Frequently Asked Questions – Independent Accreditation Programme – Quality Standards For Services Supporting Male Victims / Survivors Of Sexual Violence

Q1. What is the Independent Accreditation Programme?

Q2. Why is there an Independent Accreditation Programme?

Q3. What happens when a service provider demonstrates they meet the Quality Standards?

Q4. Why is LimeCulture the independent accreditor for the Male Survivor Partnership’s (MSP) Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence?

Q5. How does LimeCulture ensure they are accrediting service providers consistently and fairly?

Q6. Can we appeal to LimeCulture if our service is not awarded the Quality Mark?

Q7. Is it mandatory that we join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

Q8. We are a member of an umbrella organisation that has its own standards which we adhere to. Is this enough to demonstrate that we are achieving these Quality Standards?

Q9. How much support will LimeCulture give me/my service to reach the standards?

Q10. Why doesn’t LimeCulture provide template documents or other guidance to help us meet the standards?

WHO CAN JOIN THE MALE QUALITY STANDARDS ACCREDITATION PROGRAMME?

Q11. What type of service providers can join the Independent Accreditation Programme for the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence?

Q12. Can we join the Independent Accreditation Programme for both the Male Quality Standards and the ISVA Quality Standards?

Q13. We provide a service for adult male victims/survivors, but we do not provide an ISVA service. Can we join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

Q14. We support female and male victims/survivors – can we join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

Q15. I am an individual therapist supporting adult male victims/survivors of sexual violence. Can I join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

HOW lONG DOES THE PROGRAMME TAKE?

Q16. How long does the Independent Accreditation Programme take?

Q17. If we take longer than 12 months to demonstrate that we are achieving the Quality Standards, will we fail the accreditation?

Q18. What flexibility does the Independent Accreditation Team have when interpreting the Quality Standards and the decision to award the Quality Mark?

Q19. Is there any flexibility around meeting the standards? We are concerned that we could do all the work required but have to wait for our accreditation because of factors outside our control.

Q20. How long can conditions last?

HOW MUCH DOES THE INDEPENDENT ACCREDITATION PROGRAMME COST?

Q21. How much does it cost to join a Programme?

Q22. We have more than one base where our staff work. Is there an additional charge for additional sites?

Q23. We sometimes use third party offices/consultation rooms to see our clients. Does that mean we have to include these sites in our accreditation?

Q24. We want to enrol our counselling and ISVA service on the Male Quality Standards programme. What is the cost?

Q25. How will the published charges apply to my service?

Q26. We enrolled on the programme and our workshop is coming up but on reflection think this is not for us. Can we withdraw?

Q27. We’ve attended a workshop but we’re no longer sure it’s for us.

Q28. Our service was allocated a fully funded place (by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, or the Home Office) but no longer want to participate. What are the implications?

Q29. Our commissioner has paid our fees. Can we withdraw?

Q30. Quality Standard 1.3 refers to having policies and procedures in place specifically supporting adult male victims/survivors. Do we have to create a separate set of policies and procures for those clients?

Q31. Quality Standard 1.6 refers to a visible male presence across the organisation. We don’t have any male employees at the moment – can we still meet this Quality Standard?

Q32. Quality Standard 2.3 refers to equitable access to all services and premises for all clients, regardless of gender. We provide a women-only service on specific days – can we still meet this Quality Standard?

Q33. Quality Standard 3.5 refers to providing a choice of gender of support worker for male clients. Does this mean we have to employ males in order to meet this Quality Standard?

Q34. We can provide our clients with a choice of gender of professional, but our male professional only works part time so is not available at all times. Is this a problem?

Q35. Quality Standard 4.2 refers to implementing a client consultative group. Do we have to set up a service user panel just for male clients?

 

Q1. What is the Independent Accreditation Programme?

A1. LimeCulture has established a programme of accreditation. The purpose is to provide an independent assessment or verification for service providers seeking to demonstrate that they are meeting the following Quality Standards:

  • Male Survivor Partnership Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence

  • Quality Standards for ISVA Services

Q2. Why is there an Independent Accreditation Programme?

A2. To provide an external, verifiable and consistent evaluation of service performance against the published Quality Standards. This means that clients, commissioners and funders and the providers themselves can be assured about the service’s standards of delivery.

Q3. What happens when a service provider demonstrates they meet the Quality Standards?

A3. Service providers that meet the relevant Quality Standards will be awarded a Quality Mark for three years. They receive a certificate which can be displayed at the service providers premises and digital logos for use on marketing materials, email signatures, websites and funding applications.

Q4. Why is LimeCulture the independent accreditor for the Male Survivor Partnership’s (MSP) Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence?

A4. After the MSP developed the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence, they also wanted an independent accreditation programme to provide a way for commissioners, service providers and clients to readily see and understand where services have been assessed as meeting those standards. The MSP has taken the decision that in order to ensure their Quality Standards are being consistently applied, there should be a single external accreditor and have appointed LimeCulture to undertake this role and this function.

Q5. How does LimeCulture ensure they are accrediting service providers consistently and fairly?

A5. We are committed to objectivity, fairness and transparency within the Independent Accreditation Programme and at each stage of the accreditation process:

  • Each enrolled service is allocated to one of our Accreditation Managers who is responsible for all elements of the accreditation

  • The team is led by a member of our Senior Management Team (SMT) at LimeCulture

  • We have incorporated a process of management audit which is applied to every service prior to site visits being undertaken and involves a review of a sample of evidence to verify the assessment made by the nominated Accreditation Manager

  • Some (randomly selected) site visits will include a member of the LimeCulture SMT to ensure the process is being carried out fairly, consistently and transparently

Q6. Can we appeal to LimeCulture if our service is not awarded the Quality Mark?

A6. In the event your service is unable to address the outstanding actions required to meet the Quality Standards, we have an appeals process to review the decisions taken by your Accreditation Manager and, where necessary, to re-review the evidence submitted during the accreditation process. You can request a copy of our appeals process by emailing accreditation@limeculture.co.uk

Q7. Is it mandatory that we join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

A7. Applying either of the Quality Standards in your service is entirely voluntary, however, service providers are increasingly recognising the benefits of meeting the Quality Standards and displaying the Quality Mark. Additionally, an increasing number of commissioners and funders are incorporating this requirement into service specifications. You should discuss this with your commissioner if you are unclear about whether they expect your service to join the Independent Accreditation Programme.

Q8. We are a member of an umbrella organisation that has its own standards which we adhere to. Is this enough to demonstrate that we are achieving these Quality Standards?

A8. Whilst we recognise that there are other service standards available to members of umbrella organisations, these do not demonstrate that your service has achieved the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence or the Quality Standards for ISVA Services. No other organisations are able to offer accreditation against this standards document.

Q9. How much support will LimeCulture give me/my service to reach the standards?

A9. As this is an independent accreditation programme, the amount of support LimeCulture can offer is limited. We will always try and make suggestions about where you may source relevant advice or guidance but cannot provide significant support or help because that would mean that the accreditation is not independent.

Q10. Why doesn’t LimeCulture provide template documents or other guidance to help us meet the standards?

A10. As this is an independent accreditation programme, the amount of support LimeCulture can offer is limited. We will always try and make suggestions about where you may source relevant advice or guidance but cannot provide significant support or help because this would mean that the accreditation is not independent.

WHO CAN JOIN THE MALE QUALITY STANDARDS ACCREDITATION PROGRAMME?

Q11. What type of service providers can join the Independent Accreditation Programme for the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence?

A11. The Quality Standards apply to any service working with adult (18+) male victims/survivors of sexual violence. To date, charitable/voluntary, statutory and private sector providers delivering specialised therapeutic, ISVA and helpline services as well as Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and universities have enrolled on the programme.

Q12. Can we join the Independent Accreditation Programme for both the Male Quality Standards and the ISVA Quality Standards?

A12. Yes, if your service provides an ISVA service to adult male victims/survivors. However, as the Quality Standards are different in scope and focus, you will need to demonstrate that you meet both sets of Quality Standards separately.

Q13. We provide a service for adult male victims/survivors, but we do not provide an ISVA service. Can we join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

A13. By supporting adult male victims/survivors of sexual violence, you can apply to join the Independent Accreditation Programme for the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence.

Q14. We support female and male victims/survivors – can we join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

A14. Yes. We are keen to work with all service providers that support adult male victims/survivors, regardless of whether the service also supports females and/or children.

Q15. I am an individual therapist supporting adult male victims/survivors of sexual violence. Can I join the Independent Accreditation Programme?

A15. The Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors are intended for organisations providing services only. The Quality Standards stipulate the service provider is an incorporated legal entity with a robust governance structure and has defined aims and objectives.

HOW LONG DOES THE PROGRAMME TAKE?

Q16. How long does the Independent Accreditation Programme take?

A16. The Independent Accreditation Programme for both Quality Standards is a robust, seven stage process which typically takes up to 12 months. Demonstrating your service is meeting either of the Quality Standards will depend on many factors and your Accreditation Manager will work closely with you and your colleagues throughout.

Q17. If we take longer than 12 months to demonstrate that we are achieving the Quality Standards, will we fail the accreditation?

A17. We are keen to work flexibly with service providers. However, we have limited resources and have to plan our work and schedules accordingly. When you join the Independent Accreditation Programme, we discuss with you our expected timescales based on our experience of other similar services and we ask you to work within the agreed timescales. That said, we are always mindful of unexpected delays and your Accreditation Manager will work closely you to ensure you remain on course.

Q18. What flexibility does the Independent Accreditation Team have when interpreting the Quality Standards and the decision to award the Quality Mark?

A18. The Quality Mark can only be awarded when all the standards have been met and the Independent Accreditation Team have received evidence against each indicator. Many of the indicators can be met in a number of different ways and whilst we provide an example evidence planner, this does not limit the provider or stifle innovative new approaches to service delivery. We understand that there may be a number of ways that service providers can demonstrate they are meeting the Quality Standards.

Q19. Is there any flexibility around meeting the standards? We are concerned that we could do all the work required but have to wait for our accreditation because of factors outside our control.

A19. The Independent Accreditation Team can issue an accreditation with conditions. This is used where your Accreditation Manager is satisfied that a service has met all the standards, but evidence is not yet available. An example of where an accreditation with conditions could be issued is where a service has updated its marketing materials and had appropriate sign off for the new contents but have not yet received the new materials back from the printers.

Q20. How long can conditions last?

A20. The Independent Accreditation Team will agree a realistic date with you, normally within the following three months, during which time we will ask you to provide the remaining/outstanding evidence to us. If you complete this successfully, the condition will be removed. If you fail to complete this successfully, the accreditation/Quality Mark will be removed.

HOW MUCH DOES THE INDEPENDENT ACCREDITATION PROGRAMME COST?

Q21. How much does it cost to join a Programme?

A21. The cost of joining the Independent Accreditation Programme is currently £3,500 + VAT. This cost is for one service, which is based at a single site, and includes the accreditation workshop, evidential review, action planning, a site visit, final report and where successful, a certificate of accreditation and digital/print logos.

Q22. We have more than one base where our staff work. Is there an additional charge for additional sites?

A22. Where services are delivered from more than one site and/or a service requires more than one site visit, there will be an additional charge of between £1,000 – £3,500 (+ VAT) depending on circumstances and location. Any additional charges are based on the additional work that is required of our Independent Accreditation Team in order to ensure that the Quality Standards are applied throughout the service’s bases.

Q23. We sometimes use third party offices/consultation rooms to see our clients. Does that mean we have to include these sites in our accreditation?

A23. We understand that it may be more convenient for your clients for you to see them at third party locations (such as GP surgeries, in schools, client home addresses) and we will ask you to tell us about them when you are enrolled on the programme and why they are suitable venues for your service. We will not make additional charges for these sites where they are used irregularly and do not fall within the control of your organisation.

Q24. We want to enrol our counselling and ISVA service on the Male Quality Standards programme. What is the cost?

A24. Where providers deliver more than one service that they wish to enrol on the programme at the same time, for example ISVA and counselling services, these will be treated as two services.  Where the service delivery model (management arrangements, policies and procedures) and a single contract is in place covering both services, the cost of accreditation can be reduced for the second service if undertaken at the same time as accreditation of the first service. Depending on circumstances and location the additional charge will be between £1,000 and £3,500 (+ VAT). We will discuss these costs with you before you enrol.

Q25. How will the published charges apply to my service?

A25. In order for us to be able to provide you with a tailored quote, our advice is to get in touch with us, tell us about your organisation and we will provide you with a cost for joining the programme. LimeCulture CIC is a social enterprise and do not seek to make a profit. However, we do need to cover our costs of providing the accreditation. This means that we have to make additional charges to cover the additional work our team must undertake where there is more than one service or site to consider.

LEAVING THE PROGRAMME

Q26. We enrolled on the programme and our workshop is coming up but on reflection think this is not for us. Can we withdraw?

A26. Whether or not your service enrols on the programme is a matter for service providers. We strongly urge you to read the relevant standards document and our Terms and Conditions carefully before submitting your application to join the programme. If you think you may want to withdraw, we suggest you speak to an Accreditation Manager (email accreditation@limeculture.co.uk) as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances. In many cases an Accreditation Manager will be able to answer your concerns about continuing.

Q27. We’ve attended a workshop but we’re no longer sure it’s for us.

A27. Speak to your Accreditation Manager as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances. In many cases an Accreditation Manager will be able to reassure you of any concerns that you may have and discuss ways forward that take into account your individual circumstances. Please note that once you have attended the workshop and have therefore started the Independent Accreditation programme, no refund can be made under our Terms and Conditions.

Q28. Our service was allocated a fully funded place (by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, or the Home Office) but no longer want to participate. What are the implications?

A28. Once a funded place has been awarded, we are obliged to discuss potential and actual withdrawals from the programme with the funders. We also tell the MSP when services join, leave or complete the programme as they want to keep a central record of accredited services.

Q29. Our commissioner has paid our fees. Can we withdraw?

A29. Once a commissioner has funded a place on the programme, we maintain a dialogue with them about service progression towards accreditation. As a part of this, we are obliged to discuss potential and actual withdrawals from the programme with the commissioner. In accordance with our Terms and Conditions, there can be no refunds where services decide not to continue. Your commissioner may wish to discuss with you what the implications of your withdrawal are, but this is not something that LimeCulture would become involved with.

FAQ RELATING TO SPECIFIC QUALITY STANDARDS FOR SERVICES SUPPORTING MALES VICTIMS/SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Q30. Quality Standard 1.3 refers to having policies and procedures in place specifically supporting adult male victims/survivors. Do we have to create a separate set of policies and procures for those clients?

A30. We do not expect service providers to rewrite all of their policies and processes adopting the male pronoun for the purpose of demonstrating this Quality Standard. However, we do expect to see processes, procedures and/or working practices that reflect the differing needs of male victims/survivors. For example, where a service provider adopts a different or unique approach to supporting their male clients, we would expect this to be documented. This may include differing referral pathways or a specific engagement strategy for male victims/survivors.

Q31. Quality Standard 1.6 refers to a visible male presence across the organisation. We don’t have any male employees at the moment – can we still meet this Quality Standard?

A31. We believe that services can demonstrate a visible male presence across the organisation in a number of ways, whether or not you have male employees. For example, you could incorporate images and information about males on your website and in published materials. Your client areas could feature support materials, furnishings and fixtures which will help your male clients feel welcome and valued. You should also think about how you can demonstrate to us and to your clients that the organisation at all levels is taking on board the views and suggestions of males to ensure that the service is able to meet their needs.

Q32. Quality Standard 2.3 refers to equitable access to all services and premises for all clients, regardless of gender. We provide a women-only service on specific days – can we still meet this Quality Standard?

A32. When considering this Quality Standard, it is important to understand the difference between equitable and equal access:

  • Equal access – the access is the same, regardless of the individual

  • Equitable access – the access is tailored to the individual needs of the client

Broadly, we know male and female victims/survivors may require different types of support and we also know that each victim/survivor, regardless of their gender, has their own individual needs. Whilst, for example, this can include female-only spaces on certain days or could include extended opening times for male victims/survivors, it is the responsibility of the service provider to identify the individual needs of the clients to ensure they are providing equitable access for all clients.

Q33. Quality Standard 3.5 refers to providing a choice of gender of support worker for male clients. Does this mean we have to employ males in order to meet this Quality Standard?

A33. We recognise that some service providers have single gender staff teams and do not have the capacity or resources to recruit additional professionals of the opposite gender in order to meet this Quality Standard. In this case, we would expect to see that the service provider has put other arrangements in place to ensure they are able to offer a choice of gender of support worker. This could be a secondment or partnership arrangement with another service provider, sessional or self-employed professionals or other arrangements to ensure that a choice is offered. Either way, choice must be offered and respected in order to meet this Quality Standard.

Q34. We can provide our clients with a choice of gender of professional, but our male professional only works part time so is not available at all times. Is this a problem?

A34. No. We do not expect any staff member to be available at all times, male or female. We also understand that it may be necessary to have rotas where there is not a male professional available at all times. The important element we are looking for is that your service can demonstrate that they are able to offer their male clients a choice of gender of the professional who can support them. If the client is unable to access the support of the professional of the gender of their choice immediately, then it is acceptable for the service to provide the client with information about when the professional will be available to enable the client to make an informed decision about the professional who can support them.

Q35. Quality Standard 4.2 refers to implementing a client consultative group. Do we have to set up a service user panel just for male clients?

A35. We expect service providers to demonstrate that they are engaging with former or current male service users to meaningfully consult with them about the service they receive(d). This can be achieved in a number of ways that could include setting up a male-only service user panel or ensuring male representation on a standing service user panel. The formality, formation or frequency of the service user groups is for the service provider to determine and could range from engaging with male clients on an ad hoc consultation basis about specific themes through to formal boards of service users. The key element that we are looking for is that services are able to demonstrate that they consult with male services users in order to elicit their views, experiences and suggestions about key aspects of service provision.