Citizens Advice Salford
Partners’ Briefing – Spring:
Quarter 3 Client Summary:
Our quarter 3, including October, November, and December, had a client count of 4,760 (7% rise on quarter 2) with 16,281 different issues (a 3% rise on this time last year, showing that clients’ advice needs are slightly more complex year on year.)
This included the second lockdown period, the special ongoing Greater Manchester restrictions and then the tier 3 restrictions.
Quarter 3 sees a continuing trend around increased housing (56%), employment (128%), relationship (60%), Immigration advice* (50%), and significantly Charitable Assistance support – including food bank use (338%); as compared to this time last year. (*Immigration enquiries have been impacted by EU Settlement Scheme issues.)
Our overall client volumes are running at just about 95% of usual volumes, despite the rises in the categories mentioned above. Categories such as debt have in broad terms been slightly lower than usual because of the various national forbearance measures that continue to be in place. We also think that there has been a reduction in complex benefits issues (appeals etc) as staff and resources in the DWP have been moved to support the spike in Universal Credit claims.
Website hits are running at 21,964, an increase of 22% on the last quarter.
Broughton ward is the top area for where are clients live – this quarter, with Langworthy and Ordsall next.
Total recorded actual money gains for the quarter are £1.9 million.
We do not include figures from our Help to Claim (Universal Credit) service, as during the current pandemic this is operating essentially as a national provision.
Our services have continued to be disrupted because of various systems of Covid restrictions, ending in a return to virtual lock down towards the end of the year, and then lockdown proper. We had restored a mix of normal working supported with ongoing additional virtual phone centre support – meaning that face to face services had been restored throughout Salford’s network of Gateway centres. We are grateful for the support and help of our colleagues in the council for their work in facilitating our early return.
It remains our intention as soon as the current lockdown is lifted to return to the Gateway centres as soon as is possible.
Funding for the Greater Manchester Citizens Advice Kickstart scheme – in partnership with 10GM (the representative body for the local Greater Manchester CVS organisations) has been secured for the only Real Living Wage kickstart programme in Greater Manchester – and we are pleased to be a member of this partnership, along with our local partners – Salford CVS, creating extra Real Living Wage jobs in Salford.
Greater Manchester Benefits Take Up work:
We continued to support the development of a series of Greater Manchester based benefit take up plans, as well as supporting the current Pension Credit take up campaign – organised be The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub.
Homelessness Commission for Salford:
Work is well underway to relaunch Salford’s homelessness commission. The new commission – which is likely to be called something else quite soon, is aimed at better blending the experience of people using homelessness services and the experience of voluntary and community sector organisations that provide services, with the aim of improving those services for people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
Citizens Advice National Conference:
This year’s Citizens Advice National conference was held online. The National Association of Citizens Advice is a separate charity with some 280 odd different local Citizens Advice Bureaux making up the membership of the national association. The Citizens Advice national conference is the main opportunity each year for the whole movement to come together, discuss developments, and support the making of policy for the organisation.
Working with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to Share Data:
Over the least year, we have been working with our fellow Greater Manchester Bureaux, and our National Association’s central data team to look at ways we might be able to share high level trends data with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership – to help it improve its policy making. No individual client data is being shared.
Work around the Feeding Salford plan has continued through this period, including measure to restore service gaps that developed around Little Hulton, as well as support to new food clubs being developed. A single gateway to food clubs has been piloted. Work is underway to improve the take up of healthy start vouchers. In the next quarter support for the development of culturally appropriate responses to communities with specific dietary needs is being developed, along with providing support for a considerably expanded Salford Healthy Holidays programme this year.
February 16, 2021.