QAS - Your questions answered.....

We realise that groomers will have lots of questions about their new grooming standard and have tried to answer as many here as possible. If you can't see an answer here, please do feel free to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Questions

Why are you launching the Quality Assurance Standard?
Why would I want it, as a groomer?
What is PDSA and Dogs Trusts’ involvement in the scheme?
What is involved in achieving the Standard?
What happened to the star rating?
I have already spent time and money on my qualifications, why do I need the Quality Assurance Standard as well?
What is the fee?
How will the public find out about the Quality Assurance Standard?
How will the Standard be policed?
What will the Standard cost in two years’ time?
Why does the Standard apply to businesses and not individual groomers?
What will happen to big company salons, or those businesses with multiple premises?
I have been working in the industry for 20 years but have no qualifications, can I take the Standard?
Can anyone apply?
I have my BDGA Higher Diploma in Dog Grooming and my LCGI. How will these be acknowledged?
Why do I have to be a member of the British Dog Groomers’ Association to take part in the Quality Assurance Standard?
How do I sign up?

Why are you launching the Quality Assurance Standard?

Groomers have really suffered in the press recently, with media coverage of tragedies in grooming salons casting damaging aspersions about groomers’ concern for the safety and wellbeing of animals. We can refute the negative image recently portrayed (and have), but there are weaknesses in our position when the grooming industry has never been subject to the same scrutiny that is applied to pet retailers selling pets, or kennels and catteries boarding animals, all of which require a licence to operate. Government has no appetite for further regulation, therefore it is up to industry to robustly demonstrate just how safe, caring and professional groomers are. The Pet Industry Federation is best placed to do this and has invested significant resources in developing an industry-agreed Quality Assurance Standard.

Why would I want it, as a groomer?

The Standard provides reassurance to any pet owner that you have been thoroughly vetted. The standard will show that your systems, management and animal welfare procedures are up to scratch. The Quality Assurance logo will represent quality and confidence for pet owners. The Standard is being run in association with Dogs Trust and PDSA, whose national organisations lend an enormous credibility to the scheme.

What is PDSA and Dogs Trusts’ involvement in the scheme?

The scheme has animal welfare at its heart; both the audit and the online assessment test whether Quality Assured groomers run their salons safely. PDSA and Dogs Trust are naturally concerned for the welfare of dogs and are supporting the role the scheme will play in raising standards and ensuring groomers are working to best practice guidelines. On a practical level we have had valuable input from these organisation in devising the scheme and we look forward to their assistance with future marketing. However, the Federation continues to have overall responsibility for the managing the scheme henceforth.

What is involved in achieving the Standard?

Firstly, you are given access to the 'QAS' section of PIF's online education portal which outlines the audit specification (showing what areas the auditors will be observing), and provides invaluable reference material, pre-designed templates and policies to help with business sytems, good management and animal welfare. All this information will help the salon manager prepare for the online assessment, available on the same portal, which will measure their technical competence and business knowledge. Once you have passed this, you will then need to review the information to prepare for an independent audit of your grooming business, which covers areas such as animal welfare, customer care, health and safety, equipment and staff training. The audit is carried out by specially trained auditors who are there to advise and support your business to achieve the Standard.

What happened to the star rating??

As a new initiative, we have had to iron out the wrinkles. We found that the star rating element, whereby the qualifications of all staff in one salon were taken into account, was a step too far for this new venture. Consequently, we have decided to strip away the rating system and simply ensure that the salon owner of the quality assured business has the full level 3 City & Guilds qualification. As the proprietor, they bear full responsibility for the business, so it makes sense.We will be looking for evidence that the proprietor is sharing their knowledge and encouraging any staff in their professional development, as that is extremely important in seeing the industry improve and grow.

 

I have already spent time and money on my qualifications, why do I need the Quality Assurance Standard as well?

The Standard will work to ensure quality assured groomers are up to date with their knowledge and employing best standard business practices. The Standard will draw attention to qualifications and experience of groomers through the PR work that will go alongside it. To have achieved the full level 3 qualification (the industry standard) takes real commitment. To achieve this and go on to own and run your own business is a great model for business and career progression The Quality Assurance Standard gives us the chance to blow the trumpet for qualified groomers. We believe strongly in qualifications and in our PR work we will be able to deliver strong messages about the advantages of using trained groomers, the qualifications and just what you are trained in. With PDSA and Dogs Trust on board we have a real opportunity to raise awareness about the profession to a wider audience.

What is the fee?

The Standard will cost £200+VAT for bi-ennial membership of the scheme (ie payable every other year). In addition, groomers will pay a £60+VAT retention fee in the second year to cover the costs of a desktop audit to check ongoing CPD. For this, every Quality Assured (QA) groomer will receive access to the online assessment and the library of resources developed for the Standard, including policies and templates to assist in running your business. Each groomer will receive a personal visit to their premises by a member of our specially trained team as well as follow up support further to their audit and action plan. All QA groomers will receive a window sticker, wall certificate and flyers to hand out to customers to explain just how important the Standard is.

We realise the fee is not an insignificant amount for many groomers but, as a non-profit organisation, it is an accurate reflection of the costs involved in each individual’s membership of the scheme, whilst the significant development costs have been absorbed by the Pet Industry Federation.

How will the public find out about the Quality Assurance Standard?

The public will be informed how and why to seek out Quality Assured groomers through ongoing public-facing marketing by the Pet Industry Federation. This will take place at public-facing events such as Crufts, and in partnership with Dogs Trust and PDSA, as well as consumer media including Your Dog magazine – wide-reaching publications that are seen as trusted sources of information for pet owners.

PDSA and Dogs Trust have the support of over a million members of the public between then, as well as over 200 years shared history of caring for animals. Their names and marketing support will help to generate an enormous awareness of the scheme.

Meanwhile, Quality Assured groomers will be listed on the Federation's website.

How will the Standard be policed?

A team of experts, including veterinary nurses, are being trained and standardised to carry out the audits. Randomised spot checks will also be carried out after the initial audit. In addition, those undertaking the Standard will be subjecting themselves to even greater scrutiny by virtue of the promotion their businesses will receive.

What will the Standard cost in two years’ time?

We cannot project that far ahead but we would retain a reasonable price within the confines of what it costs to run. The more groomers who take it up the more cost effective it becomes to run. Whilst it must be econimcally viable, the scheme is not about making money; it is about supporting groomers and raising standards across the industry.

Why does the Standard apply to businesses and not individual groomers?

The Standard tests the health and safety and animal welfare aspects of the business as thoroughly as possible; individual members of staff are unlikely to be in control of all of these. The business proprietor will be accountable and the business will gain from being Quality Assured.

What will happen to big company salons, or those businesses with multiple premises?

The Quality Assurance Standard will not be automatically granted across multiple salons simply because they are owned by the same company. Each individual salon will have to apply, with the salon manager undertaking the online assessment, and all premises being subject to the same audit.  There must be one application per salon.

I have been working in the industry for 20 years but have no qualifications, can I take the Standard?

Unfortunately, not unless you opt to become qualified by taking the full City & Guilds Level 3 qualification in Dog Grooming, as this is the how we verify your grooming skills. There are fast track options at Pet Industry Federation training schools, which take into account prior experience, and are less time intensive and more cost effective than full blown training for newcomers to the industry. Visit our training schools page to find the nearest one to you.

Can anyone apply?

Virtually, yes, provided you are members of the British Dog Grooming Association and hold the full City & Guilds Level 3 qualification in Dog Grooming. The Quality Assurance Standard will not be available to groomers whose main business is grooming in their clients’ homes, because it is not practical or possible to audit the health and safety aspects of each clients’ home.

I have my BDGA Higher Diploma in Dog Grooming and my LCGI. How will these be acknowledged?

All staff qualifications will be acknowledged within the QA grooming business listing. Staff qualifications will be shown (if supplied by the participating business) in the business overview which is part of the listing on the Federation’s site for QA groomers. So the listing will show the business name, contact details, star rating and the business overview will give a brief idea of the type of premises, services, facilities available, and the qualifications of the business’s personnel. We are driving the focus onto the full level 3 being the minimum standard qualification that a professional groomer will hold and which a potential customer should be looking for, and can then build further detail about the extra qualifications into the information given to the public.

Why do I have to be a member of the British Dog Groomers’ Association to take part in the Quality Assurance Standard?

The Quality Assurance scheme is being run by the Pet Industry Federation (which the British Dog Groomers’ Association sits under and is administrated by). Experts from our membership have helped to devise the Standard. Those who join will also naturally access all the BDGA membership benefits which are developing all the time. The organisation has changed enormously in the last few months – we are a small team working hard with a far greater focus on our members. We have made the bold decision to bring in a standard which we as a team are passionate will work for the benefit of the industry and the public, and we have the challenge of making it economically viable. Joining the association (if you are not already a member) and taking part in the standard is your choice.

How do I sign up?

Easy as pie. Download the QAS brochure and, when you are ready, you can sign up through the online shop, or by calling the office on 01234 273933.

 

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