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Ownership of the Advice Quality Standard

The Advice Quality Standard (AQS) is the only advice agency-specific, independently audited quality standard in the voluntary sector. It demonstrates that an agency has a well-managed service, helps to ensure that staff have relevant and up to date knowledge and that the quality of advice given remains high.

The Advice Quality Standard was written and devised by the government body known as the Legal Services Commission and was originally known as the General Help Quality Mark. It was devised as a funding mechanism for the now defunct Legal Aid funding and was a complementary standard to the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM).

When the Legal Services Commission was disbanded and legal aid ended as a source of funding for voluntary legal advice services, the ownership of the AQS was legally transferred to the Advice Services Alliance. The Advice Services Alliance is the umbrella body for the Advice sector. The AQS materials are therefore owned by the Advice Services Alliance and the AQS is our trade mark. It may not be used without the expressed authorisation of Advice Services Alliance.  Details of the Advice Services Alliance can be found on our website www.asauk.org.uk.

Organisations which have applied for or which hold the Advice Quality Standard are permitted to download and print copies of the Standard for internal use within their organisation.

Please email Amanda.jordan@recognisingexcellence.co.uk if you wish to apply for the Advice Quality Standard.

The AQS has been revised twice in recent years

The current version is sometimes referred to as ‘AQSv2’ and dated January 2017.

The first update in late 2013 took into account the Money Advice Service Quality Framework Requirements, enabling the AQS to be accredited to the MAS Framework.

The second update took place from October 2015 to September 2016 and was a major refresh of the standard, taking into account the best practice from across the advice sector. The process was overseen by an advisory group drawn from the following organisations:

  • Advice Services Alliance
  • AdviceUK
  • AgeUK
  • Citizens Advice
  • Shelter
  • Youth Access
  • Scottish Legal Aid Board
  • Welsh Government
  • Money Advice Service
  • Money Advice Trust
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Scope
  • National Debtline
  • Recognising Excellence
  • Consilium Research and Consultancy

Any errors or admissions in the AQS are entirely the responsibility of the Advice Services Alliance

Any comments or feedback should be sent to info@asauk.org.uk.