The way ahead
Citizens Advice has produced a three year strategy (2008-11). This will enable the service to improve its capacity to deliver quality advice, available when people need it and to build on the evidence base that supports our policy work. It links to the Government’s agenda and is client focused. The strategy will mean reaching more clients using the same resources, working more efficiently and in partnership and changing our delivery channels.
The key strands of the plan are to:
- provide easier and faster access to quality advice and information for more people
- strengthen our voice in social policy
- develop the bureaux network
- develop new initiatives in advice.
The strategic plan sets out the objectives for the service and how we will address them. There will be challenges and opportunities during the first year of the strategy, and Citizens Advice faces them with confidence.
Partnership working becomes increasingly important whilst the commitment to providing increased access to advice is a major component within the strategic plan.
Setting up a single telephone number for the Citizens Advice service is a critical part of our access strategy. This will be a key priority in our work for 2008/09.
Helping bureaux prepare for CLACs and CLANs is a top priority for Citizens Advice’s Membership Services Division and seeking to influence the Legal Services Commission and the Ministry of Justice a top priority for the Public Policy Division.
Within our financial capability work we will continue to demonstrate to funders, opinion formers and policy makers the value of financial education and the related money and advice issues. There is also an opportunity for the service to act as the principal delivery partner for the face-to-face element of the new Money Guidance programme in which the Government will be investing £50 million per annum.
Citizens Advice will receive an additional £5.5 million from BERR over a three year period that will be integrated into the FIF programme.
Our social policy work will focus on campaigning on a number of issues including doorstep selling, EU standards for contact centres, and representing consumer needs in forthcoming legislation.
We will integrate our equality and diversity measures across all our strategic goals. In doing this Citizens Advice will work to ensure that each bureau provides and promotes an advice service that responds to the needs of the community. We will also continue to work on a key partnership with the EHRC which is a vital part of our strategy to become a recognised first point of contact on discrimination issues.
Overall, the service will continue to have an on-going central role in tackling injustice, reducing poverty and social exclusion, and enabling people to realise their full potential. Our services will provide the impetus for millions to understand and realise their rights while, through pressing for change in social policy, we help many more.