Quality Assurance Consultation, Review, Training, and Analysis Services

Program Development and Outreach

Program Development and Outreach

Advising on Program Development & Refinement

Do you want to develop, revise, or refine a quality assurance program? Whether you are in early stages of development or looking to refine a well-established program, ACER will help you build a strategy to achieve those goals. Some of the key strategic questions we can support you in answering include:

  • How and where do we start? What is the right QA model for our organization?
  • How can we develop a practical, evidence-based on-farm assessment?
  • How can we set up effective governance and facilitate decision-making?
  • What are the major animal welfare concerns in our region?
  • What should our program requirements and/or standards be?
  • What should evaluator and/or assessor training look like?
  • How can an established program be revised to meet changing expectations?
  • How can we enhance farmer buy-in?
ACER Solutions

Though our strategy will be tailored to your specific needs, a few of the most common services we provide include:

  • Professional facilitation of technical working groups and multi- stakeholder planning meetings
  • Design, implementation, and analysis of surveys, interviews, and/or focus groups to collect information from your key audiences and inform decision-making
  • Background review of other programs and the science behind individual standards (more information on this is included below)
  • One-on-one consultation

Development of Program Tools and Resources

Whether you are developing a new program, refining an existing program, or going through a new program cycle, we know that clear, consistent, and practical tools and resources are needed to support program buy in and implementation.

Whether you are developing a new program, refining an existing program, or going through a new program cycle, we know that clear, consistent, and practical tools and resources are needed to support program buy in and implementation.

ACER Solutions

We routinely develop QA program resources, including templates; scientific review of programs and existing materials; writing copy; and even graphic design! We support programs in developing or enhancing QA materials such as:

  • Reference manuals, code books, and guidance documents
  • Training resources for online and/or in-person delivery
  • QA program evaluation and communication tools, documents, or strategies

Check out some examples of our past work for the proAction program and Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM).

Program Outreach and Communication

Are you looking to communicate about a newly developed program, or enhance participant buy-in through communicating the value of an existing program? A strong and effective communication strategy is the first step in impactful outreach.

ACER Solutions

As researchers, we have a strong background in knowledge mobilization and scientific communication. We further program outreach by developing a tailored communications strategy to effectively deliver key messages to your target audience by:

  • Understanding needs through outreach to end users (e.g., survey focus groups)
  • Developing key messages that resonate with the target audience
  • Creating a multi-modal toolkit to share key messages (e.g., videos, print, podcasts)

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Scientific Review and Environmental Scan of Quality Assurance Programs

Scientific Review and Environmental Scan of Quality Assurance Programs

Quality Assurance in a Given Landscape

With a dynamic and changing industry, global animal health and welfare QA initiatives are being developed at a rapid rate. In strategizing for a way to move forward, it is often necessary to understand the current QA landscape in a given jurisdiction, region, or country.

ACER Solutions

We will help you understand what the current quality assurance landscape looks like for your area of interest through:

  • Reviewing programs, regulations, audits, and frameworks in your jurisdiction
  • International reviews of QA programs
  • Jurisdictional reviews of private and public industry schemes

What the Science Says

Many global QA programs pride themselves on having evidence- and outcomes-based standards that provide a robust framework for upholding best practices for dairy cattle health and welfare. We can help you understand the science behind best practices for animal welfare to maintain a relevant, effective, and strong program.

ACER Solutions
  • Review of scientific literature on specific issues, standards, and industry best practices
  • Provide a strong understanding of the current state of the evidence
  • Identify supporting research behind individual expectations and reveal why they are considered “best practice”

Individual Program Assessment

Do you know how your QA program compares to others around the world? Understanding where your QA program stands in relation to other globally relevant programs, policies, regulations, and frameworks can identify strengths in your program as well as areas of improvement and opportunity.

ACER Solutions

We will conduct a review and evaluation of individual QA programs in order to understand:

  • How your program, scheme, standards, and/or policies compare to others
  • Where improvements can be made
  • Where your program rises above
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Training for Quality Assurance Programs

Training for Quality Assurance Programs

Training, Facilitation, and On-Farm Assessment

On-farm assessments, evaluations, and audits are a key part of many QA programs. Ensuring that on-farm evaluations are conducted in a consistent and reliable way is a critical piece of the process and heavily relies on a robust evaluator training program.

ACER Solutions

We are experienced in developing, facilitating, and conducting on- farm training for animal welfare assessment. As trained facilitators and experienced assessor trainers, we will support you in developing, conducting, or enhancing training through:

  • Development of an in-person, on-farm, hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous training course aimed at evaluating animal welfare and program compliance. This can include development of the assessment questions and guidance materials
  • Development of assessor training for first time assessors, experienced assessors, and/or assessor trainers
  • Execution and implementation of training, for both in classroom and on-farm sessions
  • Calibration of assessor scoring for animal-based measures

Evaluation of On-Farm Assessment

Most QA programs are based on a model of continuous improvement, where they expect participating farms to raise their standards and improve outcomes over time. We can support your program and internal processes including staff training and on-farm assessment, to embrace this mindset.

ACER Solutions

For well-established QA programs with a defined on-farm assessment and training protocol, we provide an evaluation of your assessment strategy. This includes:

  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis of assessment questions, tools, and training materials
  • Recommendations for strategies to enhance your program’s on- farm assessment
  • Opportunities to highlight areas of your strategy that are already strong
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Data Analysis for Quality Assurance Programs

Data Analysis for Quality Assurance Programs

Data Analysis, Benchmarking, and Reporting

Are you effectively using your program data to its fullest potential? In order to inform communication, decisions, and reporting, it is necessary to review, synthesize, and gather insights from individual and aggregate on-farm data.

ACER Solutions

As trained epidemiologists, we analyze program data to:

  • Describe trends in on-farm practices, compliance, and program assessors
  • Advise on data collection and analyses that will bring the most value back to you
  • Benchmark your program data against industry trends
  • Develop program benchmarks based on data, compliance, and industry trends
  • Create dashboards and data visualization tools for ease of interpretation
  • Answer strategic questions, including internal, customer, or buyer questions
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Do you have a scientific research, communication, or training need?

Our goal is to create knowledge and tools to improve animal health and welfare, public health, and the environment in a rapidly changing world. We have the skills to help you understand your unique challenge, inform relevant solutions, and maximize influence.

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