Addressing alcohol and drug-related issues: Reducing harm and supporting positive change.


Addressing alcohol and drug-related issues: Reducing harm and supporting positive change.

Pictured are ASCERT Chief Executive Gary McMichael and HR & Corporate Services Manager Ciara Hughes.

ASCERT have been awarded a “We Invest in People, Gold Accreditation” from Investors in People.

Investors in People is the international standard for performance and quality of people management that enables organizations to benchmark against the best performing organisations on a global scale. ASCERT’s achievement of GOLD accreditation acknowledges our commitment to continually develop, adapt and improve so that we deliver our charitable objectives and make ASCERT a great place to work.

ASCERT has been in existence since 1998 and is one of the largest local charities addressing drug and alcohol issues across Northern Ireland.  With offices in Lisburn, Belfast and Omagh, ASCERT work throughout the province supporting young people, families and adults who are dealing with alcohol and drug related issues by providing advice and support through prevention and intervention therapies and services, reducing the harm caused by substance misuse and supporting recovery.

Only 17% of accredited organisations achieving Gold, so this is a great achievement. After rigorous assessment, ASCERT has been ranked 16th in the UK in its sector. This highly respected accolade demonstrates ASCERT’s commitment to our people and the strength of the leadership and purpose evident right throughout the charity, from our Board down to our workers on the frontline, making us an effective and capable organisation, delivering quality services and much needed supports for our service users.

The award is evidence of the charity’s positive culture and strong engagement, where staff feel cared for, listened to and professionally equipped to fulfil their role to the highest possible standard.

Gary McMichael, ASCERT Chief Executive said “I am delighted that we have achieved this Investors in People GOLD accreditation. I am proud of the people that work here, they are our best resource and it is they that enable ASCERT to do the amazing work it does to support people in our community. Investors in People said our people are welcoming, friendly and passionate about what they do and the services they provide. I would echo that, and it is their commitment that changes lives for the better every day.

ASCERT first attained Investors in People recognition with a Bronze award in 2009 and it is due to our leadership and staff team that with continual improvement we have achieved this highly sought after GOLD accreditation. After a rigorous assessment benchmark score was 835 out of a possible 900 and we were assessed as higher than the IIP average and for our industry in all the areas of assessment. This is testament to the success of our People Strategy which enables us to harness talents and demonstrate commitment to staff.

I thank every member of our team for their continuing commitment to ASCERT’s mission and vision paying particular thanks to our HR Manager Ciara Hughes, who prepared, organised and co-ordinated this assessment- we could not have achieved this standard without her dedication. “

Stephanie McCutcheon, Investors in People Assessor confirmed that ASCERT ranked 16th out of 149 similar sized organisations within the sector across the whole of the UK.  “This is a brilliant achievement” Stephanie said, continuing, “Everyone should be extremely proud of ASCERT’s good practice, values and culture that have helped achieve this GOLD award. It has been a privilege to spend some time in ASCERT; and a pleasure to experience such passion and commitment.”

ASCERT’s strengths were identified during the in-depth assessment process as:

  • Leaders and managers were described as supportive and approachable
  • There is a very strong set of core values which underpin the charity’s vision and ethos
  • Staff are aware of the plans, challenges and influences that are impacting upon the direction of the charity and want ASCERT to be successful.
  • Trust, empowerment and delegation are part of the culture which is one of engagement and is open, honest and supportive, allowing people to feel valued, respected and motivated
  • People are motivated and inspired to improve the services and support they provide. They  support their peers and believe in each other’s abilities

The highest marks available were awarded to ASCERT on the themes of leading and inspiring people; living the organisations values and behaviours; empowering and involving people and delivering continuous improvement.