04 March 2011

Celebrating Quality Housing Advice in Edinburgh

EHAP Partners, Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI) and Granton Information Centre (GIC), both recently gained Accreditation under the Scottish Government's National Standards for Information and Advice Providers.

The Accreditation followed an external audit of the services, carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government by Michael Bell Associates.  The audit process involved assessment against a Quality Assurance Framework, aimed at ensuring that the services met the National Standards. These Standards cover General Management, Planning, Accessibility & Customer Care, Service Provision, Adviser Competence and Resourcing.

National standards logo

The National Standards define 'Advice' in three 'Types':

'Type I' - refers to Information Provision

'Type II' - refers to Casework

'Type III' - refers to advocacy, representation or mediation at Tribunal or Court action level

The two EHAP Partner's have been accredited to 'Type III' level across the Combined range of Housing Advice, Money Advice and Welfare Benefits Advice topics - and are currently the only two organizations Accredited to this level in Edinburgh.

The Audit reports said:

"The auditors were impressed by a tight, cohesive team working to a high standard and with good systems in place" (Granton Information Centre)

"From the cases reviewed it is clear the service is providing a high quality advice service" (CHAI)

Commenting on the Accreditation awards, Alex Neil MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Communities, said that he was:

"acutely aware of the valuable work carried out in Third/Voluntary Sector agencies across Scotland in providing housing and money/debt/welfare benefits advice and information to clients requiring such support.  The sterling service provided by organisations such as CHAI and GIC contributes enormously to the Scottish Government's efforts to ensure a wealthier, fairer Scotland for all our citizens"

He went on to say:

"May I take this opportunity to pass on congratulations to the staff and management teams of both agencies on this achievement."

In order to celebrate the achievement of National Standards Accreditation, EHAP has organized an Event at Edinburgh City Chambers on 17 March 2011.   Councillor Paul Eadie (Convenor of the City of Edinburgh Council's Housing, Health & Social Care Committee) will host the Event and the Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders, Sheriff Principal Edward T Bowen QC, will formally present the Accreditation Certificates.

A copy of the National Standards can be viewed here.

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