Advice NI Quality Team reflecting over the past year

It has been another extremely busy year for Advice NI’s Quality team. In the current Covid climate, the Quality team has had to quickly adapt and develop an effective approach to a number of aspects of quality.

Delivering Quality of Advice training

Covid restrictions meant that all face-to-face training ceased. Therefore, the Quality Manager along with the Training team undertook to re-develop the Case Recording and Quality of Advice Audit training into a blended online course. This was a considerable task as there was little previous experience of carrying out this type of work, which took a lot of time and patience. This course is now delivered in part by online pre-recorded sessions, followed by a face-to-face zoom training session.  We are delighted with the results and have had positive feedback from the participants.

Delivering Adviser/Assessor workshops via Zoom

Again with the ongoing restrictions and based on requests from our members, The Quality team developed bespoke workshops and support sessions to a number of member organisation’s Assessors and Managers.  These were all delivered online with follow up support via telephone and email. These were in a range of areas such as:

  • Quality of Advice Audits;
  • Case file reviews;
  • Trend analyses reporting;
  • Peer reviews.

Ensuring the level of support we provide was not affected

Using a blended approach of zoom, email and telephone, we have been able to continue supporting our member organisation’s Advisers, Assessors and Managers with bespoke training, meetings and policy guides. We have also taken the same approach with our internal teams. The Quality team continues to attend the adviser forums and meetings. They will update on issues they found during their quality assurance work to help improve the standard of advice giving and case recording. Peer reviews are ongoing within the internal specialist teams and continue with some of our member organisations who are working towards the NIAQS as well. The Quality Sub Group continues to meet regularly to review and update policy guides. 

In addition, the online Quality portal has been re-designed to make it a more user-friendly journey for member organisations going through the process of NI Advice Quality Standard (NIAQS).

The Quality Team have also two new volunteers who help us with policy development and reviews. 

Unfortunately, Agnieszka and Cindy have moved on to other roles, however, have recruited Carol Scantlebury as the new Quality Co-ordinator for the Welfare projects within Advice NI and are currently recruiting for Agnieszka’s replacement in the Debt team. 

The year ahead

Our focus with the year ahead will be to:

  • Continue to provide support using this blended approach to training and support.  Most member participants who have attended the training and support sessions have given very positive feedback.  The consensus is that they felt bespoke training and support in individual member groups was a better way to present the training, workshops and support.  It was felt that it was more geared towards their individual member need.
  • Provide support and guidance for any members interested in the peer review process either internally or across organisations.
  • Provide ongoing quality guidance and support to our members and ANI staff to assist their development and help them meet the NIAQS requirements.
  • Develop support structures with our new volunteers to assist member organisations develop and review their existing policy and procedure guides and to help and guide on how to disseminate these within their teams. 
  • Work closely with the Law Centre NI and DfC to review the NIAQS, making it more effective and user friendly.
  • Continue working with the quality sub group who take the time to go through all these guides with their updates and amendments to make them into the working documents we have.  

We will be reaching out to members after the New Year to avail of some of the quality training and workshops for their Assessors and Advisers.

Should you require any support around quality please contact:

Marie Gilmore

Quality Manager

Advice NI