ARK is committed to meeting the standards set for us by external regulators and the high standards we set for ourselves. We are regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator in relation to our Housing function, and by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (the Care Inspectorate), the organisation that has recently replaced the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care, in relation to the care that we provide. Our Care Commission Inspection Reports, which regularly awarded us grades of ‘excellent,’ ‘very good’ or ‘good’ can be viewed on the SCSWIS website, or you can read a summary of our grades (PDF, 60k).
As well as our external regulators, our financial position is audited annually by external financial auditors. Housing and other functions are also audited by external auditors. Both of these audit functions report to our Audit Sub-Committee, which scrutinises and reviews their auditor reports on behalf of our Board of Management.
We believe that we are unique in our sector in having our own dedicated Quality and Compliance member of staff, who is responsible for managing several of our audit functions and overseeing the audit system within ARK as a whole. As Head of Quality and Compliance, he also conducts internal audits, particularly in relation to the care provided by ARK Community Networks. Our aim is to create a holistic audit system which checks every aspect of our work in order to satisfy our tenants and service users, ourselves, and our external regulators, that our service is the best it can be.
ARK is also committed to ensuring that the Health and Safety of our tenants, service users, and employees, is paramount in everything that we do. We have our own Health and Safety Adviser, who is a member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and whose sole responsibility within ARK is to advise on matters of Health and Safety Management. Our Health and Safety Adviser has devised and implemented a comprehensive Health and Safety Manual, which all staff follow. Managers complete regular Health and Safety checklists to monitor their own teams’ compliance and completion of these checklists is regularly audited. Employees are kept up to date on matters of Health and Safety through regular Health and Safety Newsletters. We have also recently implemented a regular audit of our Health and Safety Management system by independent external Health and Safety professionals. The findings of those audits are reported to our Audit Sub-Committee, which ensures on behalf of the Board that any action points are implemented timeously.
Our commitment to ensuring that Health and Safety standards are met is reflected in the Health and Safety Training post which we created in 2010. Our Health and Safety Trainer is responsible for devising and delivering Health and Safety training courses throughout the organisation, to ensure that all staff have access to health and safety training which is tailored to meet their needs and the needs of our service users.