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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
3. Standards of Accessibility and Customer Care

199 page PDF

1.4MB

3. Standards of Accessibility and Customer Care

Services operating to these Standards should be accessible to all members of the community and operate with the highest standards of customer care.

Standard 3.1

All service providers must be committed to providing equity of access to services for all.

A quality service is dependent upon services being available to those members of the community most in need without discrimination either at the point of delivery or in the planning of which services are to be delivered and how those services are to be delivered. This does not preclude providers from identifying particular client groups or ensuring their services are targeted at those in greatest need.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

All service providers should have a clear statement of intent with regard to meeting the needs of all parts of the community including disadvantaged groups and those experiencing discrimination. This should apply except where the aims and objectives clearly define them as a specialist service for a defined sector of the population.

The statement should explain how the service intends to implement this policy and how it intends to measure its effectiveness in meeting this policy.

All of those involved in the planning, management and delivery of the services should be able to explain the service's policy and how this impacts upon their role.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.2

All service providers must have a clear commitment to treat service users with respect and be clear about any expectations of behaviour they have of service users.

Ensuring access to the service and ensuring that the user of services may apply the information or advice given is greatly assisted by a service provider maintaining a level of courtesy to all. This is particularly true in cases where users of services may come to the service provider in considerable distress or may not be able to present themselves in the most favourable light. The courtesy commitment is a two way process and service providers should expect a level of courtesy in return which includes an absence of abusive behaviour which may threaten staff or restrict the access of other service users.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

Services should be able to evidence their commitment to this standard by a written policy that requires all of those involved in the delivery of service, including non-technical staff, such as reception staff, to relate to the public in a courteous and respectful way. Compliance with the service's policy may be evidenced by:

  • a statement of customer care displayed in public spaces (such as reception areas);
  • customer care training for staff;
  • telephone skills training for staff; and
  • diversity training for staff.

Any expectation that the service has of its service users, in particular what may cause the service to be removed, including meeting appointment times, the use of verbal abuse and so on, should be documented and prominently displayed.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.3

All service providers must have procedures to review their premises at least once every three years.

The quality and maintenance of premises play a crucial role in ensuring access to a service. Access in this context means not only physical access, but also people's willingness to use a service because of its location and its appearance. This Standard does not apply to Telephone Helplines.

Indicators for Type I

All information providers should have procedures to review the premises from which the service is delivered (including own offices, outreach and surgery locations) at least once every three years. This should include:

  • physical accessibility for those with physical and sensory impairments; and
  • location to ensure that it is relevant to the service provider's catchment area.

This should be produced as an action plan or strategy paper.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Indicators for Type II and Type III

All advice providers should have procedures to review the premises from which the service is delivered (including own offices, outreach and surgery locations) at least once every three years. This should include:

  • physical accessibility for those with impaired mobility and/or sensory impairments such as hearing or sight impairments;
  • adequacy of resources such as confidential interview rooms; and
  • location to ensure that it is relevant to the agency's catchment area.

This should be produced as an action plan or strategy paper.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Further Standards relating to the minimum requirements for premises can be found in subsequent sections.

Standard 3.4

All service providers must regularly review the methods of delivery for their service to ensure both accessibility and the effective use of resources.

Access to services and the effective use of resources can be ensured by reviewing the methods of delivery against the aims and objectives of the service.

Indicators for Type I

Service providers should be able to demonstrate that the service has a process for reviewing each method of delivering information at least once every two years.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Indicators for Type II and Type III

Service providers should be able to demonstrate that the service has a process for reviewing each method of delivering advice at least once every two years. This should include consideration of:

  • traditional office based information and advice;
  • telephone help-lines and advice;
  • e-mail enquiries;
  • internet information;
  • surgeries and outreach in other service providers' premises; and
  • home visits.

Service providers should be able to demonstrate that this review includes consideration of the services provided by other agencies and the views of different groups of current and potential service users.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.5

All service providers should regularly review their hours of service to ensure that these meet the needs of their current and potential service users.

Traditional office hours of opening may exclude many people most in need of services from accessing that service.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

Service providers should be able to demonstrate that the service has a process for reviewing hours of service at least once every two years.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.6

All service providers must ensure that potential service users are aware of the service that is provided.

Services should ensure that their target service users are aware of the services available. To ensure that this is the case, services should regularly publicise their services using appropriate media (such as leaflets, posters and referral networks).

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

A marketing plan or promotional summary should be produced that details how the service's target users will be informed of the existence of the service. This should be clearly linked to the community profile and needs assessment requirement in Standard 2.2.

A separate promotional budget should be identified.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.7

All service providers must be able to provide information in a range of formats and community languages that are appropriate to the needs of disabled people and the local community.

Services should ensure that all written information can be produced in a way that is impact assessed to ensure it is accessible to disabled people and people whose first language is not English. This may include provision for the translation of leaflets or the development of all alternative means of ensuring accessibility. It should be noted that, with regard to disabled people only, this Standard is a statutory requirement.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

Service providers should have plans for meeting the needs of people in their communities for information in accessible formats / appropriate languages. This may include self-production of the material or partnerships with other providers.

Where such formats/languages are not automatically available, the plan should include a means to ensure the provision of information in alternative formats/languages to be timely, with people being able to receive such information within a time agreed between the service user and the information provider. This may include provision of the information directly or sign-posting agreements to other services that agree to undertake this work on the service's behalf.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.8

Services must not disadvantage users whose first language is not English. All Type II and Type III services must have access to interpreters in appropriate languages and clear procedures for the use of interpreters.

Services should be accessible to all members of their communities and individuals should not be excluded from service use, or receive a qualitatively different service, because of their mother tongue. The use of interpreters should be consistent with other policies, in particular those regarding confidentiality.

Indicators for Type I

Service providers should demonstrate that they can provide an 'active' sign-posting service to all members of the community. Referral sources in appropriate languages should be maintained by service providers.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Indicators for Type II and Type III

Service providers should have clear policies and procedures on the use of interpreters.

Service providers should maintain contracts or other arrangements with interpreters in community languages appropriate to their catchment area.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.9

All service providers must have effective and appropriate policies on confidentiality and access to information.

Every user of service has the right to expect that the service they receive is provided in confidence and that any records about them kept by the service provider are fair and accurate.

Indicators for Type I

Service providers should have policies that cover:

  • the way in which information is provided by the service and any provision for carers, if appropriate;
  • details of any information that may be held about the service user by the service provider;
  • the circumstances in which this may be passed on; and
  • how the service user may access any information held about them.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Indicators Type II and Type III

Service providers should have policies that cover:

  • the way in which the service will be provided (such as a private interviewing space) and any provision for carers, if appropriate;
  • details of any information that may be held about the service user by the service provider;
  • the extent of the policy and any limitations to it (such as statutory requirements on disclosure);
  • what any exceptions are and why;
  • breaches of confidentiality and how these will be dealt with;
  • forms of authority enabling the agency to speak or act on behalf of the user of service; and
  • how the service user may access any information held about them.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.10

Service providers must have procedures for the safe maintenance of files and for file destruction.

Careful storage of information is essential both to maintain the confidentiality of users' case notes and to ensure the efficiency of the service provider. Users of service should feel confident that information on their enquiry or case will not be stored indefinitely, and that care will be taken in disposing of old case records. This includes both paper and electronic records.

Indicators for Type I, Type II and Type III

Any case notes must be kept safe and secure.

All services maintaining case notes must have a policy for the length of time case notes are stored and which details how and when these notes will be destroyed.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.11

Service providers must have an effective complaints procedure and adequate insurance to provide rights of redress.

Complaints provide a valuable means of service user feedback on the service provided. Service users should feel confident that if mistakes are made by the service provider they can be dealt with promptly and that there is sufficient provision for redress.

Indicators for Type I

Agencies should have a complaints procedure that:

  • explains to the service users who to complain to and how the complaint will be dealt with;
  • is publicised; and
  • is monitored by those responsible for managing and planning the service.

There should be adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance to ensure that service users are not disadvantaged by any mistakes the service may make in the delivery of its services.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Indicators for Type II and Type III

Agencies should have a complaints procedure that:

  • explains to the service users who to complain to and how the complaint will be dealt with;
  • is publicised;
  • is monitored by those responsible for managing and planning the service;
  • ensures information from complaints is incorporated into the Services Plan; and
  • ensures changes that have been made to the Services Plan as a result of complaints are publicised.

There should be adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance to ensure that service users are not disadvantaged by any mistakes the service may make in the delivery of its services.

* CAS Membership Conditions

Standard 3.12

All service providers must have procedures that actively encourage feedback from service users.

Service providers must have documented procedures that will enable service users to provide feedback on the quality of service they have received.

Indicators for Type I

The procedures should include a feedback mechanism that addresses the following issues:

  • How easy was the service to access in terms of location, hours of service, and so on?
  • Was the service approachable and friendly?
  • Was the service delivered in a competent and timely manner?
  • Was the information and advice explained sufficiently?
  • How and when should service users provide feedback?
  • The frequency and way in which feedback is analysed
  • The way in which this will be used to influence the Services Plan

* CAS Membership Conditions, ISO 9001

Indicators for Type II and Type III

The procedures should include a feedback mechanism that addresses the following issues:

  • How easy was the service to access in terms of location, hours of service, and so on?
  • Was the service approachable and friendly?
  • Was the service delivered in a competent and timely manner?
  • Was the information and advice explained sufficiently?
  • Was the service user informed of progress in the case?
  • How and when should service users provide feedback?
  • The frequency and way in which feedback is analysed
  • The way in which this will be used to influence the Services Plan

* CAS Membership Conditions, ISO 9001


Contact

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