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Sport England Launches New Assessments To Support Leisure Facilities

Sport England’s Continuous Improvement Tool, Quest, has launched two new assessments for leisure facilities.

The new Quest and Quest Plus assessments have been designed to help facilities restrengthen their core operational standards, as well as demonstrate the positive impact they have on their local communities.

Quest was first established more than 20 years ago to measure how well a facility is operating and how effective organisations are across a range of topics.

The renowned award has evolved over the years to keep pace with the ever-changing sport and leisure industry, including the launch of Quest Foundation Review earlier this year, which provides insights into real-life, ‘live’ customer service experiences from people who have traditionally been excluded from physical activity opportunities.

The new assessments, which start from 1 September, will replace the current Quest Recovery, written to support the sector as it recovered from the pandemic.

Sarah Maxwell, Head of External Accreditations at Right Directions, which manages Quest on behalf of Sport England, explains: “We have carefully considered the current environment and challenges leisure facilities are operating within, and have combined the latest industry best practice with other fundamentals, such as operational plans, to develop the new Quest and Quest Plus assessment.”

Quest is a one-day assessment, whilst Quest Plus will take place over two days. Both will include two new compulsory modules on day one, Tackling Inequalities and Environmental Management.

Tackling Inequalities, developed alongside the Activity Alliance, aims to help leisure operators provide more inclusive and accessible physical activity opportunities for people from a range of inequality groups.

Environmental Management will support facilities in the development of plans to include environmental considerations within their operations.

Operators will also be assessed on Compliance Declaration, Operational Management, Managing the Team, and Customer Journey.

The Quest Plus day two modules include a variety of topics that will help facilities make progress in specific areas of their business, with Planning to Improve, which helps identify what their service is trying to achieve and set out specific and measurable business objectives, becoming a compulsory module. 

New optional modules for day two include Exercise Referral Standard and Accessible Facilities. Exercise Referral aims to provide a set of quality operating standards to help drive improvements and consistency in scheme delivery, whilst Accessible Facilities will help facilities meet their design and operational obligations for different user groups.

Accessible Facilities focuses on a physical audit of the facility from a user’s perspective against key inclusive focal points, including the provision of accessible changing rooms, working hearing loops and inclusive fitness equipment. 

The new Tacking Inequalities and Accessible Facilities modules can be completed together, either within or outside of the Quest assessments. Facilities achieving Very Good or above will be awarded a new Quest Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard.

Maxwell continues: “Taking part in Quest enables facilities and their teams to have the quality of their work both recognised and nationally accredited, as well as showing how they measure up against national standards. 

“Facilities receive a detailed report, with bandings between Unsatisfactory and Excellent for every question asked, as well as each module, and an overall result.

We’ve also introduced a new accolade of Outstanding for facilities that achieve an overall Excellent score in Quest Plus and their Mystery Visit. This independent review will ultimately help facilities and their teams deliver greater impact and social outcomes.”

For more information about Quest or Quest Plus please contact us via Quest@rightdirections.co.uk, telephone 01582 840 078 or visit www.questaward.org.

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