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ADVICE AGENCIES

The best known advice agency is the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). Each bureau belongs to
Citizens Advice (formerly known as the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
(NACAB)), a registered charity, which sets standards for advice and training. Citizens Advice
also co-ordinates national social policy, media, publicity and parliamentary work. Key facts -
Citizens Advice 2004-5 Annual Report. (1) There are 470 Citizens Advice Bureaux in 3,400
locations throughout the UK (2) There are more than 28,000 people working in the Service,
including CAB advisers, administrators and management committee members (3) Most are
CITIZENS volunteers (4) Five million people seek help from Citizens Advice Bureaux every year. Aims:
ADVICE (1) To 'offer free, independent and confidential advice' in a great many areas; for example,
debt and consumer issues; benefits; housing; and legal matters such as crime employment and
immigration. Advisers help fill out forms, write letters, negotiate with creditors and represent
clients at court or tribunal. (2) To influence the Government's policies on areas that concern
them by contributing to public debate. The Service therefore publishes reports and comments
on social and legal issues of the day. For example, in May 2000 NACAB issued a report
roundly condemning the activities of bailiffs and calling for their abolition.

Formerly the Federation of Information and Advice Centres (FIAC) which was formed in 1979
and is an umbrella organization of advice centres whose members' objects and services vary
widely, embracing both generalist and specialist advice services in fields such as housing,
money and debt counselling, consumer rights, immigration and employment. By combining
together, have a better buying power in the purchase of goods and services for themselves and
a powerful collective voice on social policy issues.
Many members target their services to meet the needs of particular sections of the population
identified, for example, by age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or unemployment. Others target
ADVICE UK particular areas of need such as homelessness, people with HIV & AIDS or drug and alcohol
abuse.
Member organisations mostly registered charities based in both inner-city and rural locations.
Over half of them based in Britain's 50 poorest localities. Vary in size, resource levels,
objectives and target populations.
Most member centres (over 1,000) have paid staff while a minority staffed mainly by
volunteers. The average number of paid staff is 5. A growing number of centres employ
solicitors and about 80 centres have a Legal Aid Franchise which permits them to offer legal
help/aid.
Advice UK member centres deal with approximately 3 million enquiries per year.

Their speciality includes:


(1) welfare rights; (2) immigration and nationality; (3) housing and homelessness; (4)
employment rights; and (5) sex and race discrimination.
Other areas of work vary according to local need and may include (6) mental health, disability
rights; and (7) education rights, juvenile crime and children's rights.
LAW Employ solicitors, barristers, legal advisers and community workers.
CENTRES LCs: (1) 'use their grants to work with whole groups of people, rather than just helping one
person at a time; (2) provide training and information about the law and people's rights; (3) go
out into their communities and identify legal problems at an early stage; (4) take on cases that
clarify and extend rights for the public; (5) comment on and propose improvements in the law
as it affects their clients; (6) provide legal advice and services for community organizations;
and (7) provide initial quick advice and/or referral'.
NOTE Mind on mental health; Age Concern for the elderly; Shelter for the homeless; and
DIAL for the disabled.

Role of the Community Legal Service is to bring all agencies together, so that they can be
accessed through the CLS Directory which now contains 15,000 solicitors, advice agencies
CLS and information providers. As at March 2005, though, only 441 agencies held civil legal aid
ROLE contracts with the LSC. That said, those NfPs with contracts started 155,920 new matters, an
increase of 17% on the 2004 figure of 132,986.