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Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: a quality assurance framework 2009

Published: 8 Oct 2010
Part of:
Law and order
ISBN:
978 0 7559 8143 4

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: a quality assurance framework 2009

199 page PDF

1.4MB

199 page PDF

1.4MB

Contents
Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: a quality assurance framework 2009
5. Standards Around Competence

199 page PDF

1.4MB

5. Standards Around Competence

Services using these Standards must ensure that all staff gain, maintain and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the needs of their service users. The general competency requirements in this section are supplemented by those in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers'.

Standard 5.1

All service providers must have a clear commitment to equal opportunities in employment practice.

The service provider should have policies and procedures that ensure that all of those individuals involved in the planning, management and delivery of the services are not discriminated against on the grounds of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

An equal opportunities policy, in effective operation, that precludes discrimination in the selection, recruitment, and treatment of staff and volunteers. This should include:

  • open recruitment process (whether internal or external) that evaluates the skill, knowledge and experience of those applying for posts against the job description and person specification; and
  • a means of ensuring that all those involved in the planning, management and delivery of the service are aware of this policy and its procedures.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 5.2

All service providers must ensure that they have systems to identify the skills and knowledge required to meet users' needs and the procedures to match these requirements with staff and volunteers delivering the service.

Service users and funders should be confident that the service has mechanisms to ensure that the skills and knowledge required are available and being properly applied.

Indicators for Type I

  • Systems that document the skills, knowledge or experience required by those delivering the service and the tasks they are required to perform (usually in the form of job descriptions and person specifications);
  • Procedures which can ensure that the work undertaken by the post holder is within their capacity and competence; and
  • Processes for ensuring that those delivering the service are briefed in any relevant changes to legislation, regulation, and so on, relevant to their area of service.

* CAS Membership Conditions, IIP

Indicators for Type II and Type III

  • Systems that document the skills, knowledge or experience required by those delivering the service and the tasks they are required to perform (usually in the form of job descriptions and person specifications);
  • Procedures which can ensure that the work undertaken by the post holder is within their capacity and competence;
  • Procedures are in place for advisers to inform their supervisor if the case is beyond their competence; and
  • Processes for ensuring that those delivering the service are briefed in any relevant changes to legislation, regulation, and so on, relevant to their area of service.

* CAS Membership Conditions, IIP

Standard 5.3

All service providers must ensure that those delivering the service are provided with adequate training and development.

Attention needs to be given to staff and volunteers delivering the service to ensure that they gain, maintain and develop the appropriate mix of skills and knowledge to satisfy the needs of service users within the aims of the service. Those using volunteers need to demonstrate that their training programmes recognise special factors in their training plans including higher turnover and different support and supervision needs.

Indicators for Type I

  • Induction procedures;
  • Technical competence, customer care and service policies and procedures should be in place for all paid and unpaid staff joining the service;
  • Systems for review/appraisal on personal performance should be undertaken at least once a year;
  • Training and development plans to support the needs of the service to be produced and reviewed at least annually. These should also detail any special provision made by those services using volunteers;
  • A budget for training to be maintained; and
  • All training to be recorded on training records.

* IIP

Indicators for Type II and Type III

  • Induction procedures, covering technical competence, customer care and service policies and procedures, should be in place for all people joining the service;
  • Systems for review/appraisal on personal performance should be undertaken at least once a year;
  • All advisers with less than 5 years of experience undertake no less than 35 hours of training per year;
  • All advisers with more than 5 years of experience undertake no less than 20 hours of training per year;
  • Training and development plans to support the needs of the service to be produced and reviewed at least annually. These should also detail any special provision made by those services utilising volunteers;
  • A budget for training to be maintained;
  • All training to be recorded on training records; and
  • Adequate contingency plans in the event of new legislation being instituted that affects the areas of advice undertaken by the service.

* IIP

Standard 5.4

All service providers must ensure that all staff involved in delivering the service have core competences before they advise the public.

Service users should be confident that all of those delivering the service have the basic skills and knowledge to provide assistance or to identify where further assistance may be available.

Indicators for Type I

Service providers should ensure that those delivering the service have the following core competences:

  • understand the aims and values of the service in which they are operating;
  • recognise that users of service facing discrimination by virtue of their ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or other circumstances may give rise to special needs;
  • be aware of and able to effectively use the service's information resources;
  • meet the Generic Competences set out in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers' of the Standards;
  • have appropriate knowledge of the subject area as set out in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers' of the Standards;
  • recognise their own limitations in any particular case and be aware of the internal and external sources of assistance that may be available (referral); and
  • be able to effectively operate within the service's case recording system.

Indicators for Type II

Service providers should ensure that those delivering the service have the following core competences:

  • understand the aims and values of the service in which they are operating;
  • recognise that users of service facing discrimination by virtue of their ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or other circumstances may give rise to special needs which should be recognised and addressed;
  • be aware of and able to effectively use the service's information resources;
  • meet the Generic Competences set out in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers' of the Standards;
  • have appropriate knowledge of the subject area as set out in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers' of the Standards;
  • acknowledge the feelings of users of service about their problem and respond appropriately;
  • be able to explore and identify problems and key areas of enquiries;
  • be able to apply this information to the specific problems encountered by the user of service;
  • be able to explain options to users of service and explain the consequences of such choices;
  • be aware of the distinction between what constitutes an individual's rights and what constitutes good advice;
  • be able to take action - for example, drafting correspondence, preparing notes, and so on;
  • recognise their own limitations in any particular case and be aware of the internal and external sources of assistance that may be available (referral); and
  • have the ability to effectively operate within the agency's case recording system.

Indicators for Type III

Service providers should ensure that those delivering the service have the following core competences:

  • understand the aims and values of the service in which they are operating;
  • recognise that users of service facing discrimination by virtue of their ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or other circumstances may give rise to special needs which should be recognised and addressed;
  • meet the Generic Competences set out in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers' of the Standards;
  • have appropriate knowledge of the subject area as set out in ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers' of the Standards;
  • acknowledge the feelings of users of service about their problem and respond appropriately;
  • be able to explore and identify problems and key areas of enquiries;
  • be aware of and able to effectively use the agency's information resources;
  • be able to apply this information to the specific problems encountered by the user of service;
  • be able to explain options to users of service and explain the consequences of such choices;
  • be aware of the distinction between what constitutes an individual's rights and what constitutes good advice;
  • have the ability to take action - for example, drafting correspondence, preparing notes, and so on;
  • have the necessary skills to undertake tribunal, court or other relevant representation, mediation or negotiation activities;
  • recognise their own limitations in any particular case and be aware of the internal and external sources of assistance that may be available (referral); and
  • have the ability to effectively operate within the agency's case recording system.

Standard 5.5

All service providers must ensure that all cases are dealt with by an adviser competent in that area of law.

It is essential that information and advice work is undertaken by someone with the relevant skills and knowledge. Those applying this Standard should make reference to ' Section 2: Competences for Advisers'.

Indicators for Type I

The service must demonstrate that the adviser meets the requirements in Section 3 of these Standards for the relevant area of law.

The service must demonstrate that the adviser, whether paid or unpaid, undertakes information and advice related work no less than three hours per week.

Supervision arrangements should be in place to oversee the work of the adviser.

Indicators for Type II

The service must demonstrate that the adviser meets the requirements in Section 3 of these Standards for the relevant area of law.

The service must demonstrate that the adviser, whether paid or unpaid, undertakes information and advice related work no less than six hours per week.

Supervision arrangements should be in place to oversee the work of the adviser in this area in line with the Standard 5.6.

Indicators for Type III

The service must demonstrate that the adviser meets the requirements in Section 3 of these Standards for the relevant area of law.

The service should demonstrate that the adviser, whether paid or unpaid, undertakes information and advice related work or activities no less than twelve hours per week.

Supervision arrangements should be in place to oversee the work of the adviser in this area in line with the Standard 5.6.

Standard 5.6

All service providers must ensure that all information and advice work is supervised by a suitably qualified individual, either from within or outwith the service.

This Standard links to the standard for File Review (4.6) and aims to ensure that the service maintains overall control of its work. This requires service providers to ensure that advisers have access to another, suitably qualified adviser, not directly involved in the delivery of the service to a particular service user, who can oversee the service, provide guidance and manage the conduct of the case. Small organisations may have to seek supervisors outwith their service.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

The service should demonstrate that the supervising adviser meets the requirements in Section 2 of these Standards for the relevant area of law.

The service should demonstrate that the supervising adviser, for Type I whether paid or unpaid, undertakes information and advice related work no less than six hours per week and for Type II and Type III no less than twelve hours per week.

Standard 5.7

All service providers must ensure that they understand the work of other relevant agencies in their localities.

The provision of quality information and advice is not the sole responsibility of a single service. The quality of service can be greatly enhanced by working with other providers.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

Service providers should ensure that they have adequate mechanisms to share experiences and knowledge with other agencies operating in similar fields. This will be evidenced by attendance at conferences and seminars which should be recorded as part of the service's training record.


Contact

Email: ceu@gov.scot Phone: 0300 244 4000 Post: Central Enquiry Unit
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG