Lexcel England and Wales v6 is recognised as a quality mark that meets the requirements of the Money Advice Service Quality Framework (MAS QF) for the delivery of debt advice. The Money Advice Service is a free and impartial advice service, set up by the government to help people manage their money. Their quality framework accredits the quality of the practice or law centre delivering a debt advice service and recognises the training individual debt advisers have received.
From 1 April 2016, legal practices or law centres offering Money Advice Service funded debt advice in England and Wales can be assessed for Lexcel incorporating MAS QF.
The existing Lexcel England and Wales v6 scheme rules, requirements and guidance notes apply. As part of the assessment, additional evidence must be provided for individual debt advisers for the completion of MAS recognised training. See the MAS QF additional evidence, scheme rules and guidance for further details.
How to apply
- Steps to apply are similar to Lexcel England and Wales v6. Law centres wishing to apply should refer to the in-house legal departments documentation.
Step 1: Read Lexcel England and Wales v6 scheme rules, the relevant Standard and Guidance notes plus the MAS QF additional evidence, scheme rules and guidance.
Lexcel England and Wales v6 scheme rules (PDF)
Standard for legal practices in England and Wales (PDF)
Standard for in-house legal departments in England and Wales (PDF)
Lexcel England and Wales v6 with MAS QF additional evidence, scheme rules and guidance (PDF)
Then complete the relevant self-assessment form to help determine any areas you should correct prior to your first assessment. You must be able to provide evidence that requirements have been in place for at least three months before the date of the first assessment.
Download self-assessment checklist v6 for legal practices with MAS QF (Word)
Download self-assessment checklist v6 for in-house legal departments MAS QF (Word)
You must select an assessor via one of our three approved assessment bodies (PDF 76kb). They are licensed by the Law Society which ensures that the process is independent, objective and maintains rigorous quality control. Each assessment body will be able to advise you on how an assessor is allocated.
You will need to send your completed self-assessment checklist to your chosen assessor prior to the assessment. This will help to identify areas that need correcting prior to assessment. You will need to provide the date of assessment on your application form.
Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS)
If you are already accredited against the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) or the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS), you will already have met some of the CPMS that are required for Lexcel.
Download the comparison of Lexcel CPMS against CQS or WIQS (PDF)
Step 2: Complete the training record and application form
Complete the organisation training record (PDF) and email it to your assessor.
Complete the application form (Word 638kb) and submit it to us prior to your assessment. We will provide your chosen assessor with all relevant information from your application form.
Step 3: Select your payment method and return your application to us
An annual practice registration fee is payable to the Law Society, based on the number of fee earners/legal advisors. See the Lexcel fees page for full details.
Assessment and award of accreditation
Only qualified assessors who have undergone Lexcel training and the Lexcel incorporating MAS QF training are allowed to assess practices against Lexcel incorporating MAS QF, which involves an on-site visit. The assessor determines whether your policies, procedures and plans meet the requirements of the Lexcel Standard, and also checks that the training and networking undertaken meets the MAS QF.
The assessor will use the relevant case management checklist v6 to assess the file and case management of a firm.
Case management checklist for legal practices (Word 311kb)
Case management checklist for in-house legal departments (Word 311kb)
They will also complete an assessment report v6 (Word 325kb) and possibly a corrective actions report (Word 309kb).
Including the pre-application preparation, it can take between two to six months to achieve accreditation.
Each assessment body charges a fee for the Lexcel assessment and subsequent annual maintenance visits, based on day rates. The cost is dependent upon the total number of fee earners/legal advisers and support staff and the time required to complete the assessment based on our guidelines (PDF 70kb).
There is an additional charge for reviewing the training record for MAS QF, which is charged as a proportion of a day (7 hours) and dependent upon the total number of debt advisers:
|No. of debt advisers||Additional assessor days for MAS QF assessment|
|1 - 5||0.13 day (55 minutes)|
|6 - 15||0.25 day (1 hour 45 minutes)|
|16 - 30||0.50 day (3 hours 30 minutes)|
|31 +||See note*|
*For every 1-15 additional advisers an extra 0.25 of assessor days should be applied, on top of the 0.50 of assessor days allowance for up to 30 debt advisers.
If you do not agree with the independent assessor's final report, you may appeal.
Read our appeals policy (PDF)
Read about our appeals panel members
Help and support
If you have any queries regarding the requirements in Lexcel England and Wales v6, please contact the accreditation office:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7320 5933