Introduction Most managers and professionals are required to carry out quality evaluation, by law or as a contractual or professional duty. Quality evaluation is necessary for quality improvement, but there are questions about which methods are the most effective. Are the benefits of the many types of quality inspections and evaluations worth the costs? There is much duplication and uncertainty about who should be carrying out different quality activities. There is also a tension between the methods of inspection which are favoured by governments to ensure that basic standards are met and developmental methods which encourage self-improvement. Quality evaluation is now everyone's business, but it is not always clear which methods to use or which are the most cost-effective and there is a need to evaluate the many methods which are used.