Working Together for Advice

The Law Centres Federation took part in a consortium of legal and advice networks, set up to provide a range of support services to independent advice centres in England.

In 2008, Advice Services Alliance (ASA), the umbrella body for all networks involved, was awarded £5.7m by the Big Lottery Fund as part of its Advice Plus programme. Working Together for Advice was delivered in partnership by ASA, the Law Centres Federation, AdviceUK, Age Concern England, Citizens Advice and Youth Access.

The project included eight workstreams carried out over three years:

  • Developing access to advice looked at ways of improving the accessibility of advice services to those with greatest need. This included models of service delivery or good practice and focusing on how to improve clients’ initial contact with advice services. 
  • User and stakeholder involvement investigated how to increase user and stakeholder involvement in the management and development of advice services by identifying best practice through research, development of a toolkit, and delivering appropriate training. 
  • Enhancing frontline advice delivered direct support for setting up sustainable partnerships and advice forums, and for establishing new advice centres and Law Centres.
  • Quality of Advice developed a national scheme for accrediting agencies providing advice services at the current General Help Quality Mark level. 
  • Advice outcomes helped advice agencies to define, measure and evaluate the outcomes of advice work and so enabled the sector to better demonstrate the value of its work. 
  • Developing discrimination advice delivered a discrimination advice training programme and established referral networks and protocols to develop links, partnerships and referral agreements between agencies.
  • Workforce development and training enabled the sector to attract and retain staff and volunteers by accrediting trainers and developing a qualifications and accreditation framework.
  • Promoting advice established an annual England-wide celebration to promote advice services; built the capacity of advice agencies to promote their services to target groups; created generic promotion materials; and promoted the benefits and outcomes of advice work to funders and other stakeholders.