Help for helping your residents
Working with the Citizens Advice service - a guide for Councillors
Help for helping your residents ( 2.4mb)
Welcome to the first edition of this guide to inform local Councillors about the services offered by Citizens Advice Bureaux. Made possible by funding from Prudential, it contains up-to-date information on some of the problems most often raised by residents, as well as important contacts and suggested next steps for following up issues. There are also examples of how councils have established mutually beneficial relationships with their local Citizens Advice Bureaux which have made a real difference in resolving residents’ problems.
For more than 70 years the Citizens Advice service has worked closely with elected representatives at local and national level. In 2010/11 we helped more than two million people resolve over seven million problems, ranging from debt to family breakdown. Citizens Advice Bureaux deliver advice services from over 3,500 community locations in England and Wales, run by 382 individual charities, giving us more outlets than even the top two supermarket chains.
Through this coverage we can spot trends in problems that people are experiencing, collect first-hand client accounts and use this local evidence to inform local service providers’ planning and delivery. Acting as local advocates, often in partnership with others including councils, means we are ideally placed to influence policy change at a regional and national level and improve people’s lives.
Over the next two years Citizens Advice will be taking on a range of statutory functions that are to be transferred from Consumer Direct and Consumer Focus, providing advice, advocacy, research and education. Citizens Advice is already an active champion for consumers, helping them to get a better deal and making it easier to access the information and advice they need. The transfer of responsibilities to Citizens Advice must be carefully managed and supported through extra resources to reflect the enhanced role of the service. Through careful planning we intend to begin a phased transfer in anticipation of becoming fully operational in April 2013.
Prudential is a long-standing supporter of Citizens Advice. In particular, as key partner in the Financial Skills for Life programme, it has enabled over 280 bureaux to deliver financial education initiatives in their communities. This increasingly important work now reaches over a quarter of a million people a year. Financial capability training gives people the skills they need to budget, borrow and save with confidence – essential during difficult financial times.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive
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