"Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau hit by new funding cut by Emma McKinneyJan 30 2012
The future of Birmingham’s Citizens Advice Bureau has been thrown into turmoil for the second time in a year after the charity suffered fresh funding cuts.
Last January, it was revealed that the charity was being forced to shut its offices in the city centre, Kingstanding, Tyseley, Handsworth and Northfield after Birmingham City Council axed its £600,000 annual funding.
The bases were saved thanks to a last-minute cash injection of £500,000 from central government and £50,000 from the city council.
But now that money runs out at the end of March – leaving CAB bosses with just £280,000 of council cash to run their free drop-in advice services at their offices.
They warned the drop in funding meant they would have to dramatically slash the services they delivered to 56,000 residents each year while up to ten members of staff face redundancy........................"
BCAB's strategy was high-profile brinkmanship with the Council and no love was lost in the media fight. The strategy worked - as a reprieve - but it will be very interesting to see what happens this time
I remember that there was also a successfull High Court challenge to the Brum advice cuts, at least successful for the three organisations that got into court. I presume the retender went ahead and there have been winners and losers (or perhaps just different classes of losers compared to what was before). Anyone got any local info on that?
Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 6, 2012 12:21:41 GMT
I see BCABS is continuing it's high profile approach by stepping up local fundraising and getting media exposure. There was this in the Sunday Mirror:
"Birmingham: End of the line for advice services
Birmingham's Citizens Advice services face wipe-out after their funding was halved. The charity, which helps 56,000 people a year, was saved from imminent closure but after next year the future is grim.
Boss Yvonne Davies, pictured, said: “We service some of the most deprived areas of the country – the people we advise on their rights are the ones who need help most. We’re having to ask ordinary Brummies to put their hand in their pocket or we will have to close services – it’s as simple as that.”"
The article is on the wider attacks on all charities:
Post by Colin Henderson on Aug 7, 2012 8:17:31 GMT
Another local press article from BCABs recently highlighting the closure threat to three of their four offices in March:
"Birmingham Citizen’s Advice Bureau says the number of people turning to the charity for help over benefits worries has soared by 20 per cent over the past few months. It comes as the watchdog has seen its funding from Birmingham City Council slashed from £600,000 to £280,000 in the last financial year.
The charity has warned it needs to raise £120,000 by March otherwise it will be forced to close three of its four advice bureaus in Birmingham, which offer a drop-in advice service on all manner of financial and consumer problems, including benefits issues. The offices in Kingstanding, Northfield and Tyseley have given advice to more than 21,000 Brummies in the past year alone. If they were to close, it would leave just one surviving bureau in Corporation Street in the city centre, which itself is already receiving 30,000 visits a year. The closures would see up to nine staff being made redundant and comes after 20 jobs were axed and the charity’s Handsworth bureau was shut in the last year due to the funding cuts.
While it struggles to survive, the charity says the new Welfare Reform Act, which will see the biggest overhaul of the benefits system in more than 60 years, is leaving thousands of Brummies turning to BCAB for help."
Post by Colin Henderson on Oct 12, 2012 8:31:58 GMT
Birmingham Against the Cuts has organised a stall in the city centre (tomorrow Saturday 13th) to raise the profile of the cuts to the CAB. Why don't we hear of more agencies doing activities like this?
Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 16, 2013 14:02:35 GMT
Birmingham's Law Centre may be in dire straits after the flat refusal of help from Sir Albert, but the CAB is continuing to keep the pressure on the council.
The BBC report today that unless their funding situation improves they may have to cut 3 out of 4 offices. CEO Yvonne Davies is quoted as saying ""We're running four bureaus at a loss and have reserves we can dip into for the short-term but we have to find new forms of funding or face closures and job cuts."
Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 18, 2013 14:36:48 GMT
There's a better report with clear figures now in Thrid Sector:
"Cuts of more than £1m force advice charity to launch consultation on redundancies, and 12 more posts might disappear at three satellite offices
Thirty jobs at Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau are at risk because it stands to lose funding worth more than £1m. From 31 March, the charity will lose the £650,000 it receives to provide legal aid, which comes mainly from the Legal Services Commission, and the £400,000 it gets from Birmingham Primary Care Trusts to provide outreach advice for people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.
Yvonne Davies, chief executive at the CAB, said the charity, which has 80 staff and about 300 volunteers, will soon launch a consultation on making 30 posts redundant. A further 12 jobs could be at risk in the charity’s three satellite bureaux, which provide open-door advice services in Kingstanding, Northfield and Tyseley, because of an expected £120,000 funding shortfall. The charity has its headquarters in the city centre.
Davies said the worst-case scenario, if the charity did not find extra funding for the next financial year, would be to provide a "skeleton service" from one of its centres. "It’s grim," Davies said. "The demand for our advice is bigger than ever."
The CAB’s services have been at risk before. In 2011, it was set to lose all of its £600,000 funding from Birmingham City Council. The charity was eventually forced to close one of its centres and make six posts redundant after the funding was reduced to £260,000, Davies said.
In 2011/12, the charity had an income of £2.8m and spent £2.6m. According to its annual report, the surplus of £197,705 was being used to subsidise the open-door service for 2012/13 until other sources of funding could be found.
"We are appealing to the people of Birmingham to make us their charity of choice," said Davies. "Not enough people know that we depend on donations."
The charity has applied to grant-making trusts, foundations and local businesses for funding.