The Interviewer Quality Control Scheme (IQCS)
is an independently run scheme, managed by a Council of Management representing both market research industry bodies and elected member companies. The IQCS requires members to adhere to a set of benchmark market research industry standards. These cover the recruitment, training and appraisal of fieldwork staff, and the implementation of various administrative and validation procedures to maintain the quality and accuracy of data collected.
There are two tiers of supplier membership:
- Full members, who enjoy all the benefits of membership and have their fieldwork annually assessed and accredited by our independent inspectors, and
- Member Only companies, who enjoy all the benefits of membership, but are not assessed by the IQCS. Member only companies are ISO20252 registered and audited annually by an independent body such as the MQA.
IQCS User Member Category
- IQCS user members are UK based companies who do not have their own in-house data-collection, but commit to use providers who are IQCS accredited or ISO20252:2012 registered (and are inspected to verify this).
Member companies are bound by the nature of their agreement to adhere to the benchmark standards of the scheme. The most important and fundamental feature being the requirement for independent audit. This annual verification process ensures compliance to benchmark data-collection standards. IQCS Full Members’ inspections are carried out by our team who has first hand experience of the full range of market research methodologies.
The aim of the Interviewer Quality Control Scheme (IQCS) is to ensure that all member companies operate to the same benchmark standards in respect of interviewer recruitment, training, supervision and respondent/data validation. In order that this objective can be achieved, rules are laid down showing benchmark standards to be followed by all members.
Data-Collection Methodologies Covered by the IQCS:
• face to face interviewing in-home, in street, in central venue, at place of work
• recruitment of respondents for depth interviews and/or face-to-face or online group discussions
• telephone interviewing from a telephone centre
• telephone interviewing from home
• recruitment to web-assisted/online interviewing
• recruitment to panels
• auditors collecting data
• evaluators conducting mystery shopping/observational research
The Market Research Society (MRS) Code of Conduct
Member companies are responsible for ensuring all individuals working on a project (or parts of a project) are adhering to the MRS Code of Conduct.
In order to be considered for IQCS accreditation a company must have at least one current full member of the MRS.
The History of the IQCS
Originally born out of the Interviewer Card Scheme (IQCS) which was formed in the 1970s as a response to a generally held view that fieldwork standards needed to be improved and regulated.
In 1986 with a name and remit change, the IQCS was formed and from these humble beginnings has grown into the internationally recognised fieldwork standard it is today.
Gill Wareing was appointed Administrator in 1987. The original council was comprised of: Anne Rigg, Janet Weitz, Janet Pottinger, Joan Pernet, Lesley Hill, Gillian Russell, Ivor Stocker and Michael Brooks.
In 1990 the standard was amended from accreditation for individual categories to approval for all types of research conducted by a company. The same year there was a major overhaul of the Standards Manual when it was deemed necessary to introduce guidelines for “computer-aided interviews”.
1990 Certificates were introduced. Core Interviewer and Supervisor Manuals drafted around this time.
With the rise of telephone data-collection fuller standards were developed for this category from 1993.
In 1994 Mystery Shopping requirements were developed from a specially held working forum and set down in 1994 when the manual was re-written to make it more concise and user-friendly. Also in 1994, under the chairmanship of Ros Morgan, the inspection forms were re-designed and inspectors’ performances reviews introduced.
Former council celebrating IQCS’ 10th Anniversary! That was in 1996!
In 1998 MRQSA was developed as a standard which aimed to set minimum standards for full-service market research agencies, and the decision was taken to use the existing IQCS standards as their fieldwork requirements.
In 2003 the MRQSA standards were reviewed and became the BS7911 British Fieldwork Standard for Market Research.
In April 2006, a new international standard, ISO 20252, was issued to replace the British standard, again with the IQCS standards firmly embedded in its fieldwork section.
There have been several key figures in our inspection team over the last 25 years, including Tilly Dancy, Daphne Eatwell and of course Daphne Steggals who was an inspector since the inception of IQCS until her retirement in 2008! The current team comprises of Gaynor Montague and Sue Curtis.
Previous IQCS Chairmen have been:
- 1986 – 1989 John Hanvey
- 1989 – 1992 Janet Weitz
- 1992 – 1994 Lesley Hill
- 1994 – 1997 Ros Morgan
- 1998 – 2001 Claire Harris
- 2002 – present Penny Steele
We are very proud of our successful journey over the last 25 years, and would like to thank all our membership, supporting clients and the professional bodies within the industry for their continued support and input into the ongoing development of contemporary UK fieldwork standards.
Would you like to discuss membership with us?
Please feel free to contact IQCS Gill, our IQCS administrator via email or call her on 07935057275. All inquiries will be treated confidentially.
More information on how to join the IQCS and application forms can be found here.