Quality & Risk Management

Mastering quality – or, in other words, assuring that the educational services can respond to the learners and other stakeholders needs and expectations – means evidence-based decision-making, adapting to changes and enabling continuous improvement. To enable this, both EQAVET and ISO 21001 contain requirements for a systematic approach to quality management and quality assurance, with:

  • a plan-do-check-act approach;
  • clearly defined processes and plans based on those needs and expectations witch effectiveness and efficiency are monitored through indicators;
  • the implementation of early warning systems, capable of identifying situations – problems, potential problems (risks), opportunities – and of taking action to address them.

Criteria

1.8. VET providers have an explicit and transparent quality assurance system in place
2. Implementation plans are devised in consultation with stakeholders and include explicit principles
3.4 Early warning systems are implemented
4.4 Management system for educational organizations (EOMS)
5.1.2 Focus on learners and other beneficiaries
6.1.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities
6.3 Planning of changes
8.1.1 Operational planning and control -General
8.7 Control of the educational nonconforming outputs

VET21001 Tools

The template for processes follows the process description approach recommended by ISO 21001. In this approach, a process is defined as a set of interrelated activities that transform inputs into outputs/results by adding value to them. This approach also considers an internal supplier/internal customer philosophy. To reflect this, the template has columns to describe the activities in each process, the inputs necessary to perform those activities (and where they come from) and the outputs expected as results (and to whom are they destined to). Complementary to the ISO 21001 vision, this VET21001 tool adds a column to the template to identify who is responsible to perform each activity. Although it might be counter intuitive, the first columns to be filled in this template are the central ones with the description of tasks and who is responsible for it. After those columns are filled, which can be done in text or with a flowchart, it is much easier to determine which inputs are needed to perform them and who is the internal or external supplier who will provide them. Likewise, it facilitates the identification of the expected outputs, which can be intermediary or final, and to which internal or external customer are they destined and should be handled to.

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This Action Plan (AP) defines the implementation of surveys on students, parents, teacher/trainers and other collaborators. This action plan defines the activities, inputs, responsible and or organs and others involved as well as the execution mode, deadlines, expected results and modes of dissemination. The document is essential for the EQAVET implementation methodology since it provides the EO (educational organization) with an action plan for receiving the contributions of learners and other beneficiaries.

The document targets all internal interested parties.

This document is related to all the other documents that are referred to the EO activity, namely the intermediate and annual reports.

It relates to ISO 21001 Clause 5.1.2, as it also addresses learners and other beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the Action Plan determines processes for the revision of activities, the institutional dialogue for the continuous improvement of the VET offer and the application of the continuous improvement cycle. With these activities, the EO determines the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed to give assurance that it can achieve their intended outcomes, enhance desirable effects, prevent, mitigate or reduce undesired effects and achieve continual improvement.

The document is essential for the EQAVET implementation methodology and is updated whenever it is necessary, according to the organization’s needs or the public authority orientations.

The document targets the whole EO interested parties, namely the founders of the organization, companies of the sectors served by the school, as well as internal staff and other providers. But it is, essentially, an internal document, for the support of EQAVET implementation.

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The template for risk-actions tabulates the ISO definition of risk and its columns are divided in two main sections:

  1. the description of the risks
  2. the description of the actions to address the risks

The first section contains fields to describe the deviation from the expected that can arise from the state of deficiency of information related to the understanding, or knowledge, of an event, its consequences or likelihood – in other words, to describe the effect of uncertainty, which is the ISO 21001 definition of risk. It also contains fields to describe those potential events and consequences, as well as it’s likelihood of occurrence; and the source of the risk, when this is known.

The second section contains field to record the decisions regarding the acceptability of the risks, as well as to categorize and describe the actions taken or to be taken to address the risk.

The intent of this table is to facilitate deeper, evidence-based, reflections about risks and boost a systematic approach on how to address them.

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According to ISO 31000, risk is the “effect of uncertainty on objectives” and an effect is a positive or negative deviation from what is expected. Therefore, the risk analysis should analyse both threats and opportunities.

Risk analysis is a process that is used to understand the nature, sources, and causes of the risks that you have identified and to estimate the level of risk. It is also used to study impacts and consequences and to examine the controls that currently exist. How detailed your risk analysis ought to be will depend upon the risk, the purpose of the analysis, the information you have, and the resources available.

Risk can be identified during a swot analysis, an audit, a top management review, during the normal processes of the educational organization, etc. The “Template Risk Matrix” identifies first the origin of the risk. The educational organization should identify any risks to processes, organization, Reaching the goals, impartiality, lack of resources (material and human), etc. Should be considered, as well as, internal and external factors that can, in any way, be a risk (threat or opportunity).

The Risk matrix is a simple tool that allows organization to identify the risk, classify it and define the measures according to the risk classification. It also allows organizations to register the control (evidence/efficiency) of each measure.

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The template for integrated improvement system, also known as the SIM table, is a master management tool, which allows for a systematic approach to early identification and analyses of problems and potential problems, as well as evidence-based decisions on how to act on them and how to follow-up those action to assure its effectiveness.

The table is divided in four main sections, containing a set of columns to:

  1. identify the situations
  2. analyze the situations
  3. define actions to address the situations
  4. define methods to verify the implementation of the actions defined
  5. define methods to verify the effectiveness of the actions implemented

The tool was also designed to serve both as a supporting document (with columns’ titles that are self-explanatory and provide users with guidance on how to handle situations) and as a record (by providing fields to insert information that will allow for future traceability of situations and actions taken to address them). Across time, the information inserted in this tool constitutes a good repository for organizational knowledge based on lessons learned. Any organization who effectively implements this tool and uses it realistically will be very well positioned to master continuous improvement in the long term.

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