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The major focus in 2010 was to hold on to our staff complement in the face of the severe cutbacks and to maintain staff morale. Support staff took part in the SKILL programme, which is funded by the Disability Federation of Ireland and focused on the upskilling of support staff in the health and disability sectors. Staff will be awarded a FETAC level 5 award on completion of eight modules.
NCBI also piloted a quality framework, called the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) with some projects arising out of the five-year strategic plan. The EFQM programme is a quality standard that helps organisations assess their level of effectiveness and efficiency in delivering their business goals. NCBI prioritised goals in the areas of governance, communications and policy development for 2010. Assessment of progress against these goals is due to take place by mid-2011.
Twelve members of NCBI staff, community resource workers and IT trainers, completed a BTEC Professional Diploma in Rehabilitation Studies (Vision Impairment) Level 4 in July. The course was carried out on a modular basis covering: vision impairment and the use of low vision, holistic assessment of people with a vision impairment, adult rehabilitative learning and instructional skills, rehabilitative strategies for daily living, communication skills for people with a vision impairment and orientation and mobility skills for people with a vision impairment.
As part of our human resources strategy NCBI conducted an employee engagement survey in December 2010. The purpose of the survey was to gather information to help foster the supportive management of staff, as well as to understand how staff felt about a wide variety of key work-related issues that impact both NCBI and their work experience. It is also an important part of our efforts to continuously improve the organisation using staff feedback.
The survey was administered by an independent consulting firm to ensure confidentiality. It was available online, in large print and in Braille. The response rate was very high at 75%. Overall, the results were very positive, but the survey did highlight areas where performance can be improved and these will be worked on in 2011.
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It is the policy of NCBI to obtain the views from people who use our services, about the services provided and the way in which they are provided. Any complaint will be viewed as an opportunity to inform and to continuously improve the quality of service provision.