The step-by-step guide below sets out what you have to do to gain Type II/III accreditation. Please email AdviceAudit@slab.org.uk if you are still unsure of what is required in relation to self assessment and audit.

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

Please note, some sections expand by navigating with the small blue dots below boxes

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 - Sharing client data and client consent

To collect, process, store or share personal information for the purpose of applying for SNSIAP accreditation, you must comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations 2016 (GDPR).

Most (but not all) agencies will be required to obtain consent from clients that their case-files can be shared with third parties for the purposes of quality assurance. We can only peer review cases from these agencies that have this specific client consent. Other agencies may be able to rely on a different legal basis under GDPR for sharing their client case-files and further information about this is available on the ICO website.

You can only share your client case-files with SLAB and peer reviewers if you take steps to comply with the requirements of the GDPR. Most agencies will do this by asking for their clients’ 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. Go to the Sharing client data and 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 housing and/or welfare benefits 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 (or can be shared for other reasons set out by the GDPR) and meet the definitions of Type II or Type III casework.

Applying for peer review

Step 4 - Apply for peer review

If you are already booked for peer review please go to Step 5.

If not, please email SNSIAP@slab.org.uk

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.

We will also invite you to attend a free seminar at SLAB’s offices in Edinburgh, covering both peer review and audit, and the steps you must complete as you move through the process.

Step 6 - Return your peer review questionnaire

Complete and return your peer review questionnaire (PRQ.)

Once received we will send you an Agency Case Selection Grid (CSG), a Sharefile New User Form (if you are using Sharefile to share your files) and instructions on completing a Data Sharing Agreement (DSA).

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

  • Complete and sign the Data Sharing Agreement
  • Complete and sign the Sharefile New Users Form
  • Complete the Agency Case Selection Grid and sign the Client Consent Declaration

Peer review

Step 8 - Case selection

We will pick 20 cases per topic (Housing, Welfare Benefits, Money/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 20 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 the secure file sharing platform used by SLAB or give the peer reviewers remote access to your files via a case management system such as AdvicePro. 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 12 cases per topic for peer review.

Step 10 - Peer review takes place

The peer reviewers will assess 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 make the final decision on the outcome of an agency’s peer review.

Step 11 - Moderation Committee decision

We will send you the Moderation Committee decision letter and a copy of all the peer review reports written about your agency.

If your agency hasn’t obtained the required compliance score of 75% we will explain what you need to do before you re-apply 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 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 in the following quarter depending on auditor availability.

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 to the file sharing system used by SLAB, to the auditor a minimum of five weeks before the audit visit or desktop review takes place.

Step 16 - Audit visit or desktop review takes place

The audit visit or desktop review 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 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.