Quality Assurance Framework

The Quality Assurance Framework has been developed by the youth work sector in Northern Ireland to provide a common and flexible framework to support the continuous improvement in the quality of youth work at all levels, including at local part-time and voluntary unit level.

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The development of a Quality Assurance Framework is an important milestone in supporting the excellent work that takes place across the youth work sector. This Framework is the culmination of a collaborative approach taken by the sector and is evidence of its commitment to producing the best possible outcomes for young people.

Thousands of children and young people each year are assisted in moving towards achieving their full potential through engagement with non-formal education approaches used by youth organisations. It is crucial therefore that we take time to identify, reflect on and evaluate the essential features of youth work that contribute to its success. This is essentially what quality assurance in youth work is about; knowing what to do, learning from it, and improving on it in order to shape a reflective and dynamic youth work sector.


It is vital that the Quality Assurance Framework relates to each local situation as well as the wider context. This includes:

  • Existing Organisational Ethos
  • Organisational youth work curricula, for example Youth Work: A Model for Effective Practice
  • The Quality Indicators used by the Education & Training Inspectorate
  • Department of Education policy and priorities for Youth Work
  • Wider government policy and funding
  • EA Registration and Regional Voluntary Youth
  • Organisations’ Criteria, which already provide a minimum quality standard for youth groups
  • National Occupational Standards for Youth Work

Who is the Quality Assurance Framework for?

The Framework is for everyone in the youth work sector including:

  • Full-time youth workers
  • Part-time youth workers
  • Children and young people in a leadership role
  • Volunteers
  • Children and young people in groups and organisations
  • Management committees
  • Management and leadership in the youth work sector
  • Policy makers

The Framework

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  • Staff (professional, part-time and volunteers)
  • Leadership
  • Young people in leadership


Developing the Organisation

  • Vision, values and ethos
  • Governance and operational management


Developing Youth Work Practice

  • A process for identifying the needs of young people
  • A youth work development strategy that reflects the needs identified
  • Measuring progress in personal and
  • social development to inform programme development
Publication Date
Type of Publication
Youth Service
Last updated: 22/07/2019