CECOPS or ISO 9001:2008: which one, or both?

ISO 9001:2008 quality management standards make a routine appearance in tender specifications for disability equipment services, which is understandable as for many years ISO has been the only credible standard available. But not any longer! Many of our users are also ISO accredited, and it has been interesting to get their views, and the views of professional quality and risk management assessors, on the CECOPS standards over against ISO.

 The general consensus is that ISO is a good general framework, but CECOPS contains all the specifics for a quality equipment service.

CECOPS’ key advantage is that it is specific to the environment of a disability equipment service, so it covers the nitty gritty issues that crop up every day in real life. CECOPS’ Code of Practice is a uniquely practical tool for making service improvements, in an organisation of any size.

 CECOPS also deals with commissioning and clinical activities which are areas beyond the scope of ISO’s quality framework.

 See the areas covered by the CECOPS Code here: http://tinyurl.com/l3gtazv

 Read the following perspectives on CECOPS and ISO from a CECOPS Accredited User organisation and also a professional quality and risk management specialist.


The Pluss Organisation – Our experience of CECOPS Code Standards as a provider of Community Equipment Services (CES)

 Pluss is pleased to announce that it recently achieved full accreditation status for CECOPS Code of Practice – one of the few in the UK!

 Following our CECOPS Accreditation Status, we would like to share our experience of this journey to encourage other organisations to do so. If you haven’t, or are not thinking of becoming CECOPS Accredited, or expecting your Provider to, then we would seriously ask you to think again. The CECOPS accreditation process is a very worthwhile exercise, especially if you really care about delivering a quality service for your commissioners and more importantly for your service users – you need to be on this journey.

 Pluss has successfully held BS EN ISO: 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems since 1993. Although the ISO quality management system is really good we found the CECOPS Code Standards and the accreditation process to be more multi-dimensional and covers a broader scope that actually fits the service provision.

 The CECOPS accreditation process is not only for providers but for also for commissioners. The CECOPS accreditation process covers all the criteria you would expect for a Total Quality Management System, and more. 

 CECOPS sits exceptionally well within Community Equipment Services, and compliance with the Code of Practice is not very difficult if you are already working to a quality management system – although you do need to have all your ducks in a row.

 For example, you will need up to date evidence that the following is communicated:

  • Health & Safety  procedures, risk assessments
  • HR policies & procedures
  • Company / Corporate procedures
  • Operational manuals
  • Training  records
  • Etc, etc

 So, even though the CECOPS process is a means for getting one’s house in order, Pluss found this process to be a positive challenge – we had all of the above requirements in place but not necessarily in the same place! 

 Our commissioners have comfort and reassurance in knowing that we have met all relevant legal and regulatory requirements in one place and that once a year we will have a CECOPS health-check to ensure we maintain this high level of service.

 We are more confident that our end users will be in receipt of better quality outcomes, as a result of the CECOPS work, and that we will continue to seek to improve a high level of customer satisfaction – and the overall CECOPS process enables us to do so.  

Pluss are now in the process of including its other CES contracts to become CECOPS Accredited and are hoping to become the first wheelchair service in the country to be CECOPS Accredited. Christine Wheeler, Pluss, Equipment Contract Manager


CECOPS and ISO 9001:2008: Disability Equipment Services, UK – by Harriet Smith, Senior Quality & Risk Specialist, DNV Healthcare UK

 What does CECOPS offer in addition to ISO 9001:2008?

CECOPS code standards provide a quality management framework for both commissioners and providers of disability equipment (including clinical staff). The code standards are designed to be specific to disability equipment services; they put unambiguous requirements around the more generic principles of ISO; CECOPS puts flesh on the ISO bones.  They are not in disagreement; CECOPS and ISO fit effortlessly together. The CECOPS code eliminates the need for smaller equipment services to have to interpret the more ‘ambiguous’ generic statements made within ISO, and apply them to their industry. Few other service industries can boast the same luxury.

 Assessment for CECOPS accreditation is more designed around observation and interview, with a greater focus also on outcomes, rather than the checking of the reams of paper that is expected within ISO certification. 

 As time moves forward, the CECOPS Code Standards will evolve as legislation and regulation within the equipment service changes; it is also something that the sector itself can take a degree of ownership over and ‘drive’ its own quality – unlike the large, cumbersome ship of ISO. 

 CECOPS standards are contained within the main principles of ISO, and more, including:

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Involvement of people
  • Process approach
  • Systems approach
  • Continual improvement
  • Factual approach to decision making
  • Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

 CECOPS Code Standards are much more service specific and add ‘meat on the bones’ for the disability equipment sector. Unlike CECOPS, ISO does not specifically address the commissioning or clinical aspect of disability equipment services.

 Harriet Smith BSc (Hons) MSc, CMIOSH, Senior Quality & Risk Specialist, DNV Healthcare UK. 

 Harriet Smith has successfully completed the IRCA certified ISO 9000:2000 Series QMS Lead Auditor course, and the ISO 22301 Internal Auditor Course for Business Continuity. In addition to the CECOPS assessments, she regularly undertakes international healthcare assessments against the DNV International Accreditation Standards for Healthcare; she delivers training in Europe on healthcare quality management systems and is an assessor for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark®, which recognises high standards in cancer care environments.

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