Early Spring Partners’ Briefing:

Client trends:

Total clients in quarter 3 were very slightly lower than in the previous quarter by 1.9%. This follows the seasonal pattern for Q3 which includes a shorter number of working weeks because of the holiday period. Last year’s seasonal dip was just over 8%, so this Q3 is notable in being such a modest Christmas dip. The steady rise in the number of issues for the number of clients which has been a pronounced feature over the post covid period continues, and evidences that people are presenting with more complex and interconnected sets of problems than was previously the case.

Continued pressure around the cost of living crisis remains a strong trend in this quarter with high increases in particular around utilities problems – this seeing almost double the usual rate of enquiry, and also the continued upwards pressure on the numbers of households that need charity and food bank help to survive. “Discretionary benefits”, such as Personal Independence Payments, Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit remain areas with strong increases in activity – very much following the national pattern. Similarly, the numbers of people with debt where there is a negative balance budget is growing, indicating that the impact of the cost-of-living crisis is becoming ‘hard wired’ into households’ financial positions. The impact of national government interventions to support households through the crisis can also be seen in this quarter, but is only delaying modestly the impact on financial difficulty on households by a matter of a few weeks. (This is seen better in the national service’s week by week client profiling).

The total number of clients in quarter 3 was 4,065; of these they presented with 14,966 different advice problems. With money gained of £1,920,476 (up 7% compared to last quarter). Our online referral portal continued its success as over 28 different agencies made 674 referrals (an increase of 30% on last quarter). Agencies that want to join our online referral portal need to contact us to sign up – and in particular to set up the appropriate data sharing agreements.

Macmillan Advice Service:

We continue the work to set up our new advice and support service for people living with cancer in Salford, having now recruited for the two funded specialist caseworkers. This project is being supported by our work around raising awareness od cancer screening services in Salford.

New cost of living resources and section on our website:

We have created a comprehensive new section on our website to help people respond to the ongoing cost of living crisis – this connects to a range of useful national resources. It also forms part of Salford’s local partnership response to the crisis, and will be kept updated regularly. We are more than happy for other partners to link to the website, if you do want to do this, please do let us know so that we can be sure we are best able to support your people.

Volunteer recruitment campaign:

The covid pandemic has impacted on our volunteering programme, as has been the case for many volunteer-based services. We have been working hard over the last three months to ‘re-boot’ our volunteer recruiting, with a social media campaign running in November, January and February.  We are always keen to talk to any partners who might be able to help us in publicising our volunteering and adviser training programme.


Tom Togher

February 2023.