Quest launches Long Service Awards to recognise continuous commitment to excellence

Sport England’s quality assurance scheme, Quest, is re-launching its Long Service Awards.

Designed to recognise and reward leisure centres that have shown a long-standing commitment to continuous improvement and delivering quality facilities and services, they will be awarded every five years following the first five years of maintaining Quest Accreditation.

Caroline Constantine is Managing Director at quality management expert Right Directions, which manages Quest on behalf of Sport England, and Quest’s Operations Director. She says: “Quest has been defining industry standards and good practice for more than 25 years, encouraging their ongoing development and delivery within a customer-focused management framework. It’s a very in-depth assessment, consisting of a mystery visit to try the facility and talk to as many staff as possible whilst on site, as well as a minimum of three telephone calls to the centre, at least two online interactions, and a full one-day or two-day in-person assessment with the management team and frontline staff.

“Some of our operator clients and their leisure centres have been undertaking this assessment process for 25 years – since its inception. It’s time we helped demonstrate their commitment to excellence to their local community, who probably use the facilities day in and day out without considering the effort that goes into ensuring a clean, safe environment whilst still offering high-quality facilities that are both affordable and accessible. We hope this new certificate will do just that.”

Some of GLL’s facilities have been undertaking Quest since the late 1990s. Chris Hebblewhite, GLL’s Director of Standards and Compliance said: “As the UK’s largest public provider of leisure facilities, GLL greatly values Quest as our primary quality and improvement tool. It is quite simply the gold standard for our industry and we’ve been using it since we were a small leisure trust right through to the 260 leisure facility network – spanning England, Wales and Northern Ireland – that we are today.

“Quest’s strength is in keeping standards high. It helped us to stay focused after the Covid pandemic and it challenges our facilities to get better and better, and adapt to the ever changing environment. GLL is pleased to be part of and support the long service awards.”

The Long Service Awards, which were paused during Covid due to the interruption of renewal dates, will be relaunched in October 2023.

Quest was first established 25 years ago as a continuous improvement tool 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 and is still the sector’s best-known improvement programme, with its rigorous assessments challenging even the very best leisure centres in the UK.

The Quest assessment enables operators to be nationally recognised and accredited for their hard work, and provides a view of what ‘good’ and ‘great’ look like so they can benchmark and review their services against a national picture to enable their teams and their facilities to deliver greater impact and social outcomes. To ensure Quest remains understandable and valuable to the industry, numerous changes have been rolled out across the years. The most recent change is known as Quest 2022.

Each Quest assessment is made up of six Core Modules. The Core Modules provide the key building blocks for success, including ensuring facilities are safe, clean and well maintained, with knowledgeable, qualified and trained staff who deliver customer service, whilst a number of additional Choice Modules allow centres or teams to tailor the assessment to suit their own operation and activities within their facilities. For example, there are more 30 choice modules including Sales and Retention, Lifeguarding, Safeguarding, Marketing, Food and Beverage, Ice Rinks, Event Management and Fitness Suites, as well as a range of engagement modules.

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