Lexcel England and Wales v6 incorporating the Money Advice Service Quality Framework. Additional evidence, scheme rules and guidance

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1 Lexcel England and Wales v6 incorporating the Money Advice Service Quality Framework The Law Society 2015

2 Contents Introduction Additional evidence required for MAS QF Additional scheme rules for MAS QF Guidance notes for legal practices and in-house legal departments Guidance notes for Assessors... 6 The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 2 of 8

3 Introduction Lexcel England and Wales v6 is recognised as a quality mark that meets the requirements of the Money Advice Service Quality Framework (MAS QF) for the delivery of debt advice. The Money Advice Service is a free and impartial advice service, set up by the government to help people manage their money. Their quality framework accredits the quality of the organisation delivering a debt advice service and recognises the training individual debt advisers have received. With the three additional evidence requirements the Lexcel Standard is compliant with the MAS QF for debt advice and can be awarded a joint Lexcel accreditation incorporating the MAS QF. The rest of this document focuses on the three additional evidence requirements. Please refer to Lexcel Standard for legal practices or the Lexcel Standard for in-house legal departments and Scheme rules for Lexcel England and Wales v6 requirements. Who is this for? a. Lexcel incorporating the MAS QF is for any practice or law centre wishing to apply for debt advice funding, or any service seeking to focus on the quality of debt advice. b. The practice or law centre can apply for Lexcel incorporating the MAS QF at the same time as their initial or re-accreditation for Lexcel. The full Lexcel Standard requirements and the additional three MAS QF evidence requirements will be assessed as the same time. c. If the practice or law centre already has Lexcel, the MAS QF can be a bolt-on to their existing accreditation. In this case it is the three additional evidence requirements that will be assessed. (Law centres wishing to apply should refer to the in-house legal department documentation.) Questions? If you have any queries regarding Lexcel England and Wales v6 incorporating MAS QF additional evidence, scheme rules and guidance, please contact the Money Advice Service directly: Visit: If you have any queries regarding the requirements in Lexcel England and Wales v6 you can contact the Accreditation office at the Law Society on: Tel: +44 (0) The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 3 of 8

4 1. Additional evidence required for MAS QF The following outlines the additional evidence required on top of the Lexcel Standard requirements in order to achieve Lexcel England and Wales v6 incorporating MAS QF. 4.3 Practices must have a learning and development policy, which must include: e. debt advisers having undertaken training appropriate to their role f. training and learning that has been accredited against the MAS Quality Framework for individuals g. appropriate procedures in place to enable networking opportunities with other providers and peers and for sharing good practice in relation to the delivery of debt advice. 2. Additional scheme rules for MAS QF The following outlines the additional scheme rules which apply on top of the Lexcel Standard scheme rules in order to achieve Lexcel England and Wales v6 incorporating MAS QF. a. Eligibility criteria a) The debt service must hold the required Financial Conduct Authority permissions. All firms with respect to debt counselling, debt adjusting and providing credit information services, and hold such permissions. b. Assessment criteria a. The practice or law centre can apply for Lexcel with MAS QF at the same time as their initial or re-accreditation for Lexcel. The full Lexcel Standard requirements and the additional three MAS QF requirements will be assessed at the same time. b. If the practice or law centre already has Lexcel the MAS QF can be a bolt-on to their existing accreditation. In this case it is the additional three extra requirements only that will be assessed. 3. Guidance notes for legal practices and in-house legal departments Guidance against additional evidence required to achieve Lexcel England and Wales v6 incorporating MAS QF. a. Debt Advisers have undertaken training appropriate to their role All debt advisers in your organisation must have undertaken debt training or a debt advice qualification which enables your organisation to demonstrate that they have the appropriate knowledge for the debt advice related activities expected within their defined role. The organisation structure chart should reflect all staff paid and unpaid staff working in debt advice within the organisation. Your organisation should maintain a central learning record which includes a skills and knowledge matrix for all debt advice staff. This record should align each staff The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 4 of 8

5 member with their job role, indicating what type of debt activity they undertake - initial contact, support work, advice, casework, specialist, court representation or supervision. b. Training and learning undertaken has been accredited against the MAS Quality Framework for individuals. c. Practices must have appropriate procedures in place to enable networking opportunities with other providers and peers and for sharing good practice in relation to the delivery of debt advice. Central and individual learning records for debt staff to clearly identify the name and completion date of the Money Advice Service accredited training course or qualification undertaken by all debt related staff. All Money Advice Service accredited training and qualifications, along with details of the debt activity they are aligned to can be found on the Money Advice Service website. Organisations should have awareness, understanding and be seeking to complement and support where appropriate the work of other providers and peers. This may be achieved amongst other routes, through involvement with a range of formal and informal networks. Auditors may consider a range of evidence including membership and attendance at Legal Action Group (LAG) events, local partnership minutes, pro bono activities, articles for publications, contributing to law works clinics to name a few. Definitions of activity work sets for debt advice staff: d. Initial contact The member of staff is the first point of contact for the client. They may explain the remit of the service, gather basic personal information, provide information and / or signpost the client, if appropriate. e. Support work The member of staff may provide information relating to the remit of the service, collect client information, identify the client s problem, identify related issues, identify any immediate or urgent priority matters, agree appropriate next steps and signpost or arrange a referral for the client to other services where appropriate. f. Advice The adviser will diagnose the client's problem(s), giving information and explaining options and helping the client decide between options. The provision of information alone is not advice. The provision of advice can involve taking or agreeing action/s and therefore may include a referral to another organisation, identifying options and next steps, giving assistance such as helping to complete a form and contacting third parties.. There is no rule about the maximum number of client contacts. g. Casework / specialist The adviser takes responsibility for the conduct of a case and /or an adviser takes action on behalf of the client. The adviser drives and manages the case and maintains a continuing relationship with the client. Negotiation, advocacy and representation, where appropriate are common features of casework. h. Court representation The adviser makes preparation for proceedings on behalf of the client, prepares the client for formal proceedings, and / or represents the client in formal proceedings in relation to their debts within the rights of audience for these proceedings. i. Supervision The adviser provides technical debt advice support to other advisers within and / or outside their own organisation. Line management alone does not constitute supervision, without the provision of technical debt advice support. General guidance The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 5 of 8

6 j. Cost of assessment Lexcel registration fee would apply if Lexcel v6 is being assessed at the same time as MAS QF. If the practice or law centre already has Lexcel and MAS QF is being treated as a bolt on then there is no extra registration fee. Standard duration timelines and costs will apply for a Lexcel assessment. There is an additional charge for reviewing the training record for MAS QF, which is charged as a proportion of a day (7 hours) and dependent upon the total number of debt advisers: No. of debt advisers Additional assessor days for MAS QF assessment 0.13 day (55 minutes) 0.25 day (1 hour 45 minutes) 0.50 day (3 hours 30 minutes) 31 + See note* *For every 1-15 additional advisers an extra 0.25 of assessor days should be applied, on top of the 0.50 of assessor days allowance for up to 30 debt advisers. k. Debt advice locator tool Organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and have achieved Lexcel with MAS QF are able to have their details included and promoted on the MAS Debt Advice locator tool. To be included please complete the attached form. 4. Guidance notes for Assessors Guidance against evidence required a. Debt Advisers have undertaken training appropriate to their role 1. The organisation structure chart should reflect all staff paid and unpaid staff working across the organisation and specifically in debt advice within the organisation. The organisation should maintain a central learning record which includes a skills and knowledge matrix for all debt advice staff. This central record should align each staff member with their job role, indicating where appropriate what type of debt activity they undertake - initial contact, support work, advice, casework, specialist, court representation or supervision. All debt advice related staff within the organisation must be able to evidence that they have achieved the accredited learning for the type of activity they undertake in their role in order to comply with the MAS QF. The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 6 of 8

7 2. Supervisors and managers should be aware that debt advice related staff must have successfully undertaken MAS accredited training / qualification appropriate to the activity undertaken in their role. They should be aware that prior to progression to a new debt related activity, any debt related staff or staff moving into debt advice must successfully complete MAS accredited training/qualification before doing so e.g. a caseworker must complete a MAS accredited learning programme (training or qualification) prior to undertaking court representation work. b. Training and learning undertaken has been accredited against the MAS QF for individuals. 1. Central and individual learning records for debt staff should clearly identify the name and completion / award date of the MAS accredited training course successfully completed by all debt related staff. All MAS accredited training and qualifications, along with details of the debt activity they align to, can be found on 2. All staff are required to have evidence that they have undertaken learning routes accredited to the MAS QF or alternatively have evidence of successfully having undertaken the MAS online knowledge assessment (this is a retrospective assessment and will only be available to advisers between April 2016 and March 2017 after this time advisers will only be able to evidence meeting the MAS QF requirements through accredited training/ qualifications). The online assessment is not for trainee advisers or advisers moving into debt advice from another category of law. These advisers would be required to undertake the relevant Money Advice Service accredited training or qualification for their work. The central record of learning should contain as a minimum details of staff involved with supporting and advising debt clients: i. the level of debt related activity that they are skilled to undertake e.g. advice, casework, court representation ii. details of the MAS accredited debt training course or a debt advice qualification achieved, and iii. dates of achievement iv. if MAS accredited training / qualification has not been completed that the adviser has successfully completed the MAS online knowledge assessment which will be launched during April 2016 and can be accessed through the Either point ii or iv above provide the only two forms of allowable evidence. There should be a random check across debt related advisers as to whether the appropriate level of learning has been achieved. For all debt staff in the practice you should cross reference the central record with the evidence of accredited learning held in their individual learning records. Ensure that the award date for accreditation as listed on the MAS website pre-dates the adviser evidence of course / qualification completion. As referenced above, alternative evidence can be provided to demonstrate that the adviser has successfully completed the MAS online knowledge appraisal and there will be a The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 7 of 8

8 certificate issued to all who have passed it. c. Practices must have appropriate procedures in place to enable networking opportunities with other providers and peers and for sharing good practice in relation to the delivery of debt advice. 1. Organisations should have awareness, understanding and be seeking to complement and support where appropriate the work of other providers and peers. This may be achieved through a number of routes, through involvement with a range of formal and informal networks. The assessment should review evidence of a range of opportunities including membership and attendance at Legal Action Group (LAG) events, local partnership minutes, pro bono activities, articles for publications, contributing to law works clinics to name a few. The Law Society 2016 Version: January 2016 Page 8 of 8

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