About the Standards
The Standards are divided into six key areas:
1. General Management
2. Planning of Services
3. Accessibility and Customer Care
4. Providing the Service
5. Competences for Staff and Agencies
Each of the Standards is followed by a set of 'indicators' that highlight the evidence services will need to provide to demonstrate compliance with the Standards. Indicators for each Standard may differ depending upon the type of service offered by the provider. Type I indicators are relevant for information providers that wish to comply with the Standards, Type II for those offering a case service and Type III indicators for those offering representation and advocacy services. Our definitions of service by type of intervention are provided on page 6 (' Defining Information and Advice').
The Standards are designed to be applicable to agencies in all sectors and should assist them to provide a service that:
- Is client oriented
- Is private and confidential
- Diagnoses the problem
- Is accurate
- Provides options
- Provides for referral
- Provides for follow-up action
- Provides redress to service users and
- Is adequately publicised
This manual is written to be relevant to all agencies, large and small, urban and rural. Some agencies may see themselves as being too small or too under-resourced to meet the Standards or to use these guidelines. Resource limitation should not be seen as a reason for not striving for the highest possible standards. However, the level and quantity of service provided will be affected by the level of resources available to a service. The Good Practice Manual in Section 3 provides guidance on maximising existing resources whilst developing a quality service.
Similarly, we stress that the Standards are not solely the responsibility of individual agencies. By working together agencies can greatly enhance their capacity to meet the needs of their communities.
Each of the Standards is followed by a set of indicators that highlight the evidence services will need to provide demonstrate compliance with the Standards. Indicators for each Standard may differ depending upon the Type of service offered by the provider. Type I indicators are relevant for information providers that wish to comply with the Standards, Type II for those offering a casework service and Type III for services providing users with advocacy, representation and mediation at tribunal or court action level.
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