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Peer Review was introduced into the accreditation process following consultation with the advice sector. Peer review of case-files takes place before the audit of agencies against the Organisational Standards. An agency must successfully complete peer review before they can proceed to audit and accreditation. If an agency doesn't get through peer review in all the topics it applied for it can re-apply for peer review in the unsuccessful topic(s) at a later date.
The SNSIAP require an agency to show that its advisers have the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver advice to the public. Standard 5.5 requires that all advice agencies must ensure that all their cases are dealt with by an adviser who is competent in a topic (housing, benefits or money/debt).
To a certain extent, an agency can do this through written evidence, such as adviser training records, which can be assessed at the audit stage by the SNSIAP auditor. But the auditor is not in a position to check the accuracy of the advice that has been given to the public – so this is done by peer review.
The information in the peer review report and any action taken in response to recommendations in the reports forms part of the evidence that an agency can include in its Self Assessment and Application Form to show that its advisers are competent to give advice in housing, benefits or money/debt and effective case-checking processes are in place, as required for Organisational Standard 4.6, 5.5 and 5.6.
Agencies will receive a decision letter from the Moderation Committee setting out;
Agencies must submit the decision letter from the Moderation Committee with their application for accreditation.
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