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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/02/2006
CITIZENS’ ADVICE BUREAUX – DEMONSTRATION CENTRE PROJECT



Summary & Purpose
The Executive is requested to support the new Waverley district model Citizens' Advice Bureaux (CABx) with a one-off contribution of 20,000 in 2005/06, to support Waverley’s CAB involvement in a national demonstration centre project for which it has been awarded project funding of 50,000 from the national CAB organisation, Citizens Advice (CitA).

APPENDIX P

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE – 7TH FEBRUARY 2006


Title:

CITIZENS’ ADVICE BUREAUX – DEMONSTRATION CENTRE PROJECT

[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

The Executive is requested to support the new Waverley district model Citizens' Advice Bureaux (CABx) with a one-off contribution of 20,000 in 2005/06, to support Waverley’s CAB involvement in a national demonstration centre project for which it has been awarded project funding of 50,000 from the national CAB organisation, Citizens Advice (CitA).

Environmental implications

The work of the CABx, on behalf of their clients, contributes positively towards improving the environment in which they live.

Social / community implications:

The CABx provide a range of help, advice and support services to Waverley residents over a range of issues and this is particularly important to those from disadvantaged groups within our community.

E-Government implications:

Like most organisations the CAB service is increasingly benefiting from technological advances and the national CAB CASE computerised management system is in use at all Waverley’s CABx. The model of CAB service being developed as part of the demonstration centre project would promote the provision of web-based information and advice, e-mail advice provided through one borough-wide address and telephone advice being provided through one borough-wide telephone number.

Resource implications:

Waverley’s financial contribution towards the CABx service in the borough for the current year 2005/06 is set out in the table below:

Bureau
Direct Grant

Car Pk Reimbursement
Rent
Godalming 1st Fl
Cranleigh and Haslemere
90,860
2,980
Farnham
48,720
-
Extra grant towards rent
3,000
Godalming
57,050
3,300
7,333
Total
199,630
6,280
7333

The single direct grant bid being sought by the CABx through the Council’s 2006/07 Sponsored Organisation Scheme (which is being considered elsewhere on the agenda) is 202,529. In the draft revenue estimates for 2006/07 the provision included for Car Park Reimbursement is 6,670. The rent of the first floor of the Godalming CAB premises ceased in November 2005. There is no specific budget for the one-off funding contribution of 20,000 proposed in 2005/06 to support the demonstration centre project and the general restructuring of the CABx to a district model service.

In April 2005, the Council agreed that the unallocated sum from the 2005/06 Community Partnerships funding of 41,162 should be ring-fenced to fund high priority projects that emerge in 2005/06. If Members are minded to support the CAB Demonstration Centre Project, it is proposed that any amount agreed is funded from this ring-fenced sum.

Background

1. The Executive, at its meeting on 11th October 2005, received the final report from the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the review of Waverley’s Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) and agreed the district model of service approach being developed by the CABx. The Executive also recognised that the restructuring of the CAB service may involve one-off cost implications and that the CABx may need financial assistance from the Council in dealing with these.

2. The Executive also received an update concerning potential funding of 50,000 for the new Waverley district model CAB organisation from CitA (the national CAB organisation) to establish a demonstration centre delivering an integrated approach to advice giving which makes best use of technology.

3. Although the 50,000 grant would go a long way to delivering the demonstration centre project, Waverley was requested by its CABx to consider adding a one-off contribution of 20,000.

4. The Executive requested that prior to making a final decision, the Portfolio Holder, Mr J E Robini and officers meet with the CABx to consider the project objectives in detail and report back.

Project background

5. As part of its Access Strategy, CitA is setting up three demonstration centres across the country in Cambridgeshire, Kirklees and Waverley, each centre comprising a number of CABx committed to working collaboratively across a geographic area to deliver information, advice and advocacy services in an integrated way.

6. The overall project is funded through the strategic grants arm of the CitA bureau grants budget and has available a total of 150,000, of which 50,000 is available to this particular project in the borough of Waverley.

7. The four bureaux in Waverley (currently three legal entities) are working towards full merger to form a Waverley-wide district bureau (Citizens Advice Waverley) with effect from 1 April 2006. The Waverley CABx merger steering group is committed to providing an integrated advice service across the borough making best use of available technology. A shadow board is currently being formed.


Definition and Scope

8. The overall outcome of the project is a proven model of service delivery that is being used effectively in Waverley and that can be used as a resource by CABx nationally. They are considering changing their working practices and/or methods of service delivery. The project has the following aims:
To establish an effective model of service delivery
To enable the bureaux in Waverley to move forward significantly
To provide a resource to CitA and other CABx

9. The project has two distinct phases. Phase one involves setting up the centres whilst phase two involves encouraging interest, service delivery and evaluation. Phase one is expected to be completed by 30th May 2006. Phase two will be completed by 30th November 2006.

Project team

10. The Waverley Demonstration Centre Project will be managed by Jackie Gaskell (Manager of Cranleigh and Haslemere CABX) who will report to John Gillies, overall project manager of the Citizens Advice Access Strategy Demonstration Centres project. The Waverley project manager will report, in an information sharing capacity, to the Waverley CABx merger steering group. The local project team will work with the project manager to design the service delivery model and develop methods of working. Detailed work will be carried out in small bureau based working groups. The final model and methods of working will be agreed by the shadow/new board. Any decisions that impact on the wider project can only be made by the overall project manager, John Gillies.

Service Delivery Model

11. The service delivery model envisaged is to provide an integrated advice and advocacy service across the borough. The four offices are an integral part of the project for personal callers but an increased emphasis will be placed on telephone contact and the project aims to deliver a single telephone contact number/ virtual call centre approach in Waverley with clients telephone enquiries being handled seamlessly from any base. A new website is be introduced and a system introduced for managing e-mail enquiries. The approach would provide structured gateway interviews, appointment sessions, or home visits if appropriate, able to booked from any centre, increased use of electronic services and information provision including the introduction of kiosks for self-help.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive approves a one-off contribution of 20,000 to support the demonstration centre project, to be met from the ring-fenced Community Partnership Fund balance of 41,162, and to support the establishment of the new district model Waverley CAB organisation.

Background Papers (CEx)

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

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Roger Standing Telephone: 01483 523221
E-mail: rstanding@waverley.gov.uk
Comms/exec/2005-06/274