Advice centres find quality mark useful despite high costs

A new quality mark for voluntary sector advice centres has not been the bureaucratic nightmare it was expected to be, according to research by Advice UK.

The Community Legal Services Quality Mark for general help with casework has been welcomed by advice bodies, but has proved costly in terms of staff time and financial expense.

Umbrella body Advice UK, which represents around 500 advice centres, said the research was expected to "reveal a highly disgruntled sector, struggling under a burden of bureaucracy".

But the research found that organisations were far more positive about the quality mark than anticipated and the bureaucratic burden was less than expected. The fear that organisations would not be able to get funding without the quality mark has not been realised.

Rachel Braverman, the report's consultant, said: "It is not the quality mark itself that is the problem for voluntary organisations.

"The issue is in how to implement and maintain it with no extra funding and existing resources pared to the bone."

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