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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
4. Money and Welfare Benefit Related Advice Competences - Specialist Areas

199 page PDF

1.4MB

4. Money and Welfare Benefit Related Advice Competences - Specialist Areas

The following competences cover the particular areas of law governing welfare rights, income maximisation and debts in Scotland.

4.1 Means-Tested Benefits

Adviser Competence

Advises and advocates effectively about means-tested benefits (Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit). (For Housing and Council Tax Benefit, see Housing Specific Competence 3.3.) This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Provides information based on the following knowledge, recognises key principles and knows when and where to seek further help
  • Knows common eligibility criteria for these benefits
  • Knows main principles about assessment of capital, income, earnings, notional capital and income and disregards
  • Knows basic rules about housing costs for Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and Pension Credit
  • Knows concepts such as membership of household, couples, Civil Partnership, temporary absence, Applicable/Appropriate Amount and the effect of changes of circumstances
  • Knows how to calculate Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and Pension Credit using a paper calculation sheet or computer software
  • Knows which debts can be repaid by deductions (Third Party Payments and Social Fund loans)
  • Knows the interaction with other benefits

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put the above arguments succinctly and persuasively

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Knows the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about means-tested benefits. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.2 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit 1

Adviser Competence

Advises and advocates effectively about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has a basic understanding of means-tested benefits and the relationship with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and is able to explain these to clients
  • Has a basic understanding of eligibility rules and how to make a claim
  • Has a basic understanding of rules relating to backdating "good cause" and overpayments
  • Has an understanding of what eligible housing costs are, the relationship to different types of tenure/tenancy, non-dependant deductions and the ability to explain them to users
  • Has a basic knowledge of Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Has a basic knowledge of local authority duties, policies and appeal/decision-making procedures
  • Has a basic knowledge and understanding of local rent levels and who is eligible for local housing allowance
  • Can identify if the client is vulnerable and able to get Local Housing Allowance to be paid to landlord
  • Has a basic knowledge of the disputes and appeals system including timescales relating to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
  • Knows how to calculate Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit using a paper calculation sheet or computer software, can explain entitlement to clients and keep a copy on file

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Is able to negotiate with relevant benefit officers to try to secure prompt and accurate payments of benefits due
  • Has a detailed understanding of eligibility rules for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and how to make a claim, this includes information requirements and timescales to submit
  • Has a detailed understanding of rules relating to backdating "good cause " and overpayments including recovery and official error
  • Is able to outline eligibility rules for Local Housing Allowance and calculate entitlement
  • Has knowledge of other benefits and passporting implications
  • Has knowledge of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman service and procedures
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic ( e.g. DWP Housing Benefit Manual) and is be able to respond to clients
  • Has a detailed knowledge and understanding of local rent levels and who is eligible for local housing allowance
  • Can identify vulnerability for Local Housing Allowance to be paid to landlord and can assist with form completion
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to LAs which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Has good understanding of exclusion of entitlement due to immigration status, rules applying to EU, A8 and A2 nationals. Has a good understanding of habitual residence test and impact on entitlement
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law
  • Has a detailed knowledge of the disputes and appeals system including timescales

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has a good knowledge of local authority reconsideration appeals and complaints procedures, including complaints ot the Ombudsman
  • Drafts submissions to Tribunals which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before Tribunals (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Knows the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.3 Tax Credits

Adviser Competence

Advises and advocates effectively about Tax Credits. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the basic eligibility criteria and basic income assessment rules for Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
  • Has basic knowledge about the effect of changes of circumstances and childcare costs
  • Has basic knowledge of overpayments, how they arise and how to respond
  • Provides advice about when penalties may arise
  • Knows how to calculate tax credits using a paper calculation sheet or computer software

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Negotiates about penalties and appeals
  • Seeks exercise of discretion in overpayment cases
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Has an understanding of the code of practice
  • Drafts letters to HMRC which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has a good knowledge of appeals and complaints procedures
  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Knows the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate about Tax Credits. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has details of HMRC adviser help lines
  • Has arrangements for liaising and negotiating with HMRC
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Types II and III

As For Type I plus:

  • Provides access to accountants and lawyers who are skilled and knowledgeable about tax credits

4.4 The Social Fund

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about Social Fund payments. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the main differences between regulated and discretionary Social Fund payments
  • Knows the broad eligibility criteria for payments from the Social Fund
  • Knows items excluded from Social Fund Payments
  • Explains the advantages and disadvantages of Social Fund loans and grants
  • Helps clients to apply for Social Fund payments
  • Helps clients to apply for rescheduling of loans or waiver of recovery
  • With advice, support and supervision helps clients seek reviews of decisions on the discretionary Social Fund

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Helps clients to seek second stage reviews of discretionary payments
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to DWP and Independent Review Service which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has a good knowledge of appeals and complaints procedures
  • Drafts submissions to Independent Review Service, The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Knows the key links with other areas of law
  • Identifies when Judicial Review may be an option and makes an informed referral to a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about Social Fund payments. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.5 The Impact of Work on Benefits

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about the impact of work on benefits and tax credits. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows that work and changes in work can affect benefits and tax credits
  • Is aware of the rules about working while in receipt of benefits
  • Knows the broad eligibility criteria for the Jobcentre Plus Advisers Discretionary Fund, Access to Work Scheme, Job Grant and other DWP welfare to work funds and helps clients to access these
  • Knows the broad eligibility criteria for Return to Work initiatives such as extended benefit, linking periods and Employment on Trial
  • Is aware of the Permitted Work rules for incapacity benefits

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Does better off calculations for clients wishing to take-up or change work/earnings using either suitable computer based calculation packages or paper systems and is able to explain/advise person accordingly
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Understands the impact of sanctions where there is failure to comply with agreed arrangements
  • Drafts letters to DWP/ LAs which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise accurately about "better off" issues. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Provides or facilitates training and support to undertake better off calculations
  • Provides adequate access to either computer benefits calculation packages or paper calculation sheets
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.6 Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Identifies most situations when someone is entitled to Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance
  • Identifies special cases ( e.g. shared care, school leavers and children in public care) and refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Helps people to claim successfully

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good knowledge of the rules of entitlement, including shared care/changes in care/absence of parent, school leavers, and the position of children in public care
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to HMRC which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Knows the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.7 State Retirement Pension

Adviser Competence

Provide competent advice and advocacy about Retirement Pension ( RP). This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows how to obtain a Retirement Pension forecast
  • Knows broad eligibility criteria for Retirement Pension
  • Helps people to obtain forecasts and claim successfully

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Knows the effect of deferring RP and can research the advantages and disadvantages for individual clients
  • Has a broad knowledge about entitlement to Additional State Pension
  • Has a good knowledge of the rules of entitlement (including entitlement of carers, spouses, divorced people, people with incomplete National Insurance Contribution records and the different categories of Retirement Pension)
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for older people. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.8 Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance ( DLA/ AA). This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has a general knowledge of the main rules of entitlement to DLA/ AA and has a basic understanding of special rules, age rules and qualifying periods
  • Knows the effect of DLA/ AA on other benefits
  • Helps people to claim successfully and with advice, support and supervision, include relevant helpful evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Helps clients make complaints about inappropriate medical examinations
  • Knows when to seek advice or refer to a Type II or III adviser

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Knows how to seek a revision or supersession to vary rate of DLA/ AA and advises clients about risks
  • Knows how to gather and present detailed, relevant evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Understands the impact entering residential care or hospital will have on Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Type II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people with a disability. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Provides access to medical reference materials ( e.g. by Internet, medical dictionary)
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.9 Benefits for People who are Incapable of Work or have Limited Capacity for Work

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits for people who are incapable of work or have limited capacity for work. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has a general knowledge of the main rules of entitlement to benefits for people who are incapable of work or have limited capacity for work
  • Has a general knowledge of Statutory Sick Pay
  • Knows the common exceptions to the Personal Capability Assessment, and Work Capability Assessment
  • Knows the broad outline of incapacity for work assessment
  • Can identify the Personal Capability Assessment descriptors in a textbook
  • Knows the broad outline of the Work Capability Assessment
  • Knows the broad outline of the Support Group
  • Can identify descriptors in a textbook for the Limited Capability for Work Test, and Limited Capability for Work Related Activity Test
  • Helps clients to complete medical questionnaires
  • Helps people to claim successfully and with advice, support and supervision, include relevant helpful evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Helps brief clients who are to attend a medical examination
  • Helps clients make complaints about inappropriate medical examinations
  • Submits standard letters of appeal

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement including the personal capability assessment/work capability assessment/work focused health related assessment and exemptions/deeming, linking rules, SSP payment problems, SDA entitlement and IB in Youth
  • Knows how to gather and present detailed, relevant evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people who are incapable of work or have limited capacity for work. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Provides access to medical reference materials ( e.g. by Internet, medical dictionary)
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.10 Benefits for Work Related Illnesses and Disabilities

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits for people whose illness or disability is related to employment. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has a general knowledge of the main rules of entitlement to Disablement Benefit and associated benefits
  • Establishes origins of disability/illness with clients in order to check possible entitlement
  • Knows the broad outline of disability assessment
  • Can identify the prescribed degrees of disablement and prescribed industrial diseases in a textbook
  • Helps clients to complete medical questionnaires
  • Helps people to claim successfully and with advice, support and supervision, include relevant helpful evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Helps brief clients who are to attend a medical examination
  • Helps clients make complaints about inappropriate medical examinations
  • Submits standard letters of appeal

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement including the employed earner definitions and the connection with work
  • Knows the impact of aggregated assessments on benefit entitlement
  • Knows how to gather and present detailed, relevant evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people whose illness or disability is related to employment. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Provides access to medical reference materials ( e.g. by Internet, medical dictionary)
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.11 Benefits for Veterans

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits for people whose illness or disability is related to service in the armed forces. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the main differences between the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and War Pensions
  • Has a general knowledge of the main rules of entitlement to disablement benefits for veterans
  • Knows about local rules on treatment of income for Housing and Council Tax Benefits
  • Establishes origins of disability/illness with clients in order to check possible entitlement
  • Knows the broad outline of disability assessment
  • Helps clients to complete medical questionnaires
  • Helps people to claim successfully and with advice, support and supervision, include relevant helpful evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Helps brief clients who are to attend a medical examination
  • Helps clients make complaints about inappropriate medical examinations
  • Submits standard letters of appeal

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement to disablement benefits including the rules about connections with service and time limits
  • Knows how to gather and present detailed, relevant evidence and helps clients to obtain evidence
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the Veterans Agency which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people whose illness or disability is related to service in the armed forces. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Provides access to medical reference materials ( e.g. by Internet, medical dictionary)
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.12 Carers Allowance

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about Carers Allowance. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the broad eligibility criteria of Carers Allowance, including hours spent caring and qualifying benefits
  • Understands the rules of "underlying entitlement" to Carers Allowance
  • Knows the impact of earnings on Carers Allowance
  • Knows the most common exclusions from entitlement
  • Identifies common situations where claiming Carers Allowance may negatively affect other people
  • Helps people to claim with advice, support and supervision

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement to Carers Allowance
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about Carers Allowance. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.13 Jobseeker's Allowance

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits for people who are unemployed. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Understands the broad eligibility criteria of benefits for people who are unemployed. In particular
  • Identifies special cases (for example, sanctions, young people aged 16 or 17)
  • Aware of alternative benefit options and Better Off in Work Calculations
  • Understands the Jobseekers Agreement and is aware of sanctions should there be failure to comply with this
  • Is aware of return to work initiatives such as Travel to Interview Scheme, New Deal, Extended Benefits, Job Grant, Mortgage Interest Run On, and Advisers Discretionary Fund
  • Helps people to claim successfully and advises how to present personal circumstances effectively to the DWP

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance, including sanctions and refusals
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Submits standard letters of appeal in cases involving sanctions or refusal of benefit
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about Jobseeker's Allowance. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given
  • Has access to information about welfare to work schemes aimed at people who are unemployed (including any relevant local schemes or pilots)

4.14 Benefits for Maternity, Paternity and Adoption

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits for maternity, paternity and adoption. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the broad eligibility criteria of benefits for maternity, paternity and adoption
  • Has broad knowledge to identify clients who are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Can identify problems or non-payment by employers and make referrals to a Type II or III adviser
  • Has broad knowledge of the relationships between different maternity benefits
  • Helps people to claim successfully and to notify their employer

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement to benefits for maternity, paternity and adoption including qualifying dates and excluded groups
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law
  • Knows the relationship with employment, discrimination, human rights and European law and makes informed referrals to Type III advisers

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people who are unemployed. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.15 Bereavement Benefits

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits for people who have been bereaved. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the broad eligibility criteria of bereavement benefits including marriage and civil partnership requirements
  • Knows that there may be implications because of Scots law about common law marriage, invalid, disputed and uncertain marriages and refers to a Type III adviser
  • Helps people to claim successfully

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the rules of entitlement to bereavement benefits including the implications of the living together rules, special cases such as work related deaths
  • Refers to lawyers who are skilled and experienced in family law in cases involving void, disputed or uncertain marriages
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about bereavement benefits. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has details of death registration services
  • Contact details for relevant local law practitioners
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.16 Benefits for People in Public Care

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about the implications of public care on benefits and tax credits. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows that public care may have implications for benefit entitlement
  • Helps people to claim and present their circumstances accurately
  • Knows how capital will be treated by Local Authorities and DWP when a person enters residential care

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Advises about the key benefit issues which arise when people are in public care including the effect of hospital admissions, the effect of accommodation provided by a local authority using The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 local authority residential care provision/funding on benefits and
  • the effect of benefits for prisoner - has a knowledge of the impact on benefits on remand, when sentenced and on release
  • Advises about the key benefit issues which arise when people are in public care including the effect of hospital admissions and/or residential accommodation provided by a local authority using The Community Care (Residential Accommodation) Act 1998, National Assistance (Assessment and Resources) Regulations 1992 and The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990
  • Has a good understanding of the effect of public care on benefits, including Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Child Benefit
  • Has a good understanding of Kinship Carers Payments and their potential impact on benefit entitlement
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people who are in public care. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Provides access to relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.17 Benefits for Students

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefits and tax credits for students. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows the broad eligibility of students who are eligible for benefits
  • Identifies special groups (for example, people on Jobseeker's Allowance studying part-time, young people estranged or living away from parents/carers, students with a disability) and seeks advice or refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Knows that there are other sources of funding, for example, Education Maintenance Allowance, Discretionary Support Funds, and Access to Learning Funds
  • Helps people to claim and present their circumstances effectively

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the benefit entitlement of students
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to the DWP and educational institutions which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for students. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Provides access to relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.18 Benefits for People from Abroad and/or who are Subject to Immigration Control

Adviser Competence

Provides competent advice and advocacy about benefit and tax credit entitlement for people from abroad and/or who are subject to immigration control. This includes evidence of the following:

Note: this competence does not include advice about immigration law or immigration status. To advise in these areas, advice agencies will normally have to be registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner

For Type I

  • Knows that clients' immigration status or recent arrival from abroad may have implications for benefit and tax credit entitlement and refers to a Type II or III adviser

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the benefit entitlement of people from abroad (for example, the effect of a claim on immigration status, people excluded from benefits and the right to reside and habitual residence tests)
  • Has a good understanding of the status to access public funds
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Drafts letters to DWP which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions to The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (see Generic Competence 1.8)
  • Has a working knowledge of the legislation and case law
  • Knows how to research Reciprocal Agreements and EU law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about benefits for people from abroad and/or who are subject to immigration control. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has details of immigration advisers
  • Provides access to relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.19 Ancillary Benefits

Adviser Competence

Provides advice and advocacy about ancillary benefits such as those available to help with education, health costs, child support and concessions. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows general entitlement to Education Maintenance Allowances, free school meals, grants for school clothing, help with other education related costs for children and young people and help towards health costs. Knows relevant local variations, concessions and the groups which are passported to entitlement
  • Helps clients to apply
  • Knows that Social Work Departments have duties and powers to make financial payments to certain people
  • Refers to specialist advisers in cases such as non payment of earnings, non-payment of National Minimum Wage, problems with Income Tax

For Types II and III

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the eligibility for ancillary benefits
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic in order to be able to respond to clients
  • Drafts letters to other agencies which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about ancillary benefits. This includes evidence of the following:

  • If a local advice service, has details of local arrangements, concessions, etc
  • Provides access to relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.20 Financial Statements

Adviser Competence

Prepares accurate Financial Statements with clients. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Lists income and expenditure (based on information from clients) and explains purpose for doing so
  • Where proof of income or expenditure has been verified, records verification in forms supplied by agency

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Accurately identifies and verifies current income, equity (where possible and noting source), assets, expenditure and liability for debts. Identifies and records information regarding secured lending. Records verification of client's details in accordance with agency policy
  • Uses standard agency forms to prepare a financial statement commensurate with agency policy or, for example, using the British Bankers Association and Money Advice Trust partner agencies income and expenditure form (Common Financial Statement). Ensures copy of statement is retained by agency
  • Makes realistic allowances for exceptional or variable expenditure ("unbudgeted" expenditure)
  • Satisfactorily and credibly explains any controversial or exceptional expenditure
  • Averages variable income in a realistic and reasonable way with an accompanying explanation
  • Does not include current credit repayments in expenditure, unless these are of an essential nature, e.g. hire purchase payments for a car needed to travel for employment or payment to a catalogue for clothing where a client lives in a remote, rural area. Provides explanation of inclusion of these items when compiling expenditure figures

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to complete accurate financial statements. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given
  • Has paper and/or computerised standard Financial Statements
  • Has access to data on reasonable expenditure by different households
  • Has operational guidance and/or policy on completing Financial Statements and recording of verification of documentation provided by the client
  • Holds appropriate licence under Consumer Credit legislation

4.21 Liability for Debts, Extortionate Credit, Unfair Contract Terms, Unenforceable Debts, Creditor Malpractice, Codes of Practice, etc

Adviser Competence

Able to advise and advocate about enforceability of debts, creditor malpractice and relevant Codes of Practice/Guidance to protect debtor. Where necessary, make appropriate referrals in relation to these issues. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Understands that a debt may not be enforceable because of various points of law
  • Refers any such cases to a Type II or III adviser

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good general knowledge of the legal principles about enforceability issues including jurisdiction being outside Scotland, unfair, unclear or fraudulent/misrepresented contract terms, third party liability, unfair relationships, prescription and limitation, unlicensed lending, failure to comply with requirements of consumer credit legislation or codes of practice/guidance
  • Recognises possible cases of malpractice by debt collectors and/or creditors including possible criminal offences and refers to appropriate Ombudsman/enforcement/investigatory bodies (including DTI Loansharks pilot)
  • Ensures that these points are checked at initial interview before further action is taken to assist debtor
  • With advice and support, accurately identifies cases where a defence to court action or diligence might arise using the above points of law
  • Accurately explains the legal position about unlicensed lending and refers suspected cases to the relevant Trading Standards service. Accurately advises clients about the legal and practical consequences of unlicensed lending
  • With advice and support accurately identifies cases where government and creditors' Codes of Practice/Guidance ( e.g.OFT Guidance on Debt Collection) may have been breached and assists clients to use these in any complaint or litigation
  • With advice and support, accurately identifies credit agreements which are unenforceable (or which are only enforceable with leave of a Court) because they do not comply with the requirements of consumer credit legislation
  • With advice and support, accurately identifies cases where possible prescription limitation, jurisdiction, misrepresentation, unclear or unfair terms may apply and knows when to refer to a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable about such matters

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Drafts submissions for litigation which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Has a working knowledge of the relevant legislation and case law
  • Understands the key links with other areas of law
  • Knows when to refer to lawyers who are knowledgeable and experienced in the relevant area of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently on liability, etc, issues. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has effective links with Trading Standards, police, regulatory and trade bodies, etc in order to seek specialist advice and to make effective referrals
  • Has up to date lists of specialist and legal advisers
  • Has copies of current Codes of Practice/Guidance/legislation
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.22 Identifying and Agreeing Options in Debt Cases

Adviser Competence

Uses all relevant information provided by the client to identify viable options. Ensures that options are given to the client in a manner that enables the client to make an informed choice. Records all factors impacting on the client's choice of option and any barriers to the client's successful implementation of their chosen option.

For Type I

  • Has knowledge of various debt management options available to clients and refers any such cases to a Type II adviser

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information so that options can be identified and explained fully, clearly and objectively to clients
  • Can accurately identify the implications for clients of options and explains these to the client in a manner that enables the client to understand these. Makes clear notes of these discussions
  • Accurately identifies cases where repayment plans (token or pro-rata), write-offs, payment moratoria, Third Party Payments from benefits, Debt Payment Programmes ( DPP 2 ), bankruptcy (including the Low Income Low Assets route), sale of property and other options, may be of assistance to clients. Is able to identify where the client should be advised to seek independent financial advice in relation to e.g. re-mortgage of property
  • Refers any possible DPP cases to an Approved Money Adviser (Note: Applications for a DPP must be made by an adviser who is approved to do so and who meets the relevant statutory requirements as set out in the MATRICS Code of Practice)
  • Records the outcome of the discussion regarding options open to the client and the rationale for the choice of option by the client. Agrees the actions needed to implement the choice of option

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to identify and discuss options with clients. Ensures that clear records are kept detailing the discussions between adviser and client and the outcome of these discussions. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I and II

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the type of advice being given
  • Has access to written information for clients about options
  • Provides template to enable advisers to record options discussed and the rationale for the choice of option
  • Has contact details of Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator and MATRICS

4.23 Negotiating and Making Offers to Creditors

Adviser Competence

Accurately prioritises debts and undertakes effective negotiations with creditors making offers to repay. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Refers to a Type II or III adviser (some Type I advisers may be able to undertake Type II activities with advice, support and supervision while being competent to do Type I work elsewhere)

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Uses financial statement to make payment offers to priority creditors based on available income and/or minimum payments terms
  • Accurately assesses any available income for paying non-priority debts
  • Uses financial statement to make payment offers (including write off requests, payment moratoria and token payments) to non-priority creditors based on available income and the option chosen by the client
  • Has a good understanding of which debts can be repaid by deductions from benefits
  • During negotiations, demonstrates an understanding of legal options in order to reinforce negotiating stance
  • Has working knowledge of payments distribution systems
  • Refers to a more skilled adviser if creditors do not accept initial offers

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Applies these competences for and during Court proceedings ( e.g. presents repayment offers in undefended claims in Sheriff Court if permitted to represent)

Note: Some Type III activities may only be done by lawyers

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to prioritise and make offers. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has liaison arrangements with Sheriff Court
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice, advocacy and representation
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.24 Diligence, Diligence Stoppers and Court Proceedings

Adviser Competence

Understands the options for diligence and remedies to protect clients. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Accurately identifies any court procedures and diligence which is currently being used by a creditor
  • Accurately identifies the common court forms used in debt cases
  • Assists client to respond to admitted claims in Court
  • With advice, support and supervision helps clients to apply for sisting of action

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Identifies the various forms of diligence which are available to creditors
  • Helps clients to apply for sisting of Court action
  • Assists clients to prepare a defence in cases of creditors' action in courts that do not have jurisdiction to hear the case
  • Has good working knowledge of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgements Act 1982
  • Helps clients complete and register an Intimation of Intent to Apply for a Debt Payment Programme to present to the court, to allow the client and adviser time to formulate a suitable course of action to deal with client's situation

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Assists clients to make applications including recall of attachment, restriction of arrestment, release or redemption of attached goods, recall or review of an earnings arrestment, responding to a possible or actual conjoined arrestment order, application for Time to Pay Direction or Orders or Time Orders as appropriate, redeem of attached articles, applications in respect of jointly owned goods, buy-back of attached goods at appraised value
  • Assists clients to deal with applications under The Arrestment Jurisdiction (Scotland) Order 2009
  • Assists clients to respond to Exceptional Attachment Orders including ensuring that Sheriff Officers have followed correct steps and accurately identified protected goods
  • Advises clients how to respond to a creditor's application for an Inhibition
  • Applies the above remedies in Court, where this is permitted
  • Knows rules and practices about representation in Court
  • Knows when to refer to lawyers who are knowledgeable and experienced in the relevant area of law

Note: Some Type III activities may only be done by lawyers

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to understand diligences and respond to diligence to protect debtor. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has liaison arrangements with Sheriff Court
  • Has lists of specialist legal advisers
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.25 Bankruptcy and Trust Deeds

Adviser Competence

Accurately identifies cases which are suitable for bankruptcy action, to advise and advocate in cases where there is a creditor's petition/warrant to cite in bankruptcy and to assist with Trust Deeds. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Demonstrates a basic knowledge of bankruptcy and when it may apply to debtors and refers to a Type II or III adviser

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Understands the consequences of rent arrears being included in bankruptcy and the effect after discharge.
  • Identifies when bankruptcy and Trust Deeds may be appropriate and fully explains the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Explores alternatives to bankruptcy
  • Knows the financial implications of particular courses of action and explains these to clients
  • With client's informed agreement and with advice, support and supervision, prepares a Debtor's Petition for Bankruptcy if appropriate and takes account of requirements of The Bankruptcy (Certificate for Sequestration)(Scotland )Regulation 2010 when implemented
  • Identifies where the client may be able to petition for bankruptcy using the Low Income, Low Assets route

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Identifies the grounds for and assists a client to respond to a creditor's petition/Warrant to Cite in bankruptcy and a Statutory Demand
  • Provides second tier advice to other advisers on this subject
  • Provides advice and guidance on the consequences of failed Trust Deeds
  • Knows rules and practices about representation in Court
  • Knows when to refer to lawyers who are knowledgeable and experienced in the relevant area of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to understand sequestration and related matters and to provide accurate and well-informed advice and help. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given
  • Has stocks of relevant forms and commonly used standard paperwork
  • Has contact details for Accountant in Bankruptcy and insolvency practitioners

4.26 Recalls and Appeals against Court Decrees and Orders

Adviser Competence

Assists clients with appeals, minutes of recall and other applications in Court. This includes evidence of the following:

Type I

  • Understands that there may be ways of responding to Court Orders and refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Can recognise commonly used Court forms

Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Advises clients on the options and possible outcomes in respect of the following applications to Court: recall of decree, dismissal, continuation, sisting
  • Advises clients about the implications of different Court orders
  • Identifies possible grounds for appeal and refers to a Type III adviser or lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area of law

Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Where granted rights of audience, and according to local practice, demonstrates an ability to act on behalf of a client, either by personal or written representation in Court
  • Seeks a second opinion in cases of possible appeal
  • Refers cases to a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area if the adviser is unable to do this work or lacks expertise

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to understand grounds for appeal and applications in Courts and to provide accurate and well-informed advice and help. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has contact details for relevant Courts
  • Has current, relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given
  • Has lists of specialist legal advisers

4.27 Utility Debts

Adviser Competence

Advises and assists people who have utility debts: gas, electricity, fixed line telephone. Is aware of issues relating to fuel poverty and of the assistance available from various suppliers and schemes to assist individuals to make their homes more energy efficient. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knows what actions may be taken by utility creditors against debtors
  • Identifies emergency situations and refers to a Type II adviser
  • Helps debtor to apply for deductions (Third Party Payments) from means-tested benefits and informs the utility, seeking suspension of action
  • Understands fuel poverty and the impact this can have on a household

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Advises clients about their obligations and the protection available under utility supply legislation and industry Codes of Practice
  • Identifies fuel poverty in households and works with the client to try and alleviate this e.g. by accessing suppliers' and government schemes
  • Understands industry regulator complaints and enforcement procedures and makes effective use of these to protect clients
  • Drafts and sends initial letters before legal action and refers to a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area of the law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about utility debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has contact details of the utility industry and regulatory bodies and up to date copies of Codes of Practice
  • Has current, relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given
  • Has lists of specialist legal advisers

4.28 Local and National Tax Debts

Adviser Competence

Provides advice and advocacy to clients about recovery of national and local tax debts (Council Tax, Income Tax). This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Understands in outline the summary warrant procedure and the diligence options for national and local tax debts
  • Knows that local authority procedures and powers vary according to the type of debt
  • Recognises common documents and identifies emergency situations and with advice support and supervision, can give immediate "first aid" advice about options and refer to a Type II or III adviser
  • Refers to a tax adviser or accountant or other specialist adviser to check assessment of Income Tax
  • Knows about Council Tax benefit, discounts, reductions and exemptions and helps clients to apply
  • Helps debtor to apply for deductions (Third Party Payments) from means-tested benefits

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Knows the legal relationship between local authorities and their collecting agents
  • Has a good knowledge of the procedures for summary warrants and diligence options, including the conditions to be met for granting Attachment Orders and Exceptional Attachment Orders
  • Negotiates verbally and in writing with Sheriff Officers and/or local or national taxation officials in order to protect debtor's position, including suspension of action in order to assess the situation
  • Identifies possible legal action and refers to a Type III adviser or lawyer
  • Drafts letters to MSPs, MPs and Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Researches grounds for possible legal action drafts and sends any required letters before legal action and refers clients to a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area of the law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about local and national tax debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has contact details for Sheriff Officers, debt collection agencies, local authority and national tax collection liaison staff and copies of current Codes of Practice
  • Has good links with local Welfare Rights service providers
  • Has lists of specialist advisers
  • Has current, relevant textbooks
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.29 Rent Arrears

Adviser Competence

Advises and assists people who have rent debts. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has an understanding of the main types of housing tenure and an ability to explain these to clients
  • Understands in outline the legal and administrative procedures for rent arrears and evictions
  • Is aware of where Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance and Discretionary Housing Benefit claims may be made and also of backdating rules. Refers case to Type II adviser
  • Has a basic understanding of local landlords' policies and procedures relating to rent arrears and evictions, in particular main social landlords (In particular has an understanding of the consequences of rent arrears being included in bankruptcy and the effect after discharge)
  • Understands the need to respond in terms of section 11 notices under Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003
  • Knows the likely triggers for debt ( e.g. illness, relationship breakdown, unemployment), checks on these sensitively and has knowledge of agencies which may help
  • Is aware of the scope for possible defences against possession actions and existence of procedures for bringing a case back before a court ( e.g. recall of decree)
  • Has a basic knowledge of disrepair and procedures for filing counterclaims in order to refer to a specialist adviser. Has an understanding of rent lawfully due, withholding of rent and abatement procedures
  • Recognises common documents such as a valid Notice to Quit and is able to identify emergency situations and with help from a Type II or III adviser, can give immediate "first aid" advice about options and refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Helps debtor to apply for deductions ("Third Party Payments") from means tested benefits
  • Identify if client is vulnerable and able to get Local Housing Allowance paid direct to Landlord to prevent arrears

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the legal procedures for rent debts by type of residential tenancy e.g. Summary Cause Rules
  • Has a good knowledge of policies and procedures used by main local social landlords
  • Understands the consequences of rent arrears being included in bankruptcy and the effect after discharge and can liaise with landlord if seeking repayment
  • Has knowledge of historic debt or prescription
  • Has a good knowledge of relevant matters for rent arrears in the private rented sector and significance of amount owed
  • Assists the client apply for Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance/Discretionary Housing Benefit. Assists client with "good cause" backdate
  • Understands the need to respond in terms of section 11 notices under Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003 see also Housing Specific Competence 2.10 Homelessness in particular prevention)
  • Contacts landlord to seek emergency action or suspension of eviction (see also Housing Specific Competence 2.7, Eviction).
  • Has good knowledge of, the scope for possible defences against possession actions and existence of procedures for bringing a case back before a court ( e.g. recall of decree), and when to refer to a Type 111 adviser

Type III

As For Type I and II plus

  • Is able to implement prevention procedures.
  • Negotiates verbally and in writing with landlord to protect clients' position and make repayment offers
  • Identifies common legal defences or counterclaims and briefs a solicitor (or where the option is permitted, a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Identifies possible issues for counterclaim ( e.g. disrepair) (see also Housing Specific Competence 2.4, Disrepair in Rented Housing) and refers to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted, to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Identifies appropriate strategies and actions to prevent homelessness and stabilise tenancies across sectors. Understands the potential of housing Support to achieve positive outcomes for clients

Note: Where possible, clients facing eviction should be referred to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted, to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area at as early a stage as possible

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about rent debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has leaflets and reference books or electronic resources on security of tenure and Court procedures
  • Has information about possession procedures, preferably in a format which can be copied or given to clients
  • If agency does not provide housing or benefits advice and assistance, has contact details in order to make appropriate referrals ( e.g. solicitors, law centres and incourt advisers)
  • Has contact details for Sheriff Officers, local registered social landlords and major local private landlords and copies of current Codes of Practice and rent arrears policies
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.30 Mortgages and Secured Loans

Note: The correct term in Scotland is secured loan. However the term mortgage is widely used and has entered statute via the Mortgage Rights (Scotland ) Act 2001. The terms mortgage and secured loan are used interchangeably in this section

Adviser Competence

Advises and assists people who have mortgage/secured loan debts. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has an understanding of the different types of mortgage/secured loan and an ability to explain these to clients
  • Identifies where the client may be eligible to apply for benefits to help with their housing costs and assists the client to apply for this
  • Knows the likely triggers for debt ( e.g. illness, relationship breakdown, unemployment), checks on these sensitively and has knowledge of agencies which may help
  • Understands in outline the procedures for mortgage/secured loan arrears and ejections
  • Has an understanding of potential assistance that the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 can give to Home Owners and Entitled Residents in the context of actions to recovery possession, sequestration and trust deeds.
  • Recognises common documents and identifies emergency situations and with help from a Type II or III adviser, can give immediate "first aid" advice about options and refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Helps debtor to apply for deductions (Third Party Payments) from means-tested benefits
  • Basic understanding of Home Owners Support Fund (Mortgage to Rent Scheme and Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme implemented in March 2009) In addition have basic understanding of the Homeowners Mortgage Support a UK wide scheme

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Knows in outline the procedures and Codes of Practice for mortgage/secured loan arrears and ejections
  • Knows in detail the appropriate use of Part 1 and Part 2 of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010.
  • Knows in detail the eligibility criteria in terms of Home Owners Support Fund (Mortgage to Rent Scheme and Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme implemented in March 2009) In addition have detailed understanding of the eligibility criteria Homeowners Mortgage Support a UK wide scheme
  • Contacts lenders to seek emergency action or suspension of ejection understanding summary application procedure relating to recall of decree and conditions relevant to recall
  • Understands the need to respond in terms of section 11 notices under Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003 and recognise the extension of this duty to Trustees in Bankruptcy and Trust Deeds)
  • Knows in outline arrangements for regulating mortgages/secured loans. Negotiates verbally and in writing with lenders in order to protect client's position and make repayment offers (and in accordance with Money/Welfare Related Advice Competences, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23)
  • Identifies appropriate strategies for dealing with mortgage/secured loan possession
  • Has a good understanding of the legal aid system financial eligibility criteria

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the consumer credit legislation and unfair contract terms defences to secured loans and small mortgages including prescription/limitations and inhibition
  • Identifies possible defences such as undue duress
  • Has a good understanding of procedures used by main lenders
  • Has detailed knowledge of the potential assistance that the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 can give to Home Owners and Entitled Residents in the context of actions to recovery possession, sequestration and trust deeds
  • Has detailed knowledge of the procedure for a creditor to seek remedies on default, understand the potential defences in such actions
  • Has detailed knowledge of pre action requirements on creditors in terms of relevant actions
  • Has detailed knowledge of the conditions and procedure for recall of decree
  • Identifies possible legal defences and refers to a solicitor or where the option is permitted to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative internally within their service or externally who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Identifies possible legal defences and refers to a solicitor or where the option is permitted to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative internally within their service or externally who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area (see agency competence below)
  • Approved lay representative must comply with all the requirements of the Home Owners and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, all subsequent regulations and codes of guidance.
  • Knows in detail the eligibility criteria in terms of Home Owners Support Fund (Mortgage to Rent Scheme and Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme implemented in March 2009) In addition have detailed understanding of the eligibility criteria Homeowners Mortgage Support a UK wide scheme. If approved under the scheme where appropriate assist with application if not approved refer to an approved provider in the context of the scheme
  • Has a good understanding of the legal aid system financial eligibility criteria

Note: Where possible, clients facing ejection should be referred to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area at as early a stage as possible

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about mortgage/secured loan debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has information about mortgages/secured loans, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about possession procedures, preferably in a format which can be copied or given to clients
  • Approving Agencies authorising lay representative must comply with all the requirements of the Home Owners and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, all subsequent regulations and codes of guidance
  • Approving Agencies must ensure that approved lay representatives are skilled and able to satisfy Sheriffs that the adviser is competent to represent the interests of the debtor or entitled person as an approved lay representative within the limitations of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010
  • Has information about priority creditors, their Codes of Practice and their legal responsibilities and a system for updating these
  • Has contact details for Sheriff Officers, common lenders and copies of current Codes of Practice
  • Agency has good professional relationship with the Sherriff Clerks office/offices
  • Agency has access to all the relevant and up to date rules of the Court
  • Has list of specialist legal advisers and knowledge of the legal aid system
  • Has good links with housing and welfare rights advice providers
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.31 Civil and Criminal Fines and other Financial Penalties

Adviser Competence

Advises and assists people who are in arrears with payment towards fines and other financial penalties. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Recognises such debts as priority debts
  • Knows what action may be taken against clients for non-payment
  • Identifies emergency situations and refers to a Type II or III adviser

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has a broad understanding of which fines or financial penalties may be appealed and refers to lawyers who are skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Helps clients to apply for variation of payment terms
  • Helps clients to apply for criminal fines to be remitted
  • Negotiates verbally and in writing with Sheriff Officers and/or Court officials in order to protect debtor's position where appropriate
  • Identifies possible legal action and refers to a Type III adviser
  • Drafts letters to MSPs, MPs and Scottish Public Services Ombudsman where appropriate

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Researches grounds for possible legal action and refers to a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area of the law
  • Assists clients to apply for variation of payment terms or remission of criminal fines

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about fines and financial penalty debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has contact details for Court officials
  • Has list of specialist legal advisers
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

4.32 Business Debts

Adviser Competence

To identify cases involving business debt and make effective and appropriate referrals. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Accurately identifies when debts include a business or trading debt
  • With advice, support and supervision, contacts creditors in emergency to seek suspension of action
  • Refers to an adviser or other specialist who deals with business debts

For Types II and III

As For Type I plus:

  • Informs debtor of the possible options for debt enforcement
  • Contacts creditors in emergency to seek suspension of action
  • Assists business with Non Domestic Rates debts and advises on Government schemes that can provide relief

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to accurately identify business or trading debts and make appropriate and effective referrals. This includes evidence of:

  • Has a list of specialist business advisers
  • Has contact details for Business Debtline

Contact

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