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Financial Well-being Service set to Continue

The Council is set to continue providing a debt, benefit and advice service for at least another two years.

It’s being recommended to Cabinet this week that another service is commissioned from April 2020, with the potential to extend it for an additional 12 months, once the current 30-month contract with the Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent expires.

In the last six months Citizens Advice has worked with 878 clients, dealing with 1,691 issues, with 100 residents receiving specialist services to support complex needs. The total amount of indebtedness presented was £797,494.

The Council has provided a financial support service for many years, using third sector commissioning funding, to prevent an increase in debt for residents while helping the most vulnerable people in the borough.

It’s proposed to set aside £210,000 over the next three years for a service focusing on early intervention and financial awareness to prevent escalation of issues. The specification focuses on access to self-help online support, as well as a telephone advice service, with outreach sessions offering face to face support for the most vulnerable clients.

Extending the contract would be subject to satisfactory performance and the availability of funding. The successful contractor will work with the Council to develop service delivery. At the same time the Council is looking to develop its own services.

Cllr. Stephen Sweeney, Cabinet member for finance and efficiency, said: “Although the Council doesn’t legally have to provide a financial well-being service for residents the evidence clearly shows that there is a high demand in the borough so we are pleased to carry on providing it. If we didn’t, this would impact on residents who may be vulnerable and facing difficulties dealing with debt, financial and benefit problems, as well as the local economy.”

Last updated 14 January 2020

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