Quality standards set out expectations that a good organisation should meet. There are a number of different standards and assessment methods also differ, with some using external assessment and accreditation, whilst others are based entirely on self-assessment.

Some of the more common business-focussed standards are a poor fit for not-for-profit organisations that have differing governance arrangements from those of most businesses, and operating models that are focussed on the needs of the people they serve. The requirements of many quality standards are way in excess of what would reasonably be needed by a small, local not for profit. These organisations can usually not afford to invest in expensive quality standards and external assessment. Similarly, funders and commissioners look for a way to ensure an adequate level of quality in services without overloading not-for-profit organisations without burdening them with unnecessary bureaucracy.


Luton Borough Council are using IQ as the minimum standard for organisations taking referrals from their new social prescribing service Total Wellbeing. This enables the local authorities to manage risk by ensuring that people referred through the project benefit from safe and good quality services from small, local not for profit organisations. Organisations taking part benefit from the capacity building that comes from working through the standard.