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.
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.
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 had the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge by taking the online Giving Good Debt Advice test. This was available until the end of June 2017.
What is Giving Good Debt Advice?
MAS developed an online assessment for advisers whose training or qualifications pre-dated MAS accreditation. The assessments and optional e-learning followed the ‘activity sets’ in the MAS individual quality framework. The platform was available until the end of June 2017 and therefore advisers can no longer access the assessments.
What if I failed or did not complete the Giving Good Debt Advice assessments?
If you did not successfully complete the Giving Good Debt Advice assessments, you will need to complete alternate MAS-accredited learning to meet the audit requirements. You can find out about the MAS-accredited training we offer here, or email email@example.com for more information.
Please note: Staffordshire University has confirmed that those who passed the pre-August 2014 version of CertMAP cannot retake the qualification.
Can I claim CPD points for the IMA CPD scheme for completing Giving Good Debt Advice?
As Giving Good Debt Advice was 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.