Action Plan 2019-2022

Executive Summary

 Citizens Advice Surrey (CAS) is part of the Citizens Advice Service and is a joint venture consortium between the local Citizens Advice (LCA) in Surrey, founded with the overriding aim of improving services for clients via co-ordination of local Citizens Advice activities, service delivery and performance.  CAS has in recent years secured County wide funding for its members to deliver Health Watch, Crisis Fund and Help to Claim projects as well as continued development support from Citizens Advice nationally and Surrey County Council.

Surrey is a large county to the south west of London with a population of over one million people.  It is a generally affluent area but with significant pockets of severe deprivation and a range of other challenges including high levels of debt, alcohol abuse and domestic violence, rising child poverty and 1 in 10 young people at risk of either not being in education, training or employment or of entering the criminal justice system. Surrey has a high proportion of people without a permanent home and a high proportion of elderly residents.

In recent years these challenges have been exacerbated by a number of factors, including the ongoing effects of Government policy response to the economic downturn, the impact of Brexit and the reduction in funding for the voluntary sector from Surrey County Council and other statutory bodies.

In recent times the day to day challenges facing LCA’s, and in turn CAS, have necessitated them to be more flexible and responsive in what they deliver and how in particular:

  • A raft of policy and other changes including welfare reform, reduced availability of legal aid, housing shortages and increasing in-work poverty means that many clients have less money and fewer options; rapid change often makes the advice required more complex and increases demand.
  • Rapid increase in use of digital technology and other electronic methods by people to manage all parts of their lives leading to a demand for a wider range of channels to access advice and information services and expectations of a “24 hour” service
  • Increased difficulty sourcing suitable local volunteers (and staff) for the range of volunteering opportunities available at Citizens Advice.
  • An increasingly complex and demanding funding environment with declining core funding from local government, and more project based and charitable grant funding being required (often with significant barriers to entry and/or requirements for partnership working and collaboration).
  • Increased competition not only from other third sector organisations but also statutory providers and large corporate entities.

Within this context Surrey Citizens Advice services have much to offer, including a good understanding of, and evidence for, unmet needs and demand as our client base changes.  Statutory sector providers/ commissioners increasingly recognise that we offer value for money, which can help them drive down their costs; our services are preventative as well as curative.

It should be noted that CAS has no staff resource and work undertaken is done so by the chair and the trustee board.

CAS is fully committed to providing ongoing support and assistance to the LCA’s in order that they can fulfill their potential of offering a full advice service to the people of Surrey as and when they require such a service.

  

Our Plan for 2019-20

 To Speak As a Single Voice

We will work towards providing a single voice across Surrey in order to:-

  • Increase awareness of the services provided by LCA’s across the County
  • Develop partnerships with key funders
  • Communicate the vast skill and expertise potential funders and partners can tap into.

We hope to achieve the above by:-

  • Circulating a bi-annual ‘newsletter’
  • Building relationships with Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner and the Diocese of Guildford.

To Facilitate Mutual Support

 We will continue to build on the already good working relationship with the LCA managers and further our support of them through working groups and projects undertaken. We recognise the importance of this relationship in providing an excellent service to the people of Surrey.

We hope to achieve this by:-

  • Continuing to support and oversee the Help to Claim and Crisis Fund projects
  • Providing County wide statistics
  • A Collaborative workshop during the year with LCA managers.

 To Facilitate Collaborative Projects

We will endeavor to seek more collaborative projects and partnerships as the nature of funding moves more towards partnership working.

We hope to achieve this by:-

  • Identifying projects with the LCA manager group
  • Identifying and seeking a place on decision making groups within the key identified partners

(Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner and the Diocese of Guildford).

 

Our Plan for 2020-2022

 We are hopefully that we will be successful in achieving our goals set for 2019 -2020, specifically in building relationships with the key partners we have highlighted and this will in the medium-long term generate key projects for the LCA’s.

To strengthen our working relationships with not only our partners e.g. Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner and the Diocese of Guildford but with the LCA’s.

We aim to be innovative and look at the needs of those who use the service and seek partnerships and funding as and when new needs arise for example hate crime; right to remain etc. by facilitating the LCA’s in order to develop and grow the service to meet the ever increasing demands.

Being one of the few consortia within the Citizens Advice family we hope to work more with Citizens Advice in demonstrating the benefit of LCA’s working in a collaborative manner and how this benefits those who rely on the service.

 

 

To speak as a single voice for LCA’s in Surrey

Action

Detail

Timescale

Owner

Identify key stakeholders Compose list of key figures to build a relationship with October 2019 Simon Fox

Paul Townsend

Increase awareness Circulate Newsletter bi-annually October 2019 Simon Fox

Paul Townsend

Build relationships with Surrey County Council Build relationships Councillors and key officers All
Build Relationship with Diocese of Guildford Organise regular meetings to build awareness October 2019 Peter Simpson
Continue to build relationship with Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Organise meeting with Police Commissioner October 2019  

Paul Thompson

 

 

 

Facilitate Mutual Support and good practice between LCAs

Action

Detail

Timescale

Owner

Help to Claim Continue to Support Project and act as contract Holder 31 March 2020

Quarterly Updates

Terence Gale
Crisis Fund Continue to support and act as contract holder 31 March 2020

Quarterly Updates

Terence Gale
Develop Relationship with LCA Managers

 

Workshops to share ideas 6 December 2019 Corinne Alford

 

 

Facilitate Collaborative Projects between LCAs

Action

Detail

Timescale

Owner

Identify & Secure Funding for Projects Identify possible Projects 31 March 2020

 

 

 

Research & Develop advice Offering SCC / Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner 31 March 2020

 

 

 

Highlight Offering Commissioning service delivery by seeking place on decision making committees – publish stats 31 March 2020 Terence Gale

SMG Manager

 

 

 

Citizens Advice Surrey Legal Status

 The charity was incorporated on 23 February 2011 as a company limited by guarantee with the Company Number 07540040 and is a charity registered under the Charities Act 1993 with the Charity Number 1142319. The company’s articles require that the charity be managed by a Board of Trustees who are directors of the company within the meaning of the Companies Act 2006.

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