Excellence in Care Standard for Brackenley Care Home

A Harrogate home for vulnerable adults – bought by a local charity two years ago after it fell into financial difficulties – has been accredited with the prestigious award for Excellence in Care.

Brackenley in Starbeck, which cares for 13 adults with learning difficulties, was acquired by the Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre (HS4LC) after failed private sector ownership.  Some of HS4LC’s clients lived at Brackenley and they faced an uncertain future.

Two years on, Excellence Squared’s team of assessors have recognised this turnaround and the care home have successfully been accredited to Excellence in Care.

Excellence in Care is an outcome-based framework, demonstrating an establishment’s commitment to improving and sustaining improvements in the quality of care and service user experience.
Our assessment report has highlighted how “evidence from staff, residents, family members and professionals demonstrated that the ‘resident’ is our primary focus.

The Excellence in Care assessment report added: “Staff are very positive….and talents are nurtured, providing residents with access to a range of activities. Staff knowledge, attitude and behaviour is regarded as the home’s biggest asset. Staff describe ‘time’ as the greatest resource they have available to them and many describe this as ‘the thing that makes the difference’.”

HS4LC CEO Stephanie Kirkman Meikle said; “This is a fantastic testament to Jan Wright and her staff at Brackenley who have come through some difficult times and worked so hard to help us turn the business around.  It is a wonderful achievement and one of which they can be very proud.”

HS4LC also owns a thriving adult education centre in North Park Road.  It is a community hub for over 80 people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, communication, visual and auditory problems.

It provides intensive education and tutoring for individuals and small groups in courses designed to stimulate people’s interest and to give them the skills needed to help them participate more fully in community life, to live independently or to move into voluntary and paid employment.

In a ground-breaking move for the charity sector, Brackenley became HS4LC’s first care home purchase and it has recently added a second in Harrogate – Briardene – in East Parade which was also in financial trouble.

Both homes were bought with loans from social investor Social and Sustainable Capital.  SASC was set up in 2012 to invest in social sector organisations working with vulnerable people across the UK looking to grow and scale their social impact.

Stephanie added: “Local authorities and other providers are facing huge pressures because of limited funds, increasing demands and ever-rising costs.  But what we are doing is one small step in improving the lives of vulnerable people as well as providing hope to all of us concerned about how we as a society help those less fortunate than ourselves”.

Paul Bridle, CEO of Excellence Squared, congratulates Brackenley Care Home on its success, “Excellence in Care is a challenging Standard designed to give recognition for excellence but also to ensure the Home is capable of continuous improvement.  Brackenley Care Home has shown an excellent approach in its Care Provision and how it goes about seeking to continuously improve in every way.”

If you want to know more about Excellence in Care, please call the team on 020 3880 5059.

Excellence Squared Announces New Chief Operating Officer to Lead Expansion into the Americas

Excellence Squared announced the appointment of Vicki Hawarden CMP, as its new Chief Operating Officer with the primary function of developing the North American market for the company.

“We are excited to have someone with Vicki’s leadership experience and extensive knowledge of meetings, professional education and associations join our team,” said Paul Bridle, CEO of Excellence Squared, an international company headquartered in the United Kingdom.  “She is the right person to help us expand our international business and head up our North American operation.  In addition to the tremendous knowledge she brings to the table, she shares our values and our passion for helping businesses improve their performance.”

Ms. Hawarden’s most recent role was as managing partner for Association Resource Consultants (ARC), a company focused on advising and assisting associations with leadership and governance, as well as revenue generation.  Before joining ARC, Ms. Hawarden served as President and CEO of the International Association of Venue Managers and the IAVM Foundation.  In that role, she was instrumental in nearly doubling the membership and turning the association around from significant deficits to stable contributions to reserves.  New initiatives launched under her leadership included the Certified Venue Professional designation and Coherent GovernanceTM.  Her past experience also includes senior executive roles for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and Meeting Professionals International.  At MPI, as VP of Events she was instrumental in creating the first meetings and events standards for North America, for which she received a Chair’s Citation.

“I have spent my entire 30-year career in the meetings, exhibition and association communities and I deeply believe they deliver tremendous value to their members, attendees and society as a whole,” said Hawarden.  “The work done by Excellence Squared creates a partnership with those we assess, to help them truly understand and improve their business performance.  In particular, I am thrilled we will be able to partner with associations on the Leadership and Management Standard, to help CEOs and boards better understand how to work together to deliver value to members, and to partner with venues to ensure they are able to exceed client and guest expectations, every time.”

Excellence Squared has over 20 years of experience as an accredited assessment service, as well as an advisory and consultancy provider.  The company holds some prestigious contracts to deliver assessment and advisory services on behalf of government and has been leading the way in developing new approaches that ensure value for the customer.

Excellence Squared offers assessments in Leadership and Management, Venue Standard, Customer Service, Governance, Supply Chain Management, Care Homes and more.  Its newest addition is the Quality Venue and Safe Venue Standards which enable venues to undertake an assessment of all aspects of it management, operations and physical attributes, to determine areas of strength and opportunity.

For more information, contact Ms. Hawarden at vicki.hawarden@excellencesquared.com or 972.369.5966.

The Barbican awarded 4 star rating by the Venue Standard

DSC_0096The Barbican has been awarded with a 4 star certificate from the Venue Standard following a rigorous assessment process put in place by the industry standard.


The certificate acknowledges high standards in both operational processes and procedures throughout the Barbican. The assessment also recognises a dedication to ensuring memorable experiences for delegates and clients whilst delivering excellence as a quality venue.


“The 4 star rating given to us by the Venue Standard is recognition of the standard of venue, facilities and service that we offer to our clients,” comments Lee Dobson, Head of Event Management at the Barbican. “Not only does it highlight what we have done well but it also gives us a solid platform on which we can build. With many venue improvements to come in the summer of 2016, we are confident that we can continue to exceed client expectations.”


DSC_0099The Venue Standard is designed to help organisers and planners identify what standard of venue they are dealing with. Similar to hotels and restaurants, the Venue Standard is a rating based on specific criteria that has been checked and verified by Excellence Squared, a UKAS accredited body.


“Congratulations to the Barbican on being recognised with a 4 star rating for the Venue Standard,” comments Gary Swarbrooke, from the Excellence Squared. “Achieving this level of Venue Standard is a real accolade to the way the Barbican develops and delivers its services with the customer in mind.  The Standard does a quality assessment against customer feedback, physical appearance, service delivery and administration.  The Barbican has every reason to be proud of their recognition as a quality venue in London”


Further information about utilising event space at the Barbican can be acquired by contacting the Business Events Team: +44 (0)20 7382 7043 | businessevents@barbican.org.uk.