CC113 - Review of Advice Services

Closed 12 Dec 2012

Opened 18 Sep 2012


Outline of Proposal

This report proposes:

  • The removal of £100,000 from total social welfare advice budgets, leaving a remaining advice budget in 2013/14 of £346,000, a reduction on the 2012/13 budget of just over 22%. Note that if proposal ASC304 is approved, this commissioning budget would reduce to £307,000.
  • The removal of employment and immigration from the scope of Council funded advice services in order to focus remaining resources on debt, housing and welfare benefits advice.
  • The re-tendering of remaining social welfare advice services with a reduced contract fee of not more than £346,000 in year one. 


Employment and immigration advice services are currently provided on behalf of the Council by the Law Centre, under a contract that ends in March 2013.  In total, the Council pays £100,000 to the Law Centre.  Of this £100,000, approximately £70,000 of this funds Immigration and Employment Services, with the remaining £30,000 funding specialist housing provision.

Wider changes to the welfare system mean that a large number of people on low incomes across the borough will be adversely impacted over the next 12 months and unless they are able to secure employment, will see their income levels drop. This proposal seeks to help those that are likely to need debt and housing support in particular.

Alternative provision

The Law Centre recently set up a new, separate, Community Interest Company called Rochdale Legal Enterprise.  This company is specifically designed to provide low cost employment and immigration advice services at affordable rates for those on low incomes. 

In addition to this provision, local residents are also able to access both employment and immigration services elsewhere, typically at either a very low cost, or on a no win, no fee basis. 

General Impact

  •  Current providers will be affected by the changes proposed and the Law Centre in particular will be affected by this proposal.
  • Current recipients of employment and immigration services, along with potential future users of the service may also be affected. 
  • Immigrants (and their families) will be affected by this proposal.
  • Providers in the commercial and not for profit sectors who also deliver these services may be positively affected by an increase in demand as a result of free provision ending.
  • Customers seeking debt, housing and welfare benefit support may also be affected by this proposal.  These services will be prioritised and re-commissioned as a result of this proposal. 


See Equality Impact Assessment for full details of the impact assessment.

Impact on Service Users  

As there is currently no eligibility criteria, any member of the population is potentially a customer of the Internal Advice Team, Rochdale Law Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau.

By the nature of immigration work, which the Rochdale Law Centre deals with, there is a disproportionate level of service users from ethnic minorities. The current statistics from the Law Centre indicate that of all enquiries (not only employment and immigration), approximately 60% were from people of White British heritage, 12 – 14% Black and 24% Asian or Asian British.  This suggests a disproportionate impact on the BME community.  Data is not collected on other protected groups such as disability, carers, gender, age, religion/belief etc.

Data indicates that the use of the CAB is broadly in line with the demographic make up of the borough.

See Equality Impact Assessment for full details of the impact assessment.

The indicative saving for this proposal is £100,000.

As the proposal will affect service users, we have undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment to identify likely or actual effects on people with protected characteristics. The Equality Impact Assessment will be reviewed and updated as required, taking account of consultation feedback.

You can find the full proposal document and Equality Impact Assessment below in the related documents section.


  • All Areas


  • All People


  • Savings Proposals