Changes to Citizens Advice services

Citizens Advice services in Staffordshire are having to change the way they provide county-wide services from 2 March 2017.

Citizens Advice services in the county include Staffordshire South West, Staffordshire North & Stoke, East Staffordshire, South Staffordshire, South East Staffordshire Cheadle, Leek, and Tamworth

The county-wide services affected include:

* County wide telephone service which helped 18,000 people in the last 12 months by offering telephone advice and booking appointments for face to face help in district offices. The availability of telephone advice from the Adviceline number 03444 111 444 will vary across the county from 2 March and some people may have to visit their local service for advice.

* Face to face support from specialist caseworkers which supported 1200 people last year. This will be reduced from March 2 and may end in some offices. People who already have an appointment booked will be seen. General advice provided locally will continue.

* A specialist service for clients referred by healthcare professionals with mental health issues which helped 500 people last year and an older people’s service which offered home visits and help claiming benefits. These services are not taking any more clients and the services will end once all those clients that already have booked appointments are seen.

The changes to services are being brought about by a decision by Staffordshire County Council to withdraw £510,000 in funding which ends on 2 March. Existing funding arrangements from district councils and other funding sources are unaffected by the county council’s decision.

Sue Nicholls, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Staffordshire South West, said on behalf of services across Staffordshire:

“It is really important that people across Staffordshire have access to independent and impartial advice to help solve their problems. It is disappointing that the county council funding is being withdrawn which will mean a reduction in the range of services, specialist services and support we offer to local people. However, we have a number of other funders including district councils and together with our dedicated staff and volunteers we will continue to provide advice to as many people as possible.”