What is the Early Permanence Quality Mark?

The Early Permanence Quality Mark is the standard of excellence awarded to adoption agencies that demonstrate the quality of their service, and their commitment to delivering early permanence for children where adoption is in their best interest.

The Quality Mark is a sector owned and defined award, which supports excellence in placing young children. It gives adoption agencies the opportunity to innovate and improve agency and regional delivery.

“All children in need, children who need protection, and children in care need early permanence. For a child who is being neglected, abused or who is in limbo, every day matters.”

Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive, CAFCASS

The benefits of the Quality Mark for adoption agencies

Being awarded the Early Permanence Quality Mark is validation that you are working according to sector best practice and will position your agency at the forefront of early permanence.

Benefits of Quality Mark accreditation include:

  • Acknowledging your practice achievements and successes;
  • Providing assurance for prospective carers and adopters that your service provision is of the highest quality;
  • Demonstrating that quality of service is at the heart of your work, which will positively contribute to future Ofsted inspections;
  • Showcasing the hard work and dedication of your staff and agency leadership, and creating the right conditions for growing a committed and supported workforce;
  • Identifying areas of improvement, which can help agencies develop longer-term strategies and sustainability.

“Having the Quality Mark logo displayed on our website and publicity clearly denotes the excellence of our service and professionals and adopters have commented on this when making contact with us.”  Lindy Wootton – Early Permanence Project Manager, CCS Adoption

Read more about the benefits for your agency, download the Quality Mark flyer (pdf).

How is it assessed?

All applications go through a qualitative moderation process by a panel of independent experts, where agencies are assessed against a set of sector-informed descriptors and guiding principles.

The aim of the process is to provide quality feedback to agencies and to encourage positive change, in order to drive forward sector best practice in early permanence.

Read more about the Early Permanence Quality Mark in our FAQs section.

Levels of accreditation: Full or Working Towards

There are two levels of accreditation to the Early Permanence Quality Mark: Full and Working Towards.

Full Quality Mark Award

Agencies are ready to apply for the full Early Permanence Quality Mark if they:

  • Can demonstrate experience of delivering fostering for adoption and/or concurrency placements
  • Have a well-rounded approach to enabling early permanence and are seeing progress in their planning, delivery and in the actual outcomes for children
  • Are committed to early permanence through the delivery of specialist or innovative services
  • Clearly uphold early permanence principles and partnership working

Read our Useful Tips on applying for the Quality Mark.

Working Towards the Quality Mark

Certain agencies may wish to apply for a Working Towards recognition, before they apply for the full Early Permanence Quality Mark. These could be agencies who:

  • Are on their journey to being an RAA, but have not yet consolidated key areas of practice in relation to early permanence across the agencies involved
  • Have newly restructured and are still in early stages of streamlining their approach and aligning their services, agencies and teams to early permanence delivery (Fostering for Adoption and Concurrent Planning)
  • Are seeking to develop their strategy and approach to early permanence delivery and would benefit from focal work on developing a comprehensive service action plan
  • Are wishing to test the sufficiency of their approach, but are not yet in a position to apply for the Quality Mark – they may expect to apply for this at a later stage

A service action plan and supporting documentation, with reference to key elements of the Quality Mark Descriptors, will be required as evidence for recognition of Working Towards Early Permanence status.

Applications for Working Towards recognition will be viewed by an Independent Moderator.  Agencies who gain the Working Towards recognition are supplied with the ‘Working Towards’ logo, to signify sufficiency in working towards early permanence.

The agency and partners to any application must consider whether they would first benefit from applying for the Working Towards status, or whether they immediately proceed to a full award application.  Read our Useful Tips on applying for the Quality Mark.

How to Apply

Applications for the Quality Mark are submitted online, via a step-by-step application process. The first step is to Register to apply.

“The descriptors and the application process itself provide not only a framework for the assessment itself, but can also be viewed as a constructive reviewing method for organisational self-evaluation, highlighting areas for improvement and further work.” Lindy Wootton – Early Permanence Project Manager, CCS Adoption

Application fees, to cover costs, are £750 for a Full application and £400 for a Working Towards application. Click here for full fee scale.

If you have any queries about your agency’s readiness to apply for the Quality Mark, please email: qualitymark@earlypermanence.org.uk

Early Permanence Project Papers

Coram has published two papers, on early stage consultation with LAs and VAAs on early permanence and the state of play.

Findings from the survey of local authorities undertaken in August & September 2016

PIF Early Permanence Project Output – Findings from LA survey, May 2017

Output 2 is a Summary of findings from the expert group interviews undertaken in August & September 2016

Summary of Findings from Expert Group Interviews, Coram