After several years in planning and development and an extensive pilot test by AIPC member centres, the AIPC Quality Standards Certification Program is available to all member centres who wish to achieve this designation. The Quality Standards Program is based on a self-assessment by centres of key areas, aimed at confirming that both appropriate standards and the processes to achieve these are in place, as confirmed by an external auditor who reviews documentation provided by each centre.
This program was developed in response to ongoing interest by members in having an industry-specific program for identifying and evaluating key areas of convention centre performance leading to a visible and accepted form of recognition. At the same time, there was a requirement for a professional “arms length” audit process in order to ensure the credibility of results. For this reason, AIPC has appointed an external auditor for the AIPC Quality Standards Certification Program.
AIPC has developed a set of quality standards and a means of assessing compliance itself as there was no existing available standard that would properly address the unique needs of a very diverse group of member facilities.
The standards had to address a number of requirements, including:
1. Being flexible and adaptable to a wide variety of facility types, ages and configurations
2. Being seen from a client perspective so they had an impact in the market
3. Being “graduated” and allow participating centres to set their own pace for compliance, so that centres who were still working on their performance issues wouldn’t be excluded from participation
4. Being seen as having been developed and maintained by an external body like AIPC, using an external auditor, rather than by individual facilities of groups of facilities in order to maintain their credibility
The standards address 10 key areas: Customer Service, Quality of Facilities and Operations, Employee Relations, Health, Safety, Security and Emergency Response, Financial Integrity, Community Relations, Environmental Responsibility, Industry Relations and Supplier Relations. The audit process consists of a procedure wherein centres assemble and submit documentation as to how they are addressing each area and what measures they have in place to gauge success.
AIPC’s Guide to Developing and Implementing Quality Standards for Convention Centres explains the background to the program and elaborates on the areas covered by the Standards.
Audit forms and an outline of the procedure are available through the AIPC Secretariat office. Once a centre has successfully completed the audit, they will be able to use the “AIPC Quality Standards Audited” logo and designation in their promotional and client materials.
RENEWAL OF AIPC QUALITY STANDARDS
Renewal of the QS credential – which can result in either a re-affirmation of an existing level of performance or an upgrade to a higher level – is based on the principle that re-qualifying for AIPC Quality Standards Certification is a streamlined version of the original process, requiring a re-affirmation that the processes submitted for initial qualification are still in place while updating their current status where there has been a change and adding new program information when internal procedures have been enhanced.
Complete details of the re-qualification procedure, along with necessary instructions, can be obtained via firstname.lastname@example.org.