Citizens Advice H&F – Advice+

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Service description

Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham offer an Advice+ service, funded by H&F Council, that delivers individual legal advice, information, financial and digital capability advice, supporting residents towards self-empowerment and independence, helping them exercise their rights and responsibilities, and encouraging a move towards economic independence and employment.

It provides: 

  • Channels of access (telephone, email, website, leaflets, e-factsheets, bulletins and face-to-face) offering information, signposting/referral, advice and support.
  • A consolidated service menu with assisted self-help, advice, financial and digital capability training, and employment support.
  • Streamlined access to key advice agencies via a managed call centre/web portal.
  • Delivery from two purpose-built hubs; the advice centre and Avonmore library, strategically located in the north and south of the borough and benefiting from supported ICT access and additional outreach services.
  • Advice+ empowers and supports residents to maximise rights, responsibilities and entitlements, and assist a broader move towards securing and retaining employment while sustaining independence, confidence, and economic prosperity throughout the borough.
     

Funded until:

31 March 2018    

Annual Funding level

£330,000

In the past year:

  • More than 10,000 residents have been supported, thanks to the work of 171 volunteers whose time equates to nearly £700,000. 

Outcomes for residents:

  • Assisted Self Help: 86% of clients and advisers reported improved ability to help themselves
  • Advice Service:
  • 96% of clients reported a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities 
  • 95% of clients reported good to excellent access to the service 
  • 97% of clients reported good to excellent satisfaction with service received 
  • Welfare Benefits Advice: £2.1m of benefits gained 
  • Debt Advice: £3.5m of debt addressed with 100% of clients receiving a debt action plan
  • Employment Advice: 100% of out-of-work users receiving advice were also made aware of employment opportunities
  • Digital Service: 91% clients reported improved confidence in using and accessing online services 
  • Volunteering:  
  • 36% of volunteers were H&F residents 
  • 100% of volunteers reported improved skills, confidence, and motivation to move towards employment 
  • 78% of volunteers completed training and were awarded certificates 
  • 45% of volunteers secured employment 
  • 12% of volunteers accessed further study/training 
  • Financial Capability Training 
  • 77% of clients reported improved skills in budgeting and money management
  • 95% of people said that they were happy or very happy with access to the service
  • 97% of people are happy or very happy with the overall level of service
  • 99% of people said that they would use the service again
  • 95% of people said that they would recommend the service to someone else

Feedback:

‘Thanks for all the hard work and help you gave me, letters etc. You are all so very nice! Unsung heroes!’
‘Thank you very much for your patience, kindness and help. Lots of people giving up their own time to help others. Just want you all to know it has been very much appreciated’
 

Funding:

An additional £400,000 of funding raised enables the H&F CAB to provide complimentary and specialist services to users including: advice at the Food Bank, specialist debt advice through Capitalise, advice for people living with HIV, advice on homelessness prevention, financial capability for older people and a range of energy/avoiding fuel debt services. Currently 11 projects run under multiple funding streams.

Future plans: 

In partnership with five other west London CABs, an Adviceline service has been launched to improve access to services via the telephone. If lines are busy, there is a reciprocal service for answering calls through links to a national citizens’ advice call centre.  The telephone service has expanded by five hours a week, with lines open 10am-4pm daily, new volunteers trained and calls split on three separate lines: new inquiries, existing clients and debt issues. Thanks to the new intake, some existing volunteers have been reassigned to deal with face-to-face meetings.

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