Skip to content Skip to footer

What our volunteers do?

There are over 22,000 volunteers involved in the Citizens Advice service, performing a wide range of roles. Here we describe what some of those roles involve. Please note, not all volunteer roles will be available in every bureau.

Apply to volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering with us, search to see which CAB are recruiting, choose one and fill out a quick online form. They will get in touch to discuss the options.

At the moment we have a particular need for volunteers in Wales to become part of our new Adviceline Cymru:

If you have questions about CAB volunteering see our Volunteering FAQs

Our volunteer roles

Advisers

"I get a real feeling of satisfaction from making a difference, especially for people less able to stand up for their rights.”
Sheila, Stretford CAB

Without our trained volunteer advisers we could not continue to meet the demand for advice. Our generalist advice service looks at a client’s situation holistically as opposed to looking at their problems in isolation from one another. Advisers are given free training, both formal and on-the-job. As a CAB adviser you would:

  • interview clients
  • help them negotiate with people such as creditors or service providers
  • draft letters
  • make phone calls on their behalf
  • refer them to other agencies
  • represent them in court and at tribunals.

Attention all law studentsIf you train as a CAB adviser, you can get up to six months off your solicitor training contracts!

Receptionists

Receptionists are an integral part of the team, managing ‘front-of-house’ on the basis of information provided by the advice session supervisor. Depending on the size and resources of the bureau, the receptionist role may be undertaken by one or more people. As a receptionist you would:

  • greet clients and other visitors
  • answer the phone
  • ensure clients know what is happening and how long they have to wait
  • explain the services available
  • point out leaflets, lists and self-help materials
  • monitor client numbers and waiting times
  • maintain the reception area
  • enter information into computer systems.

Specific qualifications and experience are not required to take on the role. You need to:

  • have a good manner when talking to people
  • have basic computing skills
  • have an understanding of, and commitment to, confidentiality
  • be friendly and approachable.

Information assistants

Not all clients need advice – some only require help to locate the right information. Information assistants provide exactly that, and also support clients to use the different facilities that are available, such as kiosks, online PCs, benefits calculators and direct-dial phones. As an information assistant you would:

  • actively promote the use of kiosks/ PCs
  • support clients to use kiosks/ PCs
  • help identify the correct leaflet, self-help resource or service provider
  • identify where a gateway assessment may be required
  • record client numbers and issues.

Specific qualifications and experience are not required to take on the role. You need to:

  • have a good manner when talking to people
  • have basic computing and good literacy skills
  • be friendly and approachable.

Gateway assessors

Gateway assessors help clients get the right help in the fastest time possible. They assess people’s needs, either face-to-face or over the phone, and identify the most appropriate course of action. That might be self-help information, referral to a specialist organisation or an appointment with a CAB adviser. As a gateway assessor you would:

  • greet clients and explain the gateway assessment process
  • explore the client’s problem(s) and situation
  • assess the risk/urgency of the client’s issue and their ability to deal with the problem themselves
  • identify the next step that needs to be taken
  • summarise the content of the interview for the client and explain what happens next
  • ensure clients know they can return if necessary
  • update the database, completing the gateway assessment screens.

Specific qualifications or experience are not required to train for the role. You need to:

  • be good at listening
  • have a good manner when talking to people
  • have basic computing skills
  • be open minded and non-judgmental
  • enjoy helping people.

Adviceline telephone assessors

Woman on phone in a bureauAn Adviceline telephone assessor is a diverse role and you will not be expected to know it all! We provide all Adviceline telephone assessors with training, which will help you develop the skills you need to deliver an excellent level of service to clients.

As an Adviceline telephone assessor you would:

  • be the first point of access for Citizen Advice clients when they ring the Adviceline number
  • deal with a wide range of clients problems and issues
  • support members of the public of all ages and backgrounds
  • give information from the CAB electronic information system and other sources to the client
  • refer clients for more specialist advice where appropriate
  • keep records of all clients cases on the database
  • help prevent future problems by identifying issues that affect a lot of clients.

Specific qualifications or experience is not required to train for the role. You need to:

  • be good at listening
  • have a good telephone manner
  • have basic computing skills
  • be open minded and non-judgemental
  • enjoy helping people.

Once fully trained we will continue to support you throughout your time as an Adviceline telephone assessor.

Administrators

As a CAB volunteer administrator you would ensure the smooth running of a bureau by:

  • word processing
  • file management
  • arranging events
  • using databases and spreadsheets
  • answering emails and phone calls
  • updating local information.

Trustees

"The Citizens Advice service challenges the social issues I feel passionate about. As a trustee I can help redress the imbalance of injustice"
Azad, CAB trustee

Because every CAB is a registered charity, each has its own board of trustees. Some trustee roles require specific skills but bureaux welcome people of all ages, backgrounds and experience to their trustee boards. Because trustee boards tend to meet in the evenings, you can fit this around a full time job or study. As a trustee you would:

  • manage and plan the overall strategic direction fo the bureau
  • act as employer for paid staff
  • manage the bureau's finances
  • ensure the bureau complies with the law
  • be responsible for premises, insurance and equipment.

Financial education volunteers

“It’s rewarding to help people understand and manage their finances. Hopefully we are giving them the skills and confidence to avoid a debt crisis in the future”
David, Financial Capability Trainer

More and more bureaux are working in their communities to deliver financial education sessions and help people to improve their money management skills. Financial education volunteers would:

  • run training sessions on budgeting, borrowing, saving and banking
  • assist the trainer
  • provide administrative support
  • help with marketing and publicising sessions
  • work with clients to help us evaluate the impact of our work.

More on our financial education work

Campaigners

By using evidence routinely collected from the clients, you could help bring about changes in local and national policies and services which can benefit everyone - even those who have never used a CAB. As a campaigner you would:

  • complete and collate evidence forms recording clients problems
  • identify and raise relevant issues in the bureau
  • train staff and volunteers in identifying issues and completing evidence forms
  • conduct research and write reports
  • get involved in media campaigning
  • liase with other bureaux and agencies.

More on our campaigning work

IT support co-ordinators

It co-ordinatorA wide range of our essential work depends on well-run IT systems. We use them for keeping track of cases, keeping in touch with clients, accessing e-services on their behalf, and monitoring trends. As an IT co-ordinator you would:

  • support bureau workers including staff and volunteers
  • troubleshoot
  • web design
  • train bureau workers in IT skills
  • assist with email advice.

PR and marketing

Citizens Advice Bureaux need to raise their profile in their local community to attract funding, recruit volunteers, promote local and national CAB campaigns and to ensure that potential clients know how to access their services. As a PR/marketing volunteer you would:

  • produce promotional materials to use locally
  • tailor press releases issued by the national Citizens Advice press office to use locally
  • build relationships with your local media outlets and "sell in" stories
  • seek coverage for your bureau's work in local papers and on TV and radio
  • identify case studies of clients or volunteers who would be willing to talk to the media
  • write copy for your bureau website or newsletter if it has one
  • be trained to be a local media spokesperson
  • arrange events, displays and talks to promote the bureau
  • identify opportunities for your bureau to get involved in our annual Advice Week or other national events such as Volunteers Week.

More on our media work

Fundraisers

Every Citizens Advice Bureau is a registered charity reliant on money from local authorities, companies, charitable trusts and individuals. As a fundraiser you would:

  • work with the bureau treasurer or other trustees to meet fundraising objectives
  • help with researching fundraising opportunities
  • organise fundraising events
  • help complete fundraising applications
  • put together presentations to give to potential funders.

Volunteer recruitment

Many bureaux run volunteer recruitment campaigns throughout the year either to help them expand their services or to replace volunteers who have left. Some bureaux have volunteers with a specific role to run these campaigns, others might include this in their general PR/marketing. In this role you would:

  • produce local volunteer recruitment materials – leaflets and posters
  • find case studies about current volunteers for your local newspapers
  • organise stands or displays in local community venues
  • give talks about CAB volunteering
  • run open days for potential volunteers
  • ensure the bureau website is updated with volunteering opportunities
  • deal with volunteer enquiries forwarded from this website.

Peer education worker

Peer education is based on the idea that many people make choices based not only on what they know, but also on the thoughts and behaviour of others the same age group. As a peer education worker you might:

  • promote the CAB in schools, colleges and youth organisations
  • give talks about specific problems
  • be a young person’s adviser.