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High Standards in the Highlands

Two Scottish Re-users are the latest FRN Members to meet International Standards


The Furniture Re-use Network wishes to congratulate both ILM Highland in Alness and New Start Highland in Inverness for satisfying the requirements of the premier International Standard ISO 9001.

Fred Dobb of FRN said that “ILM Highland and New Start Highland have passed a searching three day assessment by an experienced IRCA registered Principal Auditor from a UKAS Accredited Independent Third Party Certification Body”.

FRN can now boast 9 members that have achieved ISO standards, following  assistance and guidance given by FRN. FRN will continue to work with another 50 more members to prepare them to comply with this benchmark. This will enable civil society organisations to compete on equal terms with those in the commercial and private sector.

Andy Dytch of ILM Highland said that “This means our partners, whether from the private, public or third sector, will be reassured that they are dealing with a quality company. Too often in the past other bodies or companies have looked down their noses at social enterprises and charities thinking they are a bunch of do-gooders who do not have any real idea what they are doing. I think having ISO 9001 helps change that perception”.

James Dunbar of New Start Highland adds that “Quality of service is a crucial part of our social business. We take quality as a prerequisite”.

ISO 9001 certified standards promise to create an efficient and effective working environment; raising customer satisfaction and retention in order to lead to increased profit, as well as improving employee moral and long term employment. Plus the sector continues to reduce waste.

Andy Dytch was in agreement that achieving the ISO 9001 standard was “a great confidence boost to the staff. The staff would have viewed it as a reflection on their service if there were any non compliances”.

And James Dunbar added to this saying “All our staff are now better informed and better prepared to work effectively and efficiently”.

ISO standard is a high achieving guarantee for stakeholders, mangers and customers in the delivery of products and is the fundamental base of FRN standards. It is not FRN’s attitude to simply deliver to whatever the customer perceives good quality to be, but to go further and make sure that they set their own marker for high-end quality that ticks every box. When the Highland organisations were awarded their ISO certificate they had already installed, implemented and maintained their systems and controls in everyday working practice under FRN direction.

Andy Dytch says on his way to achieving ISO 9001 standard found that “we knew we were doing things pretty well, and the commitment of staff to delivering a quality service has been great over the years. However, we were aware that at times we lacked the discipline. During the process leading up to assessment we have much more confidence in our management systems”.

FRN works to support bids for ISO’s by employing their own full time auditing team who work hard to achieve ISO goals. It can be argued that some people just want the ISO certificate but are not willing to put in the hard work, however, partnered with our auditors they work out a way of achieving a committed level of quality. Specifying where they are lacking and importantly why; this helps to maintain standards effectively. Our team carries out annual audits and re-registers reusers every 3 years to ensure continued commitment to goals set. FRN helps with the lengthy paper work of ISO application, making the process as hassle free as possible. Audits are charged at no extra cost to membership and negates the need for third party and internal audits.

James Dunbar of New Start Highland supports this when he said “Going through the FRN Approved Re-use Centre audits and moving onto UKAS Accredited ISO certification was a natural and achievable step”.

Joining the FRN means more organisations can achieve the ISO 9001 level of standards without having to struggle alone.

FRN is proud of the high achieving standard of their members and hope this goes to illustrate their commitment to being the best in their sector.


Notes for Editors:


FRN is the national body which supports, assists and develops charitable re-use organisations across the UK. FRN do this to reduce poverty by helping households in need access furniture, white goods and other household items at affordable prices.  In addition, FRN support re-use organisations in providing training and work placement opportunities for people who are socially excluded.


New Start Highland is an organisation which strives to create opportunities for people, helping them to make positive changes to their lives and improving their quality of life. New Start Highlands work creates social and environmental improvements within our local community through supporting people, delivering training opportunities and promoting re-use.


ILM Highland is an independent social enterprise with charitable status. It was set up in 1994 to help people who had problems getting into the job market and staying there: the ‘Intermediate Labour Market’ is where the initials for the company name ‘ILM’ originated. Over the years ILM extended their scope beyond environmental training, work experience and employment projects to include additional services such as the recycling of waste electrical goods, insulation services, business consultancy, and housing-related services for older people and people with disabilities.




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