Standards are checked through a dual system of self assessment and independent professional verification, undertaken as part of the application process and periodically after that.

As well as being the cornerstones of the system for checking standards, self assessment and verification are an integral part of the process by which providers gain membership and maintain it. Click here for a flowchart on how membership is gained and the place of self assessment and verification within that process.

Applicants complete a self assessment questionnaire (SAQ) in which they assess how well they think they meet the various Code standards. A sample of the provider’s properties is inspected by an independent verifier who checks that the provider’s claims square with reality before full accreditation is granted.

Verification visits focus on the property’s physical condition, how it is managed and customer satisfaction.

If the verifier identifies any shortcomings membership of the relevant Code can be refused. If shortcomings are not serious then the provider is given a set time for putting them right. If they don’t meet these undertakings within the agreed timescale then they can be removed from membership . A member’s compliance with the standards set is tested periodically through further verification visits. Again, non-compliance can result in membership being withdrawn.