When funders agree to support a local Citizens Advice Bureau, they're helping local communities access a wealth of services and resources delivered through Citizens Advice Scotland.
Expert help for bureau advisers
- We provide legal support through Law at Work
- We provide assistance to bureau money advisers in the form of both training and consultancy support through our MATRICS team
Information for advice-giving
We work with Citizens Advice in England and Wales to write and publish AdviserNet, our web-based information system.
AdviserNet is the source of the advice given by citizens advice bureaux to their clients.
We also provide the content for citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland, the Scottish part of the public advice site.
Information and Communications Technology
Citizens Advice Scotland is leading the way in the voluntary sector when it comes to using new technology.
All bureaux in Scotland were networked with a server and a fast internet connection in 2004. The benefits this brings include:
- Citizens Advice Scotland can provide a remote IT support service to our members
- web access to AdviserNet, our online information system, which is updated centrally
- appropriate sharing of resources such as files, including electronic case recording
- automated back-up of all of Citizens Advice Bureau data
- online access to a wealth of training and information resources written specifically for Scottish bureaux
The Citizens Advice Scotland Quality and Training Team makes sure that Scottish bureaux meet our conditions of membership.
We audit bureaux regularly to make sure that they are meeting the high standards necessary, in both advice-giving and organisational management, to be called a Citizens Advice Bureau and access the services Citizens Advice Scotland offers. We also help bureaux meet those standards.
Promoting the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau Service
We're working constantly to raise the profile of the Citizens Advice Bureau Service in Scotland, so that:
- we can make a difference to more peoples' lives through both advice provision aand social policy work
- we can recruit more staff and volunteers to continue our work
- existing and potential funders recognise the value of the service, and resource it appropriately
Social policy work
All Scottish bureaux provide Citizens Advice Scotland with statistics and case evidence about the clients that they see and the problems they have. This evidence is always anonymised to make it impossible for individuals to be identified from it.
We use this evidence to work with politicians, civil servants and commercial organisations to change the way that rules and regulations work and improve the lives of Scottish people.
Supporting bureau management
Each bureau is an independent and autonomous charity responsible for its own management, development and funding.
Our Development Team works with bureau managers and management committees to provide guidance and good practice models to make sure that the business of giving advice runs smoothly. This includes help in the critical areas of volunteer recruitment and the development of sustainable funding streams.
From training in employment tribunal representation to an introduction to computing, we've got it covered. Citizens Advice Scotland provides a training programme for bureau staff that is renowned in the voluntary sector and beyond. We cover all sorts of topics related to both the delivery of advice and the management of bureaux.
The quality of advice our staff and volunteers provide is vital. Our competency-based Adviser Training Programme helps set standards of advice-giving by supporting and developing our volunteers to become competent advisers through a staged, flexible process. Throughout their time in bureaux, advisers deliver the level of service that they're qualified to.
We are a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Award Centre too, and support bureaux in the delivery of SVQs locally for bureau workers seeking this external accreditation.
Around 35% of the volunteers that leave the CAB Service go on to paid work or full time education. We know that the knowledge, skills and confidence our volunteers gain through their training in bureaux are key factors in making this possible.