Category Archives: News

Quality Assurance

MP900284935Last month we underwent our annual audit to ensure we are operating in compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008.  After spending the day with the Auditing body representative we were advised that the Rickter Company had fulfilled all requirements and that our certification is continued. In particular the high standards of our Management Commitment and Customer Service Procedures were commented upon in the report. However we never get complacent! We are continually analysing our Quality Management System (QMS) and regularly introduce new, improved methods by which we can better anticipate and satisfy customer requirements. At the moment we are working on streamlining the input  and recording of objectives, which will improve the ease with which we can monitor overall progress and performance across different areas.

Having the dedicated time during our internal audits to go through the entire system in detail is hugely beneficial, not only in practical terms as preparation for the ISO surveillance visit, but in allowing us to reflect on where improvements might be made and to cast ideas around. For example, at our last internal audit we realised our Approved Supplier Form was somewhat inflexible and over-complicated. We have now updated this document so it is succinct and appropriate to any industry. We have also recently migrated our contract performance reviews onto an online version which is far more efficient than the old mail system and has already boosted returns significantly in the first few weeks of operation.

Since the inception of our QMS during 2004, there have been many changes to the system, but one thing remains constant: it is at the centre of all Rickter activities and is one of the most valuable tools at our aid. We actually look forward to our Audits! We know we make best use of our system and the audits are our opportunity to demonstrate this, as well as ensure we keep doing all we can, to be the best we can.

Reflections on an upcoming Birthday

Incorporated as The Rickter Company Limited in January 2001, we are almost ten years older. But the question is ‘Are we ten years wiser?’

Birthday Candles

Emphatically, yes! Now I know we never stop learning, but this period has seen tremendous growth within the Rickter Company – particularly of our  status and reputation as both a National and international business. The key to our success is very much due to the people we work with: namely Heather, Nan and Orla.  Keith and I cannot adequately express how much we value them as individuals and work colleagues. I could go on about them but it would fill ten newsletters!

So what has been happening in the last ten years?

There is an old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” that is very true in reference to the Rickter Board. Apart from some subtle changes i.e. the magnetic overlays and sliders, it remains the same as when we first constructed one back in 1993. Practitioners like the low-tech simplicity of the board and Rickter Scale® Process. The feedback is consistent for end users who like the fact  that it is not paper-based, there are no right or wrong answers and it  incorporates all learning styles – visual: “I can see what you mean”, auditory: “I hear what you are saying” and kinaesthetic: “I like doing that” To this end are any changes necessary?

In terms of the recording of the information from an interview, the changes have been considerable. We use a more comprehensive Excel-based programme that now allows up to 5 Reviews and gives very clear graphs and statistics.

But in addition to the Excel, we now have an online Impact Management System for recording interviews across multiple worksites, giving comparisons and statistics which are invaluable for reviewing working practice, strategic planning and funding applications. And right now isn’t it more important than ever to evidence soft outcomes that get the funding that retains jobs and keeps projects viable?

So what about the future and hi-tech Rickter? Well, just watch this space!

Apple’s I-pad was launched in the UK on 28 May. We are already in the throes of developing an application/software to turn the I-pad into a Ricker Board, with all the key elements of the original Rickter Scale – multi-sensory, non-paper-based, easy to use, sliders you move with your finger and the collation of all the information as you go! We will keep you posted on developments.

Every successful company needs an attractive and functional website. We felt that ours need a makeover. Unfortunately Carol Smiley and Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen were busy, so we did it ourselves with the help (a lot of help!) of Edinburgh organisation Rocket. The result is a new all singing all dancing website with great graphics, plenty of resources, video clips of Rickter Scale® interviews recently shown on STV, and the site is constantly being updated to keep it fresh.

never too late1

And finally, what might I be writing about in ten years time? Keith leads the national assessment debate in the House of Commons, Nan becomes a Dame Wood of Ardwell for her work in Supported Employment. Heather is now the Government’s Chief Consultant on how to manage the nation’s finances, and Orla writes a best seller about how to be successful and bring up a family at the same time.

And me? Well, I will still be at my kitchen table looking at that powerful piece of plastic with the sliders, thinking ‘I wonder what else it could do?’