LimeCulture welcomes 1st wave ISVA Services to Independent Accreditation Programme

LimeCulture recently opened their Independent Accreditation Programme to Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) Services who wish to be independently accredited again the Quality Standards for ISVA Services. These standards were launched at the National ISVA Conference in November 2018 and were developed by LimeCulture after a year-long period of consultation with ISVA Service providers, commissioners and people who have been supported by ISVA Services.

We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the number of ISVA Services who have applied to join the Independent Accreditation Programme” explains Jo Seward, Director of Operations at LimeCulture. “We knew from the development work that we did with ISVA Service providers and commissioners that there was a lot of support amongst the sector for Quality Standards for ISVA Services”


The rationale for the Quality Standards for ISVA Services are now well understood by ISVA Service Providers and Commissioners. Their purpose is to ensure that:

  • Every victim/survivor should be able to access a high-quality, well managed ISVA service, wherever they are in the country, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexuality or beliefs
  • Ensure that there is consistency in the quality of the support that is being provided by ISVA Services
  • Bench-mark for individual services to monitor their provision against, and also act as a driver to improve quality and consistency across ISVA services collectively
  • For providers, the Quality Standards set out the expectations for the organisational leadership and staff teams, and the client experience
  • For Commissioners, the Quality Standards provide a framework for the development and monitoring of the ISVA services they commission

There is also a huge amount of support for the independent nature of the accreditation against these Quality Standards. “The vast majority of Providers and Commissioners clearly acknowledge that accreditation against the Quality Standards must be from an external organisation that is able to independently validate the quality of the service provision” explains Jo. “In order to ensure that victims/survivors can access high quality ISVA services without a postcode lottery, we must ensure that the Quality Standards are being consistently applied by ISVA Services, regardless of where they are located or who is providing that service”.

LimeCulture ran an application process between December 2018 and January 2019 inviting ISVA Services to join the 1st wave of services joining the Independent Accreditation Programme for the Quality Standards for ISVA Services. “For planning reasons, we limited the number of ISVA Services who could join in the first wave but we were delighted by just how many ISVA Services applied to join the first wave. The good news is that we have adapted our model to allow for more services to join the programme. We’ll now be running a rolling programme of scheduled intakes, which means that ISVA Services can join at set points throughout this year and next”.

The 1st wave of ISVA Services came together for the first time on Wednesday this week in Manchester where they attended the Accreditation Workshop delivered by LimeCulture’s Accreditation Team. The Accreditation workshop sets out the accreditation process, the timeframe and what is expected from ISVA Services in order to demonstrate that they are achieving the Quality Standards. It provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the Quality Standards in detail and exactly what level of evidence LimeCulture’s Accreditation Team will require in order to issue the ISVA Services with our quality mark, the external validation against the Quality Standards for ISVA Services.

“The workshop was a fantastic opportunity for us to meet the wave 1 services and talk through with them exactly what can be expected from the accreditation process” explains Jo. “Our Accreditation Team have the benefit of already working with over 20 services who are working towards the accreditation process for the Male Survivor Partnership’s Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of sexual violence (with further services due to start that process imminently), so we have utilised the experience of those services of going through the accreditation process, to inform these new ISVA Services about how it works“.

LimeCulture expect it to take around 1 year for the ISVA Services to reach independent accreditation, which includes a 7-stage process, but it is clear than some services may well reach accreditation more quickly than this. “It really does depend on how close the ISVA Services is to achieving each of the individual quality standards and how quickly they prioritise any actions that they might have in order to demonstrate that they have achieved the Quality Standards. Yesterday’s Accreditation Workshop was a fantastic opportunity to explore this in detail with the wave 1 ISVA Services, by working with them to identify exactly what they have to do in order to reach the requirements of our independent accreditation” explains Jo.

Due to the huge demand from ISVA Services to join the Independent Accreditation Programme, LimeCulture has been able to extend the programme beyond the 1st wave. “We’re now able to open this programme to more ISVA Services at scheduled intakes, which we are delighted to be able to offer” explains Jo. “We’ve already got other ISVA Services signed up to start in May and July, which is brilliant news and goes to show how important the sector feel these Quality Standards are”

LimeCulture is now taking applications from providers or commissioners of ISVA Services to join the programme throughout this year and next. If you would like to join the Independent Accreditation Programme please contact to discuss which intake you would like to join. Please note, there are a limited number of places for each intake, but we will work with you to identify a suitable intake date.

LimeCulture hosts Commissioners’ Symposium

As part of our (Home Office funded) Spreading Excellence project, LimeCulture hosted a Commissioners’ Symposium in central London last week (20 February).

The Symposium, which was attended by 40 local commissioners, was an invaluable opportunity to bring together local NHS England, Police and Crime Commissioner offices, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authority commissioners to share knowledge and provide a unique opportunity to focus on improving the provision of sexual violence support services through the commissioning process by:

  • Identifying and exploring common themes, challenges and solutions relating to commissioning of local support services,
  • Sharing examples of success stories, as well as areas for improvement,
  • Providing recommendations of how capacity amongst the sexual violence sector can be stimulated to enable better service provision.

The background to this important work is that many sexual violence services, particular in the voluntary and community sector, are increasingly reliant on funding from local commissioners in order to provide their vital services for victims/survivors of sexual violence. However, many services claim that local commissioners do not understand the importance of the work they do, and are overlooking their services in favour of funding other (often bigger and non specialist) service providers.Many providers also claim they do not have the capacity or expertise to respond to complex procurement tenders,and instead rely on central funding pots for survival.

Conversely, commissioners claim some aspects of the sexual violence voluntary sector is not ‘commissioner ready’, lacking the ability to provide services to meet their specifications and are not always well placed to respond to monitoring requirements because of their lack of resources and capacity.

Despite a general acknowledgement that local sexual violence services are an important provision, to date there has been no forum that brings together commissioners, policy leads, and service providers to focus together on building capacity and capability of sexual violence services. Instead at a national level, these key stakeholder groups broadly work in isolation, meaning their expertise, knowledge and skill is not often brought together to jointly focus on improving outcomes for victims/survivors through building capacity and capability of service provision.

LimeCulture’s Spreading Excellence project aims to ensure freely available and focused support focusing on the commissioning process is available to the whole range of sexual violence voluntary sector organisations. This support will be developed through the engagement of local Commissioners, policy advices and other service providers to meaningfully collaborate.

In November 2018, LimeCulture CIC hosted the first meeting of a newly-formed National Working Group. The Working Group identified that the key enabler for this Project is a specific focus on improving knowledge around the commissioning process relating to sexual violence support services. This will be delivered by coproducing a suite of information guides intended for providers. Resources will be shared online and at a Knowledge & Network Event for sexual violence voluntary sector organisations to build capacity through sharing of learning, experience and suggestions from the Commissioners’ Symposium.

The morning session of the Commissioners’ Symposium included three panel discussions focusing on the policy leads’ view, the providers’ view and the commissioners’ view. All three panels prompted invaluable wider discussion about the challenges faced by providers in relation to local commissioning arrangements, with a number of practical solutions identified that would support service providers with this process.

During the Symposium’s afternoon session, the attendees focused on specific elements of the commissioning cycle with a view to making practical recommendations that can support providers with that process.

LimeCulture would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who attended and contributed to this fantastic event. It was a pleasure to observe the clear commitment to improving services for victims/survivors of sexual violence that exists amongst the full range of commissioners that attended the Symposium.

The key outcome of the Symposium will be the development of practical guidance for providers of sexual violence, which will be launched at a free Knowledge and Network Event for providers that will take place in May 2019.

If you would like to know more about LimeCulture’s Spreading Excellence programme, please email