The Money Advice Service (MAS) Quality Framework is intended to raise the quality and consistency of debt advice by accrediting debt advice provision.
To achieve MAS accreditation, agencies’ quality standards and membership codes are assessed against an organisational framework; training and qualifications are measured against an individual framework.
The individual quality framework was introduced in 2014 and is mapped against National Occupational Standards for debt advice activities including casework and supervision. Using this framework, MAS accredited a range of training and qualifications considered necessary to demonstrate competence in core debt advice activities, including initial contact with a client and court representation.
Do I hold a MAS-accredited Certificate in Money Advice Practice?
In August 2014, the Certificate in Money Advice Practice (CertMAP) was accredited by MAS at the specialist level and it remains the only MAS-accredited qualification at this level. To ensure all elements of the individual quality framework were met, we had to add a small amount of learning material to CertMAP, covering topics such as credit reports, foreign debt and health and safety. Everyone who has passed CertMAP since August 2014 has a MAS-accredited qualification at casework/specialist level.
Experienced advisers with qualifications pre-dating the MAS accreditation scheme (including CertMAP before August 2014) and who need to show they meet the scheme requirements can do so by taking a short online test, known as Giving Good Debt Advice. This will be arranged internally by the adviser’s own organisation. There is no need to re-take the qualification.
CertMAP obtained before August 2014 continues to have value:
– as a higher education qualification recognised within and outside the advice sector, and
– as a benchmark of knowledge and expertise beyond the basic levels of competence assessed by the MAS quality framework.
The learning completed for the CertMAP course will stand advisers in good stead if they need to take the online Giving Good Debt Advice test.
Do advisers become accredited through the MAS scheme?
Please note that under the MAS quality scheme, advisers themselves never become accredited; only organisational systems and training/qualifications are accredited by MAS. Meeting the standards set in the MAS accreditation scheme does not award you a qualification. It is simply a part of your organisation’s quality assurance, and it is only relevant within those advice agencies that have subscribed to the MAS scheme.
Is there any MAS-accredited training?
Alongside qualifications, MAS also accredited a number of learning routes, including a series of IMA face-to-face training courses developed as an alternative to taking a formal qualification.
Since August 2014, it has been possible to demonstrate competence by either obtaining CertMAP or by undertaking appropriate training courses and successfully completing an online test after each course.
How do pre-August 2014 training courses and non-MAS accredited courses fit into MAS-accreditation?
Many advisers have completed training and e-learning over a number of years to develop their expertise and competence. However, advisers’ learning was never assessed to prove they had mastered the knowledge. To show that the learning from this past training meets MAS quality standards, experienced advisers can demonstrate their knowledge by taking the online Giving Good Debt Advice test.
Who will have to meet MAS-accreditation through the Giving Good Debt Advice test?
If you work for a MAS-funded organisation, your organisation will be audited against the MAS Quality Framework between now and April 2017. If your learning or qualification pre-dates August 2014, you can still meet the individual quality framework without having to repeat training or re-sit CertMAP.
To do this, MAS has developed an online assessment for advisers, called Giving Good Debt Advice.
Giving Good Debt Advice is for:
– experienced advisers who do not hold MAS-accredited training or qualifications.
Giving Good Debt Advice is not for:
– people new to debt advice, or
– people moving from one role to another, for example generalist advisers becoming specialist debt advisers.
Giving Good Debt Advice is only for advisers whose training or qualifications pre-date MAS accreditation. It is not a substitute for the full training required to provide debt advice.
What is included in Giving Good Debt Advice?
The Giving Good Debt Advice online platform follows the ‘activity sets’ in the MAS individual quality framework. For the activity sets ‘advice,’ ‘casework/specialist’ and ‘court representation’ there are a series of online assessments taking between 5-20 minutes each. For each assessment there is optional refresher e-learning, eleven in total, some taking as little as 2 minutes to complete, others up to 30 minutes.
An adviser must pass the assessments for each activity set required for their role; an adviser offering court representation must complete all assessments from advice work up to court representation.
What if I fail the Giving Good Debt Advice assessments?
An adviser is allowed 2 attempts pass the tests, after which they will be ‘locked out’ of the online platform and must complete alternate MAS-accredited learning to meet the audit requirements.
Please note: Staffordshire University has confirmed that those who passed the pre-August 2014 version of CertMAP cannot retake the qualification.
If you have CertMAP and don’t pass the Giving Good Debt Advice assessments, please contact us at email@example.com.
Can I claim CPD points for the IMA CPD scheme for completing Giving Good Debt Advice?
As Giving Good Debt Advice is a test of your existing knowledge, the online assessments do not count towards our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.
CPD activities must be a development from CertMAP, so the optional e-learning up to and including caseworker/specialist level, will also not count for CPD. We have amended our CPD FAQs guidance document to reflect this.
The optional e-learning at court representation level is additional to the material in CertMAP and will contribute 1 point towards your annual CPD.
What is available at supervision level to meet MAS-accreditation?
Giving Good Debt Advice does not cover supervision, and nor does CertMAP. The IMA offers MAS-accredited training at supervision level; see our website for details – training and MAS accreditation.