The Centre’s Social Welfare Advice service has been assessed and re-accredited to the Advice Quality Standard.

The AQS is the quality mark for organisations that provide advice on social welfare issues and officially demonstrates that our services are accessible, effectively managed, and employ skilled and knowledgeable staff.

This is an outstanding achievement given that the service has continued to operate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, remotely supporting hundreds of people, often in crisis, to ensure they have access to support, advice, benefits and payments they need.

The assessment process covers welfare, benefits casework and disability benefits casework back to August 2018. The assessment takes place every two years but this time had to all be done remotely which presented huge challenges to everyone involved with all evidence submitted and reviewed electronically. The usual technical challenges of remote working were ever present.

To be considered AQS compliant, our services have to adhere to seven different advice frameworks with evidence provided in each case. In addition, our seven-strong advice team have to be fully conversant with all advice-related policies as well as participating in continuous professional development through shared learning and peer-supervisory processes. All of this has been achieved in one of the busiest and most essential services the Centre runs.

Appropriate and timely support in this area has a significant impact on people’s lives, families and wellbeing. Our Social Welfare Advice service was also commended by AQS assessors for a number of areas of good practice. The service is continuing to provide virtual support and has started supporting complex cases in person, by appointment as things slowly return to normal and the Centre re-opens.

For contact details, visit this page.