The step-by-step guide below sets out clearly what you have to do to gain Type II/III accreditation. Please email us if you are still unsure of what is required after reading this guidance or need further information.

Before continuing you should have already checked that you advice agency is considered Type II or III under the SNSIAP.

You can also view an overview of the accreditation process.

Thinking about accreditation?

Step 1 - case checking

Do you regularly check the quality of your advisers' work? If you do, move to Step 2. If you do not please view the 'Are you ready for Peer Review?' guidance for more information on the importance of case checking to peer review and accreditation.

Step 2 - self-assessment

Accreditation begins with self assessment. You should read the Self Assessment Guidance and use this to complete the Self Assessment and Application Form. You can also find out more about self assessment here.

Step 3 - client consent

You must check that you are asking your clients for the correct type of consent to allow you to share their data with us and the peer reviewers. This is necessary to ensure you are complying with data protection law. Go to the client consent and data protection sections if you need more information about how they relate to this peer review process. When you apply for peer review you will need to send us a list of all your benefits and/or housing and/or money/debt cases from the past 12 months.  We will then select cases from that list for peer review. Your list must only include cases that have third party consent and meet the definitions of Type II or Type III casework.

Applying for peer review

Step 4 - apply for peer review

If you have already pre-booked your peer review please go to Step 5.

Contact us by email to confirm that you have completed your self assessment and would like to now apply for peer review. Your email should include:

  •  The name of your agency.
  •  The areas you wish to be peer reviewed in i.e. housing and/or welfare benefits and/or money and debt.
  •  The preferred month you would like your peer review to take place.

We will then identify a free slot, as close to your preferred time as possible, and confirm the date to you. You do not need to send your completed Self Assessment and Application Form to us until Step 15.

Step 5 - leading up to your review

Before your peer review takes place we will send you a Peer Review Questionnaire (PRQ) and a timetable for the two months leading up to your peer review. You can view an example timetable here.

Step 6 - return your peer review questionnaire

Complete and return your PRQ. Once received we will send you a Case Selection Grid (CSG), a NextCloud New User Form (if you are using NextCloud to share your files) and instructions on Data Sharing Agreements (DSA).

Step 7 - Return the CSG, DSA and NextCloud User Form

  • Complete and sign the Data Sharing Agreement
  • Complete and sign the NextCloud New Users Form
  • Complete the Case Selection Grid (instructions on the grid) and sign the Client Consent Declaration

Please return all three documents by email.

Peer review

Step 8 - case selection

We will pick 30 cases per topic (Housing, Welfare Benefits, Money and Debt) from your completed Case Selection Grid. You will then be asked to provide a description of the case matter, confirmation of whether the case is open or closed and what competences are covered in the case.

Type II and III cases are assessed in exactly the same way. The 30 cases are a random selection of your advice work in that topic - they do not need to cover every competence your agency gives advice on, for example all 15 Housing Competences.

Step 9 - file selection

You have to either upload the cases that have been selected to NextCloud or give the peer reviewers remote access to your files via a case management system. You should then confirm with us when you have completed this. If you are a CAB using CASTLE please refer to the guidance (available as a Word document) issued by CAS. We will then randomly select 15 cases that will be peer reviewed.

Step 10 - peer review takes place

The peer reviewers will look at your case files and write their report. This report will be sent to us and will be considered by the Moderation Committee at their next meeting. These meetings take place once every three months. The Moderation Committee will make the final decision on the outcome of an agency’s peer review.

Step 11 - Moderation Committee decision

We will send you the decision of the Moderation Committee and a copy of the Peer Review Report. If your agency hasn’t obtained the required compliance score of 75% we will explain what you need to do to reapply for peer review.  If your agency has met the required score we will explain how to apply for audit and accreditation.

Audit

Step 12 - applying for audit and accreditation

You should email the Scottish Government when you are ready to apply for audit and accreditation. You must include:

  • The name of your agency.
  • Your contact details.
  • The topic(s) you want to be accredited in i.e. housing and/or welfare benefits and/or money and debt.
  • Confirm that you have completed a Self Assessment and Application Form against the Organisational Standards (as outlined in Step 2).
  • Confirm your agency has achieved the required score (75%) at peer review.

Step 13 - Scottish Government forwards application

The Scottish Government will then send your details to us.

Step 14 - auditor arranges visit

Our auditor will contact your agency as soon as possible after receiving the information from the Scottish Government and agree a date for an audit visit (or desktop review for CABx).  The auditor will also explain what information you will need to provide and when.

Step 15 - submit your self assessment and application form

Submit your SNSIAP Self Assessment and Application Form (and all supporting documents) and your Moderation Committee decision letter on Nextcloud, to the auditor a minimum of four weeks before the audit visit (or desktop review for CABx) takes place.

Step 16 - audit visit takes place

The audit visit will then take place on the agreed date. For more information on what to expect from this click here.

Step 17 - draft audit report

A draft audit report will be sent to your agency for comment after the visit or CAB desktop review, after you have provided all further information requested by the auditor as per agreed timescales.

Final decision

Step 18 - report goes to the Scottish Government

We will send the finalised report to the Scottish Government with a recommendation regarding accreditation.

Step 19 - accreditation decision made

The Scottish Government will let you know the outcome of your application for accreditation.