The origin of a foundation for quality

A number of offices felt the need for further cooperation in the field of information technology within the court district of ’s-Hertogenbosch. The Raad voor Rechtsbijstand (Council for Legal Aid) wanted to improve the involvement of lawyer’s offices in the social legal aid and, moreover, wanted to realise a better and verifi able quality. The State Secretary of Justice repeatedly expressed his willingness to proceed to a further raising of the fees for subsidised legal aid if there also would be a verifiable quality standard. Sufficient reason to investigate the possibilities of co-operation, certainly so with the prospect of a substantial amount of money to stimulate the initiative from the Board. The ’s-Hertogenbosch Legal Aid Board wanted to offer litigants highquality subsidised legal aid and in 1999 asked lawyer’s offi ces in its work area under what conditions they would be prepared to invest in quality. In answer to this challenge ten offices joined forces and established the Foundation Viadicte. What makes this initiative so special is that the professional group itself took the lead. The offi ces which joined the foundation attach great value to guaranteeing and improving the quality of their service. They want to distinguish themselves more in the market by working on a high-quality level in a demonstrable way.

The following timeline illustrates the history of foundation Viadicte:

 

  • A framework of standards has been written on the basis of ‘best practices’, ISO 9001, the INK model and an abundance of existing material at NOvA. This framework represents a set of criteria, and you should make agreements concerning these with your colleagues. Taken as a whole, these agreements actually constitute your quality policy and risk management system. Viadicte makes use of external auditors (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) who evaluate on the basis of an integrated evaluation programme.

  • With the use of software application, lawyer’s offices can anonymously compare their financial housekeeping with that of other offices. Thus they can obtain insight into the financial position of their own office in comparison with comparable offices in the fields of, for instance, staff expenses, library expenses, turnovers, sickness leave and so on.

  • An extensive survey like the Intomart-surveys only has to be conducted once every four years. In the meantime the offices measure client satisfaction by means of concise evaluations, comparable to the evaluations that must be filled in after courses and congresses. Foundation Viadicte offers example forms to conduct such concise surveys.

  • Law practices that have a permanent quality policy receive a Met Recht Tevreden (‘justifiably satisfied’) seal of approval from Viadicte. The seal of approval signifies that your practice complies with the requirements with regard to know-how, integrity and office operations. Moreover, the seal-of-approval programme promotes efficiency and streamlining within your organisation.