Performance Quality Standards are a much broader concept than that of just an individual standard: They provide an overall picture of a product, not just a part of it.
Knowing exactly what is required is of fundamental importance for a manager because all inputs as well as the management of the user can then be adjusted and managed accordingly to achieve the desired product.
Many managers already achieve good results using their available resources, however, no objective, nor value for money, comparison can be made against apparently similar products unless there is a national Performance Quality Standard to judge against.
Performance Quality Standards provide a manager with the necessary national benchmark for a particular product, which allows informed comparisons to take place.
The wealth of information that can be built up by the implementation of Performance Quality Standards can provide the manager with not only historical data on which to plan a maintenance programme, but also accurate current data for monitoring purposes to identify how a facility is responding to the current maintenance inputs and management of the user. Any adjustments can then be made in an informed way and these can be used to fully justify the action taken in any discussion or correspondence with line managers, users or other interested parties.
It is important to not only monitor and collect performance measurements, but also to act on the findings.
Competence gained through experience, qualifications and training updates will enable a manager to correctly identify what work is required to provide a facility to a defined standard. This competence should be seen as an essential prerequisite for the successful introduction and management of these Performance Quality Standards.
A defined product, such as a motor car or football pitch, has a number of individual elements that when 'moulded' together result in the expected product. Thus, when all the components of a car are put together we have an actual car, such as a Ford or BMW, and the overall quality of the product can, usually, be deduced from the type of car.
Whilst a customer has an understanding of the actual, or perceived, quality of the end product, they do not need (or particularly want) to know about all the parameters of the individual elements (i.e. the performance standards). This is analogous with Performance Quality Standards where users will require, or demand, a certain level of quality for a facility, but will not know about all of the component parts.
For example, within a turf situation, users will not want to know what the depth of thatch is on the facility. This is the sort of information that manufacturers and the production team (i.e. in this case turf managers) need to know to be able to provide the necessary finished product.
Providers of that facility will be able to give accurate information about what the user can expect from the playing experience, maintenance costs, the likely number of matches which would be consistent with the carrying capacity and a realistic cost of provision. (Dury, P. (1995), 'European Standards: The Benefits for British Groundsmanship', The Groundsman, February, 28-29)
The actual charge for the use of the facility will depend upon a number of factors including the level of subsidy, if any. However, the essential point is that a realistic initial cost is achieved. What is actually accomplished with this will depend upon political, social and economic pressures, but the provision of a realistic starting figure will help all concerned.
Readers interested in looking into the aspects of appraising the financial implications of providing outdoor sports facilities should look at a 1989 Sports Council document into this subject which gives a detailed worked example of the cost of provision. (Gray, CE & Dury, PLK, (1989), 'The Provision of Sports Facilities: A Financial Appraisal', Costs in Use Pitches Project, The Sports Council, London. 72 pp)