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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 in Waverley


Review of Citizens Advice Bureaux in Waverley

Summary of comments/ suggestions received from members’ of the Committee on future funding of the CABx.

Need to be mindful that vast majority of people do not use the services of the CAB. Some residents in towns pay twice for the service via Waverley and Town Council contributions.
Review needs to make it clear what we fund, what we get in return and how beneficial it is.
One sum for all 4 CABx which increases with inflation. Grants from Parish/Town Councils be abolished and replaced by a fixed annual payment.
Funding measured against agreed criteria – targeting the vulnerable.
Waverley should have a policy that states what we want from CABx. Additional projects undertaken by CABx should be funded from other sources.
A charging system should be introduced for advice e.g. 1st visit free follow-up consultation fee set at 25.
Consider one help line, close 2 of the 3 (4) offices and use mobile service across Waverley on a rota basis.
Establish an independent panel inclu members from Waverley and CABx to identify and look at overlap and ownership of responsibility based on evidence to enable specific organisations and groups to be approached for funding e.g. NHS, social services, Waverley include through it’s internal net works, benefit, housing etc
Sum of money be determined that covers all the rents,salaries and running costs that Waverley cover at the present and as much more as Waverley can afford for contingencies. This sum is given to the Bureaux en-bloc and they divide it up as appropriate. Following year this sum amount would be the same plus inflation. This approach gives Bureaux maximum amount of flexibility and knowledge of future funding levels.
CAB provides most useful service in Haslemere and Cranleigh in helping people to cope with bureaucracy and giving quality advice to people not able to pay for it. It should be supported by Central Government and also get support from NACAB.
Although served by dedicated volunteers CABx need professional management staff, accessible and functional premises and efficient IT equipment.
Haslemere Bureau is striving to reduce/contain costs by sharing management with Cranleigh reducing staff and opening hours and in other ways.
To expect further core funding from Haslemere Town Council would be unrealistic.
Waverley support is essential if the Bureau is to continue to function. The Council does help by providing grant to cover the manager’s salary, part-time clerical support and some running costs but in recent years the value of the grants has been eroded by inflation and Waverley is facing financial constraints.
Waverley should provide more help by giving free or subsidised rent and car parking for staff and volunteers when on duty.
There is significantly more expenditure on leisure facilities provided by Waverley e.g Farnham Sports Centre, Cranleigh Leisure Centre Godalming Leisure Centre, the Herons and the Edge than there is spent on CABx. The people who go to CABx can probably not afford to go to leisure centres let’s suggest we close a leisure centre.
More money should come from Central Government for offices expenses while maintaining the level of support that currently exists. I understand from NACAB Press Office that they are attempting to obtain more funding by supplying the govt with details of the monies being recovered for clients.
Waverley and the Town and Parishes should continue to fund the CABx and make sure this funding is secure to be be reviewed upwards at specific intervals. Need to think laterally – the monies recovered for clients are expended in the local area, boosting the local economy.
CABx need to continue to raise their profile on the streets. It was interesting to take part in Farnham Bureau’s recent profile and fund raising activities. The public are unaware that the CAB is a charity. Most contributors expressed their thanks with their donationas – both young and old had come to the bureau for help. Fund-raisers should get together and swap ideas and maybe help each other out on events. Remendous respect for the CABx and their work however am aware there is no bottomless pit of money for funding. But it is not easy to run an organisation with the uncertainty of the funding hanging over it.
An open cheque for the CAB is unfair.
An equal amount (i.e. per capita, are number of offices etc) be taken as the fair annual amount.
The agreed amount should be funded from the Government (ODPM).
Best value should be at the basis of grant, amount or whatever.
Waverley can’t afford four CAB offices not least because of high premises costs. CABs should operate from more cost effective shared premises e.g. Visitor Information Centre at Haslemere or share with other voluntary/public sector bodies. Serious thought should be given to a single merged CAB for the whole of Waverley with the benefit of shared resources and common direction. CABs are being paid for twice by Council Tax residents in Towns through Waverley and Town Council contributions.