Focus on quality: Managing your resources

In this post, we are looking at how charities can get the best return and use from resources, as well as how effective management of resources can be crucial to your organisation’s health.

‘Isn’t “managing resources” just about counting paperclips and ordering stationery?’

Possibly, but it’s about so much more, including areas which could be critical to the health of your organisation. ‘Managing resources’ is quite a bland, anonymous phrase, so we’re going to pick it apart a bit and see exactly what it means, and how the actions within can be so important to your organisation.

What ‘managing resources’ means

It’s Quality Area 8 in PQASSO, and these are the benefits that will come from understanding this area more:

  • Match your resources with your plan
  • Ensure people’s health and safety
  • Manage your resources more efficiently
  • Plan for, and meet your responsibilities for the environment

Let’s begin with what we mean by a resource. It’s a broad term that covers:

  • your premises/land/buildings that you may own, lease or hire
  • equipment, appliances, training tools and work aids
  • vehicles, either vehicles you own or services you run with them
  • consumables, such as stationery, utilities and cleaning materials
  • IT – which in itself can be quite a sizeable and expensive resource
  • information/knowledge such as intellectual property, publications, books, databases and user records
  • goodwill, as the value of a service you provide.

So, we can already see, it’s about more than paperclips and stationery! Next we’ll look more in depth at the benefits of good resource management, and what to consider within each.

Match your resources with your plan

It’s a good action to ensure your plan not only has adequate resources to achieve its aim, but also that you don’t over-resource it in planning, and create unnecessary waste or a burden on a budget and expenditure. Is there a clearly defined project plan which has realistically assessed the resource required to achieve the objective? Are all participants clear on the timelines, objectives and intended outcomes? Don’t forget, time is also a resource; it needs to be managed as carefully as equipment, people and finances.

Ensure people’s health and safety

What does this have to do with managing resources? Well, as part of managing resources you have an obligation to provide a safe working environment. So, have staff been trained in using equipment safely? Has the equipment been tested and maintained to a planned schedule to ensure it is working safely? Your resources must be managed to ensure they are fit for purpose, current, and enable the safe and smooth delivery of the work for which they are intended.

Manage your resources more efficiently

There are several activities to consider here. Have you reviewed your purchasing so it is maximised to ensure best value, perhaps by central ordering to drive down cost? Consider whether you can purchase well in advance of a project to start, providing a full opportunity to source maximum value. When managing transport/delivery, have you ensured the routes have been planned with efficiency, minimal driving, and fuel to ensure that an optimum amount of work can be carried out? Is there a maintenance regime for equipment, to ensure it is kept working safely, and if possible to avoid unnecessary waste or replacement costs?

Plan for and meet your responsibilities for the environment

There is, rightly, an increasing need to respect our responsibilities for the environment, and the way you manage resources can dictate your environmental impact. Does your organisation have an ethical policy which governs the impact on the environment, society and the economy? And have you adopted sustainable practices which do not cause undue cost or damage to the company’s or the environment’s resources? You may also wish to consider the opportunities for reuse, recycling and ethical materials in your resource planning as well.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve acquired an understanding of the intricacies of resource management, and have gleaned an insight into the many facets of resource management, as well as appreciating that yes, it is, in fact about more than paperclips and stationery! When looked at in the way we just have done, you can see how far reaching and impactful resource management is, and the fundamental impact it can have on the health, viability and future of your organisation.

To find out more about PQASSO and the PQASSO Quality Mark visit our website or email pqasso@ncvo.org.uk.

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Nadeem Razvi Nadeem is the PQASSO programme manager at NCVO; his main focus is helping organisations achieve and maximise their potential by applying effective quality assurance. Nadeem has worked in the charity sector for over 10 years.

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