Delivering advice together: learning from the Advice Plus experience
In September 2008 the Big Lottery Fund awarded £20 million to Citizens Advice Bureaux and their partners in the second Advice Plus funding stream. The funding was to support organisations to work together more effectively to deliver legal advice services. This was in addition to the first Advice Plus funding stream in early 2008 where bureaux received £5.89 million from a £30 million pot.
All projects had to address three themes – partnership working, quality standards and sustainable benefits. Altogether 39 Local Advice Networks (LANs) were funded, 32 of which were led by bureaux.
In June 2012 Citizens Advice, Advice UK and the Law Centres Federation commissioned a survey and report of the Advice Plus project which was supported by the Big Lottery Fund and carried out by an independent consultant, Marion Scott.
The report is based on an analysis of 32 responses from lead organisations representing a wide range of different networks across England along with 30 local partner or member organisations.
The Advice Plus funding has shown that Local Advice Networks (LANs) can create workable structures for a more strategic and effective way of delivering frontline advice services. However, what is clear from the findings is that the complexities of partnership working requires flexible support and frameworks which necessarily take time, management and appropriate resourcing levels.
You can read more about Advice Plus project, including challenges faced and lessons learnt, in the report: