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Braintree, Halstead and Witham Citizens Advice - Changes to the Service for Residents

February 2017

 

Stakeholder Briefing:

 

Meeting client needs now and in the future – how we offer advice is changing

 

We’d like to advise you of changes to our services which will start next month. 

 

With a reduction in funding and in an effort to make sure our services are fit for the future we’ve decided that the limited offer in our advice centre based at Ramsey Academy, Halstead, is not the most cost effective or efficient way to help residents. It costs us in the region of £23,000 each year – for just six opening hours a week and, on average, we see fewer than 10 people per week.

 

So from Tuesday, 21 March we will no longer see clients at Ramsey Academy, Halstead.

However Halstead residents will be able to access us and our services via: 

 

Improvements to our telephone services

 

* We have extended our telephone service so clients can now speak to us Monday - Thursday 10am – 4pm. 

* We are recruiting additional team members to improve resilience.

* Residents who need advice can call 0344 4994719. 

 

Our Braintree office

 

* From April 2017 we will open our Braintree advice centre an additional two days a week: on Tuesdays for drop-in and on Thursdays for a priority booked appointment service for Halstead residents . Address: 17 Coggeshall Road, Braintree CM7 9DB. 

* A recent survey of our clients identified that many people from the north of the district travel to Braintree to shop, visit family or go to the Jobcentre. During the first three quarters of 2016/17 almost as many clients from wards in the north of the district sought advice at Citizens Advice Braintree as they did in Halstead and many of our Halstead residents already visit Citizens Advice in Braintree when they are in the town. 

* It is also worth noting that our lease costs for the Ramsey Academy premises are higher than those for Braintree or Witham, so this approach

ensures we are making more efficient use of our Braintree premises by offering a five day a week service. 

Booked appointments in Halstead for those who can’t get to Braintree

* We have made arrangements with Halstead Town Council to use the council offices, when appropriate, for people unable to travel to Braintree for advice. 

* We are also looking at other opportunities in the town and as soon as we know more we will let you know.

Better use of technology (Coming soon)

* We have been awarded more than £9,000 from Awards for All (Big Lottery) to install three Citizens Advice touchscreen advice kiosks in libraries in Halstead, Sible Hedingham and Earls Colne. 

* We are working with Essex Libraries to get these easy-to-use facilities into the libraries soon. 

* We will also be purchasing tablet versions of the information kiosks for use in outreach settings and public events.

*We would also like to make you aware of new volunteer opportunities*

* We will be offering people in the north of the district the opportunity to train as volunteer Citizens Advice Information Assistants.

* This will provide them with valuable transferable skills. 

* If people are interested in finding out more they can email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

 

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