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Policy in detail: Improving the standard of legal information

We work to improve the standard of information and advice provision throughout Scotland by developing and promoting the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers.

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers

The National Standards were compiled with the assistance of advice providers in the voluntary and statutory sectors. The Standards are a framework for the development of effective and efficient services and were compiled in recognition of the fact that people choose to access information and advice from various sources. Some agencies specialise in advice whereas others provide advice only as part of an overall service.

The Standards framework can be used by any advice provider to improve the quality of its advice service.

The Scottish Government has asked the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) to develop and implement the delivery of the new accreditation model for the SNSIAP.

Key documents

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: A Quality Assurance Framework 2009 was published in 2009.  DO NOT REFER TO SECTION 2 WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK AS IT IS OUT OF DATE. We will review and republish the Quality Assurance Framework in its entirety in the nearest future.

Updated Section 2 containing reviewed agency and adviser competences can be accessed here.  

Accreditation for all types of advice providers is now available

Advice providers providing Type I, Type II and Type III advice can now apply for accreditation or re-accreditation.  Please email SNSIAP@slab.org.uk for further information.

Accreditation for Type II/III advice providers

Organisations seeking accreditation or re-accreditation at Type II or III must first have their casework peer reviewed. Peer Review Guidance for Advice Providers is available on SLAB’s website.

If an organisation meets the required standard at peer review they can then apply for accreditation, which involves an audit against the Organisational Standards in the SNSIAP.

SLAB can only peer review cases that have client consent to be shared with third parties for the purposes of quality assurance.  You can find a guidance note relating to consent on SLAB’s website.

The new accreditation model

The Scottish Government has funded a new three year cycle (November 2016 – November 2019) in which advice providers can go through the new process for accreditation or re-accreditation for free. 

Confirming commitment to re-accreditation

To avoid a gap in the availability of SNSIAP accreditation, previous accreditation awards were rolled on as an interim measure.

Now that the new model is available, all agencies which have a rolled-on accreditation or have an accreditation award which will expire before November 2019 must contact SLAB by 31 May 2017, if they have not already done so, to confirm whether they are committing to apply for re-accreditation in the new three year cycle.

If you are already planning for re-accreditation at a particular time in the new cycle, please identify the financial year in which you are planning to go through the process (eg 2017/18, 2018/19, or April- November 2019).

How this affects your current accreditation

If you do not confirm your organisation’s commitment to proceed through  re-accreditation your rolled-on accreditation will lapse on 31 May 2017 if it has been 4 years since your last accreditation award.

Self assessment

To prepare for re-accreditation and accreditation for the first time advice providers must self assess against the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: A Quality Assurance Framework 2009.  PLEASE NOTE THAT SECTION 2 OF THE FRAMEWORK HAS BEEN UPDATED IN LINE WITH CURRENT LEGISLATION AND CAN BE ACCESSED HERE

SLAB have developed separate self assessment tools and guidance for advice providers and CABx.

For more information on all aspects of the above including current news updates go to http://www.slab.org.uk/providers/advice/Accreditation_Model.html


For further information:

Email:  SNSIAP@slab.org.uk

Tel: Sarah Hamer, Policy Development Officer, SLAB, on 0131 240 2177