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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
Review of Citizens' Advice Bureaux - Progress Report and Proposed Feasibility Study



Summary & Purpose
The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed, as part of its work programme for 2004/05, to undertake an in-depth review into the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (CABx) that operate in the Borough. The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the information and evidence received and to agree the next stages of the review. The report also seeks specific approval to a proposal to commission an independent study, using National Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux consultants, on the feasibility of a district based model of CAB service provision.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX V
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE – 7TH DECEMBER 2004

REFERENCE FROM COMMUNITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

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Title:
REVIEW OF CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAUX – PROGRESS REPORT
And Proposed feasibility study

[Wards Affected: All]
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Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972

An annexe to this report contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in paragraph 7 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely:-

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (other than the authority).

Summary and purpose:

The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed, as part of its work programme for 2004/05, to undertake an in-depth review into the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (CABx) that operate in the Borough. The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the information and evidence received and to agree the next stages of the review. The report also seeks specific approval to a proposal to commission an independent study, using National Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux consultants, on the feasibility of a district based model of CAB service provision.

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Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

Part of the review will be to consider how E-Government initiatives could contribute to the services provided by CABx and other advice services.
Resource and legal implications:

The report proposes that consideration be given to funding an independent study into the feasibility of operating a district based CAB model, at a cost of approximately 4,000. Other than this, there are no direct resource and legal implications associated with this report other than the officer time involved in the review. The future revenue funding of the CABx is a key focus of the review.

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Background

1. The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee, at its meeting on 15th March 2004, agreed that the review would examine and focus on addressing the following key questions:

I. What information services from other agencies and organisations are currently available to Waverley’s residents? II. What does the Council want to achieve through its financial support of the CABx?

III. What are the medium to long term plans of Waverley’s CABx? IV. What are the views of the National Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (NACAB) on the future development and funding of CABx? V. What arrangements for CABx do boroughs/districts with similar profiles to Waverley have? VI. Is the current position the best way of achieving the Council’s objectives?

VII. How can the service be constructed/delivered, or further enhanced with added value to meet the Council’s objectives? VIII. Are there alternative or additional sources for funding CABx?

IX. What are the views of town and parish councils? X. Are there alternative or new models for the operation and provision of CABx services e.g. mobile CAB service, internet service, opening hours etc? XI. What can we learn from best practice and initiatives elsewhere?

The strategic review would be undertaken working in conjunction with the CABx.

Summary of progress to date

2. In May 2004, members of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee were afforded the opportunity of visiting the four CAB offices in Waverley. Following this, on 22nd June 2004 the Committee held a workshop meeting at the Godalming Baptist Church. Presentations were given by the three managers of Waverley’s CABx and from officers of the National Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux. Notes of the workshop are attached at Annexe 1.

3. Following the workshop, Members of the Committee were invited to submit their own suggestions as to how CABx in Waverley should be funded. The views provided are attached at Annexe 2. In addition, the CABx were asked to submit their own proposals on funding and the responses received from the Haslemere and Cranleigh CAB, the Farnham CAB and the Godalming CAB are attached at Annexe 3.

4. An officer meeting was held with the CABx on 11th October 2004 and notes of this meeting are attached at Annexe 4. The Committee has considered and is happy to support the proposal set out in paragraph 13 of Annexe 4 where it was suggested by NACAB that, using their consultants, an independent study on the feasibility of a district based CAB model for Waverley could be carried out at a cost of approximately 4,000.

5. The responses received from the CABx to the request for three scenarios of CAB operation based on funding levels of 250,000 per annum, 200,000 per annum and 150,000 per annum are attached at Annexe 5.

6. In accordance with an earlier decision of the Committee, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee, along with officers, visited the West Wiltshire CAB office in Trowbridge and West Wiltshire District Council in October. The district is similar in nature to Waverley’s having five main centres of population surrounded by rural areas. Unlike Waverley, where there are three separate CABx management committees, West Wiltshire’s CAB service is based on a district model. Notes of the visit to West Wiltshire are attached at (Exempt) Annexe 6.

Next stages

7. A great deal of background information has already been gathered as part of this review, but it is proposed that further evidence is required before the Committee will be in a position to reach any conclusions. It is suggested that, if approved by the Executive, the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee would wish to receive the results of the feasibility study undertaken via NACAB into a district model of CABx service as part of its evidence. It is also proposed that the views of Town and Parish Councils be sought on the CAB service. In the meantime, further information and/or visits to other authorities would be carried out and the results sent to members. Depending on the timescale for completion of the above evidence gathering, it is anticipated that the earliest opportunity for the Committee to complete its review would be January 2005.

Recommendation

Having received this report and the evidence and information provided, the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee commends the Executive to endorse the proposal from NACAB to undertake a feasibility study into a district based CAB model at a cost of approximately 4,000, such sum to be met from existing budget provision.

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Background Papers (CEX)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Roger Standing Telephone: 01483 523221

E-mail: rstanding@waverley.gov.uk

comms/exec/2004-05/262