PS03 - Reductions to and reconfiguration of boroughwide debt, housing and welfare rights advice services

Closed 19 Dec 2011

Opened 21 Sep 2011

Results Updated 16 Feb 2012

Thank you very much for all comments submitted to the savings proposals consultation. The staff and public consultation process have now concluded.  

Elected members have considered the final reports on this proposal including the staff and public views gathered during the consultation period. The decisions made are detailed below:

The aim is for the debt, housing and welfare rights advice service to be delivered by a single commissioned service operating in each township at less cost than currently. (Previously delivered by the council and two outside agencies (Citizens Advice Bureau and the Law Centre).

The proposal balances the increasing demand for advice services as a result of the economic downturn, and the need to operate differently to make savings. Eligibility criteria will be introduced to access advice services, outreach sessions will be in the most economically deprived areas in libraries and initial work will be done over the phone, including making appointments.  People will also be referred from social care and health colleagues.

The is a more targeted approach ensuring that people who need the service most will still be able to receive it and encourage people who are able to help themselves or access other sources of information, e.g. online, to do so.

Proposed full year saving 2012/13:  £280,000

Cabinet Decision: To be implemented with minor amendments and subject to further discussion with outside agencies on the future delivery model

You can find the final proposal document, equality impact assessment, and the public summary of all proposal decisions in the files section below.

Files:

Overview

This proposal changes the debt, housing and welfare rights, employment and immigration advice services from being delivered by the council and two outside agencies (Citizens Advice Bureau and the Law Centre) to a single commissioned service operating in each township. This commissioned service would be a new service, meaning the Council would no longer provide an in house advice service, and mean potential significant changes to the Citizens Advice Bureau and Rochdale Law Centre.

Recently the demand for advice services has increased as a result of the economic downturn, but we cannot afford to increase our service in its current form, so we need to look at a different way of working.  The main proposals involve introducing eligibility criteria to receive advice services, for example a need to prevent homelessness, and having outreach sessions in the most economically deprived areas.  Appointments will be held in libraries and initial work will be done over the phone, including making appointments.  People will also be referred from social care and health colleagues.

By introducing eligibility criteria, we will ensure that people who need the service most will still be able to receive it and encourage people who are able to help themselves or access other sources of information, eg online, to do so.

The indicative saving for this proposal is £270,000

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.

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Interests

  • £64 Million Question
  • Savings Proposals