Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can we apply for a different casework category to our last assessment?

A. Yes, you can change casework categories. We recognise that funder requirements change and/or you may be working on a different project partnership. You may even decide not to apply for casework at all this perfectly acceptable.

Q. Can we apply for a casework in between assessments, before our 2 year anniversary monitoring assessment?

A. Yes, no problem if you wish to achieve casework accreditation please contact the AQS team at 01452 733510

Q. Our monitoring assessment is due, but we’ve had a lot of organisational change can we delay our assessment?

A. Unfortunately, we are not able to extend your assessment monitoring review beyond your anniversary deadline. Recognising Excellence are required to adhere to strict procedures which are essential to maintaining the integrity of the Standard and protecting the status of AQS holders.

However, we do offer preparation support and our Quality Manager can work with you to agree an appropriate approach to ensuring you are able to come forward for reassessment within your anniversary deadline.

Q. I’m new to the organisation/advice service and now have responsibility for the AQS, can I delay the monitoring assessment?

A. Unfortunately, we are not able to extend your assessment monitoring review beyond your anniversary deadline. Recognising Excellence are required to adhere to strict procedures which are essential to maintaining the integrity of the Standard and protecting the status of AQS holders.

However, we do offer preparation support and our Quality Manager can work with you to help you understand the assessment process, the requirements of the Standard, and answer any questions you might have about the process. We’re confident this will provide you with the support you require to come forward in the required timeline.

Q. What documents to I need to submit for my assessment?

A. You need submit a completed Application Form making it clear which type of accreditation you are seeking for example:

  • Advice Only
  • Advice with Casework
  • Advice Only with Telephone Services
  • Advice with Casework and Telephone Services

If you are applying for casework you will also need to complete and submit the relevant Case 1 form which can be found on the Application Documentation page.

If this is your first AQS assessment and you are applying for a Desktop Audit you will also need to submit the policies and procedures set out in the Application Process document on the Application Documentation page.

Q. We provide telephone advice should we apply for Telephone Services?

A. To help you determine whether the telephone advice you provide aligns to the Telephone Standard please refer to the AQS Standard V2 (page 62) on the Application Documentation page where you will find the full requirements of the Telephone Standard. It is important that you refer to this evidence criteria to ensure you understand the additional requirements you are expected to meet.

Q.We only provide debt at Advice level do we still have to complete the Money and Pensions Service MaPS (previously the Money Advice Service (MAS) accredited training?

A. Yes, MaPS accredited training applies to debt advice provided at both advice and casework levels. For further information please see our Debt advice page

Q.We’re part of a much larger organisation, can we come forward as a separate service/team?

A. Yes absolutely, we assess several advice teams within larger organisations examples include:

  • Student Advice Centres within Student Unions or Student Services within an University
  • Macmillan Welfare Benefit Teams within Local Authorities
  • Welfare Benefit Services within Youth Services

Q.We are a multi sited organisation will the assessor visit every site?

A. This will depend on several different factors and your assessor will work with you to develop an assessment plan taking into consideration:

  • Location and geographical spread of site
  • The services delivered from each site
  • Numbers of staff located at each location
  • Telephone interviews

Q. What do my staff/volunteers need to know about the assessment?

A. The most important thing is that staff should not worry about the assessment process. Your assessor will adapt their approach to ensure staff and volunteers feel comfortable during their interview. You should stress that there are no wrong or right answers, that their interview is confidential, and the process is about continuous improvement.

Q.My Advice Manager/Supervisor is on annual leave on the day of the assessment do they need to present?

A. It is essential that your Advice Manager/Supervisor is present during the assessment. Before agreeing your assessment on-site date with your assessor, you should check key members of staff availability and any annual leave they may have planned.

Q. Will the assessor want to see our volunteers?

A. When completing your Application Form, you will be asked to provide volunteer information. You should only include those volunteers who are involved in the delivery of the advice service for example:

  • Volunteers covering reception and carrying out triage duties
  • Volunteers completing form filling duties
  • Volunteers providing advice at drop-in surgeries/outreach
  • Volunteers providing advice at your advice offices

Your assessor will ask to see a small number of volunteers that are involved in the advice service and will take this into consideration when agreeing your on-site date.

Q. When do we have to pay for our assessment?

A. You will be invoiced on completion of the assessment and our payment terms are 14 days.

Q. Can we make an advance payment?

A. Yes, no problem all you need to do is make a note on your Application Form and our accounts team will invoice you in advance of your assessment.