In order to assist an organization effectively with COA accreditation or Hague Accreditation, an accreditation consultant should have appropriate experience and knowledge.
An accreditation consultant should have a flexible approach, adapting to the specific needs of the organization.Be wary of “package deals” that offer boilerplate tools, policies and procedures.Such approaches are unlikely to help your organization to apply the accreditation standards to your programs and services.
Here are some questions your organization might ask when considering accreditation consultant candidates:
Is the consultant familiar with the applicable accreditation standards?
Is the consultant familiar with the COA or Hague accreditation process, including the self-study, the site visit, the PCR and responding to it?
When did the consultant last attend relevant COA training?
Is the consultant a current COA Peer Reviewer, Team Leader, Hague Evaluator or Hague Leader?
What knowledge does the consultant have of the organization’s services and service recipients?
With which COA-accredited or Hague-accredited organizations has the consultant worked?
How many organizations has the consultant assisted with accreditation?
How does the consultant assist organizations?Does the approach vary according to the needs of the organization?
What recent experience has the consultant had with other organizations with similar size, structure and needs?
Can the consultant offer a range of service options to organizations working toward accreditation or reaccreditation?
How will the consultant help your organization to assess its needs?
What does the consultant include in an accreditation workplan?How does the consultant intend to help the organization to develop a workplan that is consistent with the organization’s needs and resources?
How will the consultant help you to identify the existing processes and structures within your organization that can be used to meet COA or Hague standards?
Does the consultant appear genuinely interested in your organization?
How will the consultant communicate effectively with your organization’s accreditation coordinator or team, and with stakeholders?
Is the consultant conversant with the specific services your organization provides and with the areas in which your organization needs most assistance?
To what extent does the consultant demonstrate cultural competence and a respect for your organization’s unique experience and history?
How quickly does the consultant synthesize information and provide recommendations appropriate for your organization?
Does the consultant demonstrate the ability to empower your organization to learn from the COA-accreditation or Hague accreditation process?
Ask the consultant for references from recent accreditation-related work, and check them!The consultant should encourage you to have discussions with other organizations and should provide contact information for several references.