Citizens Advice Salford Partners’ Briefing – Summer:

Quarter 4 Client Summary:

The total number of clients advised for our quarter 4 which includes January, February, and March, was 4,463 with some 14,524 separate issues or problems. This is a modest fall on the previous quarter, reflecting both a continued stabilising of the pandemic crisis, as well as being a product in part of the decision to maintain a number of the national forbearance measures – such as the furlough scheme, the universal credit uplift, the ban on private sector evictions as well as the ongoing financial sector forbearance strategies. It should be noted that these are all due to end over the next months.

Compared to quarter 4 last year there have been significant increases in housing (up 47%), consumer (up 34%), food & charitable support (up 43%) and most significantly, bereavement (up 97%). I think it is useful to explain, that this means we supported 68 extra families where somebody had died this quarter, than this time last year, and just over 200 extra families this year where a death – for any reason has occurred.

We had 24,421 website hits (an increase of 11% on last quarter), and 244 translation of website sessions (an increase of 20% on last quarter). Our website and digital services offer remains in a steady upward path. 

Broughton ward is the top area for where are clients live – this quarter, with Langworthy and Ordsall next, as was the case for the previous quarter. 

The full year in summary:

Our reporting year end on March 31st, and the total client count for the year was 18,458 clients. We have already reported that the year saw significant shifts in the type of enquiry – with employment, universal credit, housing, health and care all rising – and debt and other benefits falling because of sustained forbearance measures. We will produce a separate more detailed analysis of this in the next weeks. We are also currently analysing the client demographics over this period, as well as doing some work to compare this to national and regional trends.

Debt Breathing Space introduction:

A major development in May of this year has been the introduction of the new breathing space scheme whereby people in debt who are being advised and helped through debt management plans by regulated debt advice agencies can apply for all action to be suspended for 60 days as debt management plans are set up. Whilst we very much welcome this new scheme, it has involved a great deal of extra work for us – as the city’s largest debt advice provider. Much of this work being in earlier months.

Homelessness Commission – Homeless Voices:

We have been happy to support the work to establish a new homelessness commission – now called Homeless Voices, to give better expression to the views of people who are homeless or have been homeless in the city, as well as to act as a forum for the services that support them.

Heathy Start Voucher Take Up Campaign:

We agreed a proposal to run a take up campaign for the heathy start scheme, working in partnership with Salford Food Share Network. This was launched in April – and our expectation is that over the next five years we will be able to improve take up by 20% points, representing more than two thirds of a million pounds in extra benefits for the purchase of fresh food and milk for Salford’s poorest families. We will also be working with colleagues across Greater Manchester to bult a city regional aspect to this work over the next few years.

 

Tom Togher

June 4, 2021.