‘The first step in the accreditation process is the completion of a self assessment of your advice service using the Self Assessment and Application form and the Self Assessment Guidance documentation, as well as viewing the presentation and organisational guidance slides.

This includes the identification of the remit of your agency. Identifying the remit of your agency is essential as it will determine which accreditation path you take.’

You will also be required to accurately describe the remit of your advice agency at the start of the process. Accreditation is awarded on the basis of compliance with the Standards and in relation to the remit your advice service.

By remit, we mean the advice that you provide in housing and/or welfare benefits and/or money and debt. If you provide advice in any other areas, for example, employment or family law, these are not covered by the SNSIAP and can’t be accredited.

The remit of your advice is defined in the SNSIAP by the Type and Topic (e.g. Type II Housing) and sub-topic(s) (e.g. eviction) as set out in the competences section of the Standards Framework (Section 2). It also includes the background, context and overall purpose of your advice service.

Please remember to use the revised Standards Framework (Section 2) linked to above.

You will be able to identify which accreditation path your agency should take once you have identified your remit and completed your self assessment. Whichever path you take, your first step must be to complete the Self Assessment and Application Form as this will tell you if your agency is ready to apply for accreditation or identify gaps or issues that should be resolved before you apply.

What happens next?

Agencies providing Type I (Information and Signposting) advice only:

You do not have to apply for peer review if all the advice work carried out by your agency is Type I (Information and Signposting). Your next step after completing your self-assessment is to apply for Type I accreditation. This involves an audit against the Organisational Standards in the SNSIAP Framework.

Agencies providing Type II/Type III (Casework or Representation) advice:

Your next step is to apply for peer review in the topics your agency provides Type II (Casework) or Type III (Representation) advice.  Once you have successfully completed peer review you can apply for Type II/Type III accreditation.  This involves an audit against the Organisational Standards in the SNSIAP Framework.

Agencies providing a Mix of Type I (Information and Signposting) and Type II/Type III (Casework and Representation) advice:

If you provide Type I advice in a topic (e.g. housing) but also provide Type II/Type III advice in another topic (e.g. welfare benefits) you should follow the Type II/III step-by-step guide as your Type II/Type III advice must be peer reviewed first.

Once you have successfully completed peer review in your Type II/Type III topics you should then book your organisational audit, as set out in the step-by-step guide.

Type of accreditation

Type I accreditation

View the Type 1 accreditation process for agencies providing information, sign-posting or referring the user to other available resources or services.

Type II & III accreditation

Learn about the accreditation process for agencies carrying out casework, advocacy, representation and mediation in court or tribunal cases.