The first four advice agencies to receive accreditation under the Scottish Government’s new quality assurance model have been announced.
Forth Housing Association, Orkney Housing Association, Grapevine and Changeworks have all been accredited after assessment against the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (SNSIAP).
The model allows advice agencies to receive quality assured accreditation for their work helping clients with housing, welfare benefits and money/debt problems.
Accreditation enables agencies to demonstrate to their clients and funders that they are offering a good quality of service. It also provides recognition for staff who are working hard to continuously improving their advice service.
The agencies are the first to be certified since the government-funded scheme reopened in November 2016.
The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing said: “I am delighted that the first agencies have successfully completed the new accreditation, which aims to strengthen public confidence in the quality of advice provided. I look forward to more advice agencies, across all sectors, taking up this opportunity to demonstrate the high quality of service available to the public.”
Liz Melvin, Head of Housing and Customer Services at Orkney Housing Association, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be one of the first to gain re-accreditation not only for our customers benefit but also as this reaffirms that our staff are doing an excellent job and meeting the Standards on a daily basis. The Auditor was a pleasure to work with and I would certainly recommend this process.”
Angela Laley, Project and Communications Co-ordinator at Forth Housing, said: “By obtaining re-accreditation, Forth has continued to demonstrate that we are providing quality advice and information which is an integral part of our service. This is a benefit not only to Forth but more importantly our customers.”
The Scottish Government’s funding means agencies can receive accreditation or re-accreditation for free. The process is managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) on the government’s behalf and will run until November 2019.
Agencies wishing to be accredited/re-accredited should email SNSIAP@slab.org.uk or find out more details on SLAB’s website. Due to the high number of advice agencies whose previous accreditation expires during this funding cycle, interested organisations should contact SLAB as soon as possible to indicate when they would prefer to go through the audit process.