Strengthening the bureaux network
The continued success of the Citizens Advice service and its ability to meet the needs of clients, depends on individual bureaux being stable and sustainable. During 2006/07 we spent £14,657,000 supporting bureaux in their work.
Citizens Advice provides support to member bureaux so that they have the tools to manage themselves. We provide advice and consultancy support on a wide range of issues including governance, staffing, business planning, company and employment law. Bureau managers also have access to a telephone and email helpline, and comprehensive online bureau management resource.
Citizens Advice continually seeks new partnerships, contracts and funding streams that will strengthen the service. An additional £10 million from the Government’s Financial Inclusion Fund has allowed us to assist bureaux across England and Wales to employ nearly 400 specialised debt advisers.
The following outlines performance against the objectives for 2006/07 as stated in the 2005/06 annual report:
During 2006/07 we have:
started web-based access to consultancy services for bureau advisers in equality and employment, consumer, welfare benefits and money advice
recruited over 370 new advisers as part of our Financial Inclusion Fund project to provide face-to-face debt advice
launched our Participation toolkit, to increase the involvement of clients and communities in the development of bureaux services.
During 2006/07 we were unable to:
introduce a volunteer consultancy service to bureaux. Following a review of effective ways of supporting bureaux an alternative service will be introduced in 2007/08.
Next year we will:
work in partnership with bureaux to deliver our strategy for the future
continue to develop support to bureaux so that they can become an effective first point of contact for discrimination advice
continue to develop our financial capability programme which aims to engage all bureaux in delivering financial literacy services, at some level by 2010
develop a partnership with The Royal British Legion to work with bureaux across the country on a welfare benefits/debt service for veterans.