Quality assurance is a systematic process to determine the extent to which an organisation applies an agreed set of requirements (also called a standard). There are three types of quality assurance processes:
First-party – when the organisation undertakes a self-assessment, either through its own staff or consultants.
Second-party – when an organisation that is somehow related to the one that is assessed (e.g. a donor assessing one of its partners) undertakes the assessment.
Third-party – when an independent party carries out the assessment.
Third-party quality assurance, for its independence, is generally considered the most robust means to generate a reliable, objective assessments of the extent to which a standard is applied. This is why it is used by thousands of organisations across sectors, not only to credibly demonstrate compliance with standards, but also as a tool for learning and continuous improvement.