Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 15, 2013 9:45:08 GMT
This Citizens Advice Bureau with branches covering Stanley and Consett was closed down this week. Sounds like there were financial problems but does anyone know more?
Derwentside Citizens Advice Bureau has been suspended from Citizens Advice membership and has been told to close its doors to clients, national Citizens Advice announced today (Wednesday 13 March). Citizens Advice has suspended the bureau from membership of the national association of Citizens Advice Bureaux following its continued failure to meet the standards required of all Citizens Advice Bureaux by their national association.
Membership standards are agreed by the whole network of over 350 Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales to make sure that bureaux are well managed, financially sustainable and give consistently high quality advice. Every CAB is subject to a three-yearly audit to ensure it meets these standards. Any bureau that has problems complying with membership standards is offered help and support to do this.
Nick Bussey, Head of Network Development and Support at Citizens Advice, said:
“Suspending a bureau’s membership of Citizens Advice is not a decision we take lightly. It can only happen after a long process of supporting a bureau’s trustees and management to try and take the action needed to meet the required standards for membership. This decision has been taken because of concerns about persistent problems with the way Derwentside CAB has been governed and managed its finances. I’d like to reassure clients that we have no concerns over the quality of advice which Derwentside CAB has been offering, and I’d like to thank staff and volunteers for their hard work and commitment .
“However, as its membership has been suspended the bureau must stop offering advice immediately, so we have been working with other bureaux in County Durham to make sure that people in Derwentside can continue to access advice. From Wednesday 13 March, a dedicated telephone advice service funded by Citizens Advice will be in operation, and those who are able to do so can travel to other local bureaux for drop-in or face-to-face services. Current clients will be contacted to inform them how they can get advice from other bureaux in CountyDurham . We are working closely with bureaux and Durham County Council to ensure CAB services are available for residents in Derwentside."
Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 15, 2013 10:08:01 GMT
The local MPs are not happy at the sudden loss of service and have written to Gillian Guy:
MPs have joined forces to condemn the closure of a citizens advice office. The national Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) announced earlier this week that it has suspended its Derwentside branch and ordered it to close its Consett and Stanley offices following concerns over its operation. Instead, residents are being asked to travel to an alternative office or ring a citizens’ advice helpline. It follows worries that the branch has persistently failed to meet the standards expected of the CAB and concerns over the governance and finance of the branch.
However, MPs Pat Glass and Kevan Jones and Pat Glass, whose constituencies cover Consett and Stanley, expressed concern over the decision. Both have now written to the chief executive of Citizens’ Advice requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the matter.