Gingerbread’s Advice service has been awarded the Advice Quality Standard Certification

Posted 15 December 2021

Gingerbread’s Advice service has been awarded the Advice Quality Standard Certification

Gingerbread, the leading charity for single parent families, has been awarded the Advice Quality Standard (AQS) certification for its outstanding Single Parent Helpline and Advice Service. The AQS is a quality mark for organisations providing advice to the public on a range of general, legal or social welfare issues.

The charity’s Single Parent Helpline, webchat and online information resources offer tailored advice and information for single parents covering a wide range of topics including contact arrangements, child maintenance, welfare benefits, tax credits, employment, housing, debt, being a student and much more.

Jo Hardy, Head of Services at Gingerbread said:

“We’re delighted to be awarded the AQS certification for our single parent advice service. Gingerbread’s expert advisers work incredibly hard to deliver quality assured, accurate, in-depth advice and guidance on a wide range of issues that affect single parents and their families. Their empathy, patience and professionalism has supported many callers in navigating difficult and complex issues, often during times of crisis or desperation. The AQS accreditation is a strong endorsement of the quality and reliability of the advice we give, especially where many single parents are facing such complex problems. This helps to quality assure the valuable impact that the service is making to the lives of single parents, helping them and their families to thrive.”

The AQS certification is the only sector-owned, independently audited standard that is focused on advice. The quality framework includes a set of standards designed to ensure a service is well run with a clear set of quality control mechanisms, assuring the quality of the information and advice services it offers.

Anna Rattlidge, Advice and Information Manager at Gingerbread said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for Gingerbread’s advice team. In order to be awarded the AQS certification the team went through a rigorous process to demonstrate that the service has effective systems in place that can quality assure the expertise of the advice we give. Detailed evidence was submitted illustrating how Gingerbread ensures staff are adequately trained; that the knowledge, tools and systems we use are up to date; that our handling of users’ information is GDPR compliant; and most importantly that every step is taken to explore the best outcomes for our callers – putting our service users’ needs at the heart of everything we do”.

The assessment was undertaken at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during a period of unprecedented demand for Gingerbread’s services. Single parents have been disproportionately affected by the financial, practical and emotional impacts of the pandemic. Many have experienced great hardship as they struggled to balance the demands of working while also caring and homeschooling young children alone through periods of lockdown, school and nursery closures, and employment uncertainty. Gingerbread’s advice service was a lifeline to many during this time, and no doubt many single parents up and down the country will agree that the AQS certification of quality is well deserved.

For further information about Gingerbread’s services for single parents, please visit our advice page.