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Evaluating the RSP
Friday, January 04, 2008

There is more to running a RSP than providing religious services and pastoral care. A well-run program functions according to standard operations, it monitors the quality of its services for detainees, and immediately addresses program shortcomings. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA accomplishes this through a Quality Control Plan (QCP) maintained, implemented, and reviewed by National Management.    

Standard Operations and Documents

The QCP outlines the RSP’s critical standard operations, an evaluation process for the standard operations, the information and resources supporting the standard operations, and a method for monitoring the standard operations. Usually, National Management develops a documentation system of manuals, procedures, work instructions, and forms for this purpose.

National Management should create a documentation policy that ensures all documents satisfy the requirements of the statement of work. Documents should become part of a training manual and QCP document master list. Furthermore, the policy should identify the person that receives and approves each document. Finally, the policy should outline the document revision process – who revises documents, how revisions are approved, when obsolete versions are discontinued, and how to maintain a document history file.

The creation of QCP documents must be standardized so that documents have the same appearance, organizational structure, and templates. Standardized documents are easily audited, efficiently drafted, and quickly edited.

Monitoring Quality

The monthly Quality Control Assessment (QCA) allows National Management to monitor and measure the implementation of religious services and pastoral care. Local Management conducts the QCA and submits it to National Management.

The QCA is organized into sections that demonstrate the RSP’s fulfillment of contractual requirements. The QCA tracks worship services, special events, holy day observances, religious property, dietary requests, visits to special units, and volunteer activities. In short, it captures all the services and pastoral care a program supplies for detainees. Also, the QCA includes regular meeting minutes between the RSP’s local staff and DHS staff at the detention facility. The meeting allows DHS staff to offer their opinions on the RSP’s functioning. Finally, the QCA is an opportunity to identify program deficiencies and specific causes.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA organizes its QCAs into a Submission Compliance Report, Monthly Progress Report, Monthly QCA Instrument, Monthly DHS/Contractor Meeting Minutes, and Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for program weaknesses.

Improving the Program

RSPs are continually improved by comparing establish objectives with feedback from DHS, local staff, QCAs, and CAPs. When Local Management identifies a deficiency, it immediately investigates the cause and reports it in a QCA or Quality Deficiency Report. When reporting the problem, the local RSP writes a CAP for National Management.  The CAP identifies the shortcoming’s cause and the steps necessary to fix it. National Management reviews the CAP to ensure that the steps are appropriate for the problem, grounded in solid analysis, properly planned, and effective. Then National Management establishes the timeline for fixing the problem and the local RSP submits weekly reports during the correction period. If the programming defect is serious enough, National Management can initiative a site visit, offer training or technical assistance, and even take disciplinary action. Usually, a fully implemented CAP, follow-up QCA, and site visit are enough to address an issue. National Management decides when the programming flaw has been sufficiently resolved.