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Helping more people towards a brighter future 2018 /19

avis burjysi kernow

We had more than 69,000 visits to our website

CONTENTS Map of offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 – 7 What is Citizens Advice Cornwall? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8– 9

Our advisers helped people write-off £5.4 million in unmanageable debt

Lizzie’s story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10  Martin’s story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2018-19 in pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 – 13 Volunteering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Volunteer story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 How Citizens Advice helps people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Our projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Macmillan Cancer Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18–19 MADSAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 How you can help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21  Vicitim support & Help to claim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22  Childrens centres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Financial capability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24–25 Research and Campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 – 29 Financial overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30–31 Outcomes for the year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Why people came to see us & How people contact us. . . . 33 Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 The client experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Top benefit issues and age range of clients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Our value to society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 The Future for Citizens Advice Cornwall . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 – 39

www.citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20



Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


Foreword from John Baker, Chair of Trustees Citizens Advice Cornwall has had another busy year, providing support for 8,567 clients on 39,470 occasions. The range of issues people contact us about is far reaching, including benefits, debt, housing and legal problems. Universal Credit has been increasingly raised as an issue. The organisation was chaired by Gill Pipkin until she stood down in November 2018, when I took over to guide the charity through a challenging period. We still face challenges related to reduction in funding from Cornwall Council and a challenging arena for charities. The Trustees and I work closely with our management team to ensure we remain viable and play a key role in supporting our community. During the year, a team of volunteers, staff and trustees met to establish a strategy to meet the challenges. This mirrors our ambition to position CA Cornwall as a strategic partner and deliverer for the future. CA Cornwall relies on the knowledge, commitment and sheer hard work of staff and volunteers and it’s a testament to them that client feedback is so positive. The real difference made to our clients is immense, and although we try to express it in monetary value, the benefit to the health and wellbeing of people is immeasurable. Sadly the Children’s Centre work came to an end this year, but the Help to Claim project provided posts for some of the team and also welcomed new members.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

We’ve added extra resource to Quality Assurance and Finance, and a new service delivery post to ensure consistency across the county. We’ve lost some long standing volunteers who will be sadly missed. However, our recruitment drive is providing some great new volunteers, some of whom have already moved into paid work with us. We thank those who have left for their hard work, support and commitment to keeping the service running. Research and Campaigns continues as a core part of the service, gathering information on issues that impact our clients and using it to provide valuable research to campaign for change. Our Rural Access report was well received locally and nationally, and will help inform future decision making. We continue to offer the Debt Advice Project funded by the Money Advice Service, helping the most vulnerable clients through a stressful time. Our partnership with Macmillan continues at The Cove at Royal Cornwall Hospital, ensuring we provide essential support for cancer patients. We run Pensionwise with Plymouth Citizens Advice, providing guidance to over-50s on how to manage their pension. The Police and Crime Commissioners Office funds us to offer help to victims of crime. In 2018/19, CA Cornwall relied heavily on the support of the Strategic and Finance Teams at national Citizens Advice to help us restructure – they have proved extremely helpful and supportive. The charity is in a strong place now, with ambitions to grow and play a key role in the provision of support services in Cornwall. Central to all our decisions is what’s best for our clients and ensure that we can provide support when and where needed. Regards John Baker, Chair of Trustees

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


WHAT IS CITIZENS ADVICE CORNWALL? Citizens Advice Cornwall is part of the wider family of Citizens Advice charities which celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2019. The organisation exists to offer free, independent and impartial advice to everyone to help them solve their problems and improve their lives – from mobile phone subscriptions to problems at work and from Universal Credit benefit applications to debt relief and homelessness – we’re here to help everyone regardless of race, class, religion, politics or sexual identity. All the advice we give is confidential, accurate and up-to-date. Working with a team of more than a hundred dedicated, passionate and highly trained staff and volunteer advisers, Citizens Advice has nine offices across the county and outreach centres from Bude to St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly. As an organisation, we value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. Our twin aims are to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that impact on people’s lives, bringing concerns common to large numbers of people to the attention of local and national government. Our general advice service is the bedrock activity of CA Cornwall and powered by our dedicated volunteers. This is delivered across the county through our text and call back service and our local offices and outreach facilities.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Each of our offices offers telephone advice, face-to-face assessment interviews and, where needed, face-to-face sessions. We also have a number of specialist teams developed with partners, which you can read about in this report. You can find details of all our offices and opening times at citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk

CITIZENS ADVICE 80TH ANNIVERSARY 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the national Citizens Advice organisation. The idea of a Citizens Advice Bureaux, as it was known then, was first discussed in 1935 when the Government was beginning to think about the possibility of a welfare state. In 1938, with war looming, the role focussed on meeting the needs of the civilian population in wartime. The day after war was declared, on 3 September 1939, the first 200 bureaux opened their doors and there were more than 1,000 offices by 1942. Common issues included the loss of ration books, homelessness and evacuations; missing relatives and prisoners of war. After the war, funding was cut and the number of bureaux halved. The bureaux in Cornwall were closed at this time. The service continued thanks to charitable trusts and in 1972, the first Cornwall bureaux was re-established. The service eventually grew to six independent charities. In 2009, these charities merged to form Citizens Advice Cornwall. Today, the Citizens Advice service operates from 3,400 community locations across England and Wales, run by 360 registered charities. Each local Citizens Advice is part of the national network. . Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


Case study

Case study

Lizzie attended one of our drop-in sessions and said she was distressed and worried about a debt she could not get rid of. She told us she didn’t want her children to be left paying off what she owed and didn’t want them to know about the debt.

Martin suffers from multiple sclerosis and had to transfer from his existing Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independence Payments.

Lizzie’s Story

She was referred to our specialist advice team (MASDAP) The 66-year-old was living alone in council accommodation and was suffering from a long-term illness. She was in receipt of benefits, including housing benefit. She had one debt to a catalogue company for £3,000. She was paying £143 per month but £124 of that was charges imposed by the company. Her debt was only going down by £18 a month and would take her 16 years to pay off. Lizzie’s surplus income after essential costs was just £73 a month. Our advisers asked the company to freeze their interest and charges and accept a payment of £73 a month which would cause less stress to Lizzie and allow her to clear the debt in four years. The company were very reluctant to do this, so we pointed out official guidance on treating customers with forbearance and asked them for a response we could forward to the Financial Ombudsman.

Martin’s Story

He assumed that having a lifetime award for these benefits, filling-in the form would be a simple, straightforward process but at his assessment he was granted zero points for mobility, which meant he was going to lose his Mobility car which he was totally reliant on to travel to medical appointments or social activities. At this stage, Martin came to see one of our advisers who was able to help him with the forms for his appeal and advice on how he should approach the process. As a result, he achieved a successful outcome at the hearing and has been able to keep his Mobility vehicle. Martin said: “Thank you so much for your amazing help with my PIP claim - I could not have done it without your knowledge and experience. I have been awarded an Enhanced score for mobility after scoring zero at my assessment - thank you again you were brilliant!” The client’s name has been changed to protect confidentiality.

The company then agreed to accept our offer and said they would consider backdating the freezing of interest and charges if Lizzie could provide evidence of her medical condition. She was able to send them documents about her health going back three years and the company decided to remove £204 of charges and £3,700 worth of interest so the account was now zero with no more to pay. Lizzie was delighted that the burden of debt had been lifted from her shoulders. The client’s name has been changed to protect confidentiality.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


2018 – 2019 IN PICTURES

Citizens Advice staff and volunteers celebrated International Women’s Day with this social media action in our Camborne office.

As part of Scams Awareness Month, Citizens Advice held information stands at Barclays and Santander bank branches throughout the county, including this event in Penzance.

Citizens Advice staff and volunteers attended a wide range of community events to publicise our services. Here, volunteer adviser, Penny Young, is at a community awareness event in Penzance.

Chief Executive, Gill Pipkin and Debt Advice Project lead, David Ogden, held an awareness raising stand for councillors at County Hall, Truro.

New CA adviser, Martin Nutt, who works in Liskeard, receives his training completion certificate from Service Manager, Becky Moore.

VOLUNTEERING All sorts of people of all ages and backgrounds volunteer with us for many different reasons, but one thing our volunteers tell us is that volunteering with their local Citizens Advice is enjoyable, rewarding, challenging and varied. Our volunteers – whether advisers, admin staff, researchers, fundraisers or trustees – are invaluable for the delivery of our projects and services.

Monetary contribution of volunteer hours

£422,511 Volunteers contributing to the service

121 Volunteer hours


VOLUNTEER STORY Heather Paxton became a volunteer advisor for Citizens Advice in 1997 and 22 years later is still helping people overcome their issues. Heather trained in the Truro office as a debt specialist after doing a degree as a mature student. “I didn’t want a paid job and Citizens Advice looked like a good option,” said Heather. “Of all the volunteer opportunities out there, it is probably one of the most challenging but also one of the most rewarding. “As a debt specialist, there is always something you can do to help people’s situations. There is always a solution of some sort and I love the process of getting the client through the process to a final outcome. There is huge satisfaction in helping someone through their problems. “We get a lot of referrals from drug and alcohol projects, women’s centres and refugees because often they also have issues dealing with debts. “Volunteering here at Citizens Advice is like being with a second family. Many of us have trained together and we share a lot of things and often socialise outside of the office as well.”


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20



The end result of this appointment was an increase in income by £50 per week which meant Bethany was able to afford to live and provide for her family. She was also left completely debt free which improved her anxiety to a point that she felt able to increase her hours slightly at work and dedicate more time to her family and social life.

Bethany arrived for her appointment with us anxious and distressed.


She had received a letter threatening committal to prison following a failure to provide information to the court. She is a single parent of three children, working part-time and claiming benefits. We completed our debt appointment and gave Bethany the option of a Debt Relief Order (DRO). She had no assets, a shortfall of around £180 per calendar month and debts of around £10,000. She was struggling to cover her priority commitments like rent and Council Tax so a payment plan was never going to work. We first addressed the shortfall as there is little point in dealing with the debts if the client cannot manage her priority commitments. We checked her benefit entitlement and discovered Bethany’s Housing Benefit award was incorrect because they were only paying for two children. They had asked the client for proof of her Tax Credit award but she never provided it so the claim had never been paid for the third child. Once this was rectified, the Housing Benefit award increased by around £50 per week. No backdated amount was due because the error lay with the client. This was useful in this case as a lump sum would have added complications to the DRO and would not have been substantial enough to leave her debt free. We called the court and explained what we were doing. They put the account on hold and asked for a copy of the debtors notice to be emailed to them. They confirmed no further action would be taken if the DRO goes through. We managed to obtain a copy of the client’s credit report online and she used her food money to pay the DRO fee. We gave the client a food bank voucher to cover this loss. The DRO was submitted and approved the next day.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

The number of clients accessing Citizens Advice-run projects across Cornwall has increased again this year. Details of funding can be found in our annual accounts. MASDAP (Money Advice Service Debt Advice Project): Provides paid specialist debt case workers across the county and is funded by the Government’s Money Advice Service. Macmillan Cancer Care and Support: Funds case workers to provide specialist welfare benefits advice to anyone who has, or has had, a cancer diagnosis. The team covers the county and works out of the Cove Macmillan Support Centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. Children’s Centres (Family Hubs): Funding from Cornwall Council allows us to provide advice and support to families from 14 children’s centres with three paid advisers. This project ended in April 2019. Energy Best Deal Extra: Funds supervision of advisers to deliver 100 advice appointments about relief from fuel poverty. Pension Wise: Free, unbiased guidance to clients, aged 50-plus, with a defined contribution pension pot. Covers what the new pension freedoms mean and retirement options but not financial advice. Financial Capability: Financial Capability (Fincap) aims to improve the level of financial skills in the population, especially the more vulnerable, to help prevent the problems that can result from poor money management and financial decision making. CA Cornwall is the Fincap lead for the Devon and Cornwall region and works with partner organisation across the area Victim Care Unit: Advice for victims of crime, ranging from welfare benefits and employment to housing, relationship breakdown, domestic violence and debt. Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


MACMILLIAN CANCER SUPPORT The Citizens Advice Cornwall Macmillan Project provides welfare benefits and grant advice countywide to people diagnosed with cancer including families and carers.

We work with other Macmillan professionals in Cornwall to provide further support to those affected by cancer. We are able to make Macmillan grant applications on behalf of our clients. People undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment should not have the additional worry of how to pay for absolute basics and Macmillan grants help towards the cost of vital essentials and practical household items. In the last year the project secured £27,933 in Macmillan grants and gained welfare benefits totalling £1.5 million on behalf of clients.

The project is based at the dedicated cancer support centre at The Cove, Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

The project has drop-in sessions and appointments at The Cove. For further information please contact us on 01872-256373.

Having a cancer diagnosis can dramatically affect someone’s financial circumstances.

What People Said About our Macmillan team:

Not being able to work, needing to reduce working hours or managing on a fixed income can mean having to make financial choices which increases the stress and worry at an already difficult time.

“Just to say a massive thank you for all your help with the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) claim - it will be a godsend! Thanks for all your time and effort.”

Daily living costs can increase - travelling to hospital for treatment; higher heating bills because they are home more and have increased sensitivity to feeling the cold due to treatment; dietary requirements can change, weight gain or loss so clothes no longer fit properly; having additional child care costs or they may need help around their home.

“Thank you for your highly professional help. Thank you for taking care of me through my journey fighting the cancer.”

All this can put a huge financial strain on someone at a time when they should be focusing on their treatment and recovery. The project is run by three Citizens Advice Cornwall Macmillan professionals supported by five volunteers. We aim to maximise a client’s income to help lessen the financial impact and we advise and support clients to help them to make informed choices. We provide a service that helps a client negotiate the benefits system. We identify which benefits and grants may be applicable, help with welfare benefits claims and can assist in challenging welfare benefit decisions. 18

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

“I could not have managed the PIP claim without your help, it has made a big difference, thank you.”

PENSIONWISE Citizens Advice Cornwall provides free, unbiased guidance to clients who are aged 50-plus with a defined contribution pension pot. Guidance covers what the new pension freedoms mean and retirement options but does not provide financial advice. Confidential face-to-face appointments are available at locations across Cornwall with an experienced specialist adviser. Pension Wise is a Government-funded service and appointments usually last 45 to 60 minutes. During the session, we will explain your pension options, explain how each option is taxed and give you next steps to take. All guidance is impartial and we don’t recommend any products or companies or tell you how to invest your money. Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20



HOW YOU CAN HELP THE WORK OF CITIZENS ADVICE You can help Citizens Advice continue the important work it does for everyone in the community by making a donation.

CA Cornwall employs 4.5 full-time equivalent specialist debt caseworkers who work across the county and Isles of Scilly, helping people find a way out of their financial problems.

Citizens Advice Cornwall is a charity, and we rely on grants and donations to keep going.

Funded by the Government’s Money Advice Service, the team provides advice on strategies for debt, including payment plans, full and final settlement, bankruptcy, Debt Relief Orders and Individual Voluntary Agreements.

You can donate to us via the donate button on the homepage of our website at www.citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk or you can now use Easy Fundraising. Every time you spend online with a wide range of businesses, they will donate money to your chosen charity, which now includes Citizens Advice Cornwall. Signing-up is free and easy and the businesses taking part include household names such and Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Debenhams, Amazon, eBay and John Lewis.

Our skilled advisers can arrange confidential face-to-face appointments advice in Saltash, Liskeard, Newquay, Bodmin, Falmouth, Camborne and Penzance or talk to clients on the phone.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque payable to Citizens Advice Cornwall to Donations, Finance Department, Citizens Advice Cornwall, 21 Dean Street, Liskeard PL14 4AB.

They never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation and will always be happy to talk to you, however big or small your problem may be.

Finally, you could also consider nominating Citizens Advice Cornwall as the chosen charity for your workplace.

In 2018/19 we helped 1,650 clients with debt issues, helping them write-off a total of £4.5m in debt and reschedule a further £1m.

The team can help find ways to manage your debts even if you think you have no spare money and suggest ways to deal with debts that you might not know about.

However small your donation, your money will be used to help people living locally in your community.

We have five Debt Relief Order intermediaries and two volunteer intermediaries in Truro. This is a significant feature of our work as the criteria for a DRO suits many of our clients: debts under £20k, surplus income under £50 per month, not a homeowner and no significant assets (cars valued under £1000 are exempt).


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


VICTIM SUPPORT The Specialist advisers work on a confidential basis with victims as part of the Victim Care Unit, established by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall. The unit, run by Devon and Cornwall Police, provides immediate support and referral on to organisations such as Citizens Advice with consent. It acts as a source of immediate support and information for all victims and has a mix of police and third sector specialists. Citizens Advice Cornwall is accredited as one of a network of providers which can offer support and advice to victims. The Victim Care Unit helps victims navigate and make informed choices about the organisation they want to receive support from and how to access the service.

HELP TO CLAIM The new government-funded Help To Claim project was launched in April 2019. The new service will provide advice and support to vulnerable clients who are considering applying for Universal Credit. The project will be based across Cornwall operating at seven Citizens Advice offices and four Job Centre Plus locations. The advisers will offer their support on the telephone, through webchat or at face-to-face meetings with the client. There are seven part-time and four full-time staff employed by the project. It is funded by Department for Work and Pensions and is the biggest project ever undertaken by Citizens Advice nationally.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Universal Credit differs from legacy benefits because claims are made and maintained online and no longer by attending a local Jobcentre. This digital format presents barriers for an estimated 20% of the population who are unable to undertake the process by themselves for a variety of reasons including disability, illiteracy, homelessness, internet unavailability or who may not have or be able to use a computer/smartphone. This new format for claiming benefits can put strain on people who may already have disorder in their lives and who can feel intimidated by the process. The Help To Claim team will assist those clients making new Universal Credit claims and those who have to move from legacy benefits. For those clients who have the choice to apply for Universal Credit or remain on legacy benefits, then the Help To Claim team will look at their options and advise as to which benefit would be better for the client allowing them to make an informed choice.

CHILDREN’S CENTRES (FAMILY HUBS) 2018/19 marked the final year of our successful programme offering an advice service from Cornwall Council’s Family Hubs across the county. The service provided parents with the help and support they needed in a safe space for their children. The project provided advisers who worked closely with their colleagues in the Children’s Centre to deliver advice in the heart of their communities.

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


FINANCIAL CAPABILITY Financial Capability (Fincap) aims to improve the level of financial skills in the population - especially the more vulnerable - to help prevent the problems that result from poor money management and financial decision making. Citizens Advice Cornwall is the Fincap lead for the Devon and Cornwall region and works with partner organisation across the area to share information and good practice supporting both clients and frontline workers. Fincap activities this year have included organising quarterly Fincap forums in Truro and Plymouth, which draw attendance from right across Devon and Cornwall. Speakers have included Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council representatives on the subject of Council Tax collection; Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team talking about their work in combating Loan Sharks; Barclays Bank and their work in helping to combat financial scams and in particular how they will deal with the changes to banking practice which will place a greater onus on banks to refund money that customers lose to scams if it can be shown that they have not been negligent.

College and in September 2019 will be delivering similar sessions to students at Callington College. We will be piloting a new service later this year, to deliver pretenancy money management training to prospective tenants of Ocean housing association. If successful, the programme will be rolled out to all new Ocean tenants and indications are that there is interest from other social landlords in offering similar schemes. In future we hope to add a third pillar to the twin CA aims of Advice and Campaigns - namely PREVENTION. This fits well with our remit to equip people of all ages and levels of society with the skills to avoid the problems from poor money management and unwise financial decisions. We are seeking funding to work with one of the most vulnerable groups in society who have some of the worst social and financial life outcomes; this group are known as NEETs, aged between 16 and 24 and Not in Education, Employment or Training. We are planning to work in collaboration with two charities that support them, Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change and Carefree Cornwall,

We have continued to provide financial education to students at Launceston


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


RESEARCH AND CAMPAIGNS Citizens’ Advice offers free independent and impartial advice to the public. It is important to ensure that the advice we give is well researched and founded on good evidence. The Cornwall Campaigning Action Group (CCAG) aims to provide that evidence. CCAG consists of Community Researchers and Campaign Coordinators based in offices around the county. Over the last 12 months CCAG has participated in national campaigns including Scams Awareness, Big Energy Saving Week, National Consumer Week, Stop Loan Sharks, the need for Bailiff Reform, and problems with Universal Credit. We have also undertaken a number of investigations focussing on local issues with regular meetings with Truro and Falmouth MP, Sarah Newton, who received monthly reports on our activities. In addition, all Cornish MPs received copies of CA press releases, the Annual Report and a variety of other reports.

OUR CAMPAIGNS Knock-on Effects of Consumer Problems We participated in this national project about the effects on people’s health, well-being and finances, of problems relating to defective goods or deficient services. Our focus was on problems affecting elderly and disabled people. Rural Access Report This is a follow-up to our report ‘Remote Access’ published in May 2010. It is about issues around the provision of services and transport in rural locations in Cornwall. Our investigation received extensive media coverage including items on BBC Radio 4, ITV Westcountry and local radio stations. It also featured in the Citizens’ Advice national research and campaigns newsletter. Digital Exclusion in Libraries Many people have little or no access to digital resources, which is increasingly important as many Government and public transactions, such as benefits claims, are moving online. We measured the extent of digital exclusion by carrying out a survey in local libraries about their own experience. Survey of Banks and Job Centres We took part in a national survey of banks and job centres to explore how access to banking and benefits for homeless people can be improved.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


Research into PIP (Personal Independence Payment) We are currently identifying some of the difficulties faced by people with autism (especially Asperger’s Syndrome) and other mental health issues when they attempt to claim support to which they are entitled. Issues can arise when people have to go for assessments and feel they are not treated fairly. Research into Zero Hours Contracts We are looking at the ways that non-traditional contracts can affect workers’ well-being whilst accepting that for some people these contracts may provide convenience and flexibility. This is a current project and we aim to publish results at the end of 2019.

Researching Social Policy Issues As mentioned at the outset, the success of our campaigns depends on sound evidence. We greatly appreciate the effort volunteers put into recording information on our Evidence Forms (EF’s). This makes our work possible. Without evidence we have nothing. From April 2018 to end of March 2019 we processed 894 EF’s. 150 related to Universal Credit, 123 to DLA (Disability Living Allowance) and PIP, 122 related to Benefits and Tax Credits, (including ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), 116 related to Housing, 92 related to Employment and 75 on debt.

Media Coverage There was extensive media coverage throughout the year on a range of topics including those featured in the national campaigns above and also ‘Better Budgeting’; CA Cornwall gains £3.6 million for local people; the Land Registry’s gift of 60 computers to us; top 12 tips for Christmas; our Annual Report and forthcoming celebrations of 80 years of Citizens Advice.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20



Camborne – We have now moved the MASDAP (Debt Advice Service) team and the IT Manager back to Camborne which is working well. We have also secured two rooms for the new Help to Claim service ready for launch in April, 2019. Penzance – We now have a lease for our Alverton Street offices until 2028.

Financial Overview Our funding from Cornwall Council continues and will reduce by £20k for 2019/20 and a further £20k reduction for 2020/21 where it will remain for 2021/22. Preparation for the new Help to Claim (Universal Credit) service began in January with funding from central government to enable recruitment, training, equipment, set-up salaries and overheads for the launch in April, 2019. Other projects continue but from April, the funding from Cornwall Council for the Children’s Centres service is being discontinued.

IT Capacity Prior to the Help to Claim launch, we have been given 18 Chrome Book laptop computers and nine colour printers for client use to make their on line claims. These have been installed prior to 1 April, 2019.



Our Buildings/Offices Liskeard – The windows at the front of the building were discovered to be rotting so required major repair at the beginning of the year. Bodmin – The service continues to be delivered from Cornwall Council’s Chy Trevail offices in the town, although this is not proving to be satisfactory and the search for more suitable premises continues.


Comic Relief




Cornwall Council Children’s Centres

Financial Capability



Devon & Cornwall Police & Crime Commissioner

Investment Funds

Help to Claim (Set up £26,035 and 1st Quarter £75,000 in advance)

£101,035 30

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


Pension Wise

Newquay – The refurbishment and decoration of the town library, where our service is located, was completed. Truro – The re-arrangement of office space took place in May 2018. Truro City Council are due to take over control of the building at some point in 2019.

Money Advisory Service Debt Advice Project MASDAP




Other Income



Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20




Income Gain

£3,360,360 Debt Written Off

£5,472,168 Repayment Re-scheduled

£1,625,175 Client’s Main Debt Arrears Water Bills

Council Tax





Catalogue/Mail Order

Unsecure Loans



Tax Credit Overpayments

Credit Cards

£244,000 32



Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20




As a charity offering advice to the public and a strong campaigning voice, communications is a vital part of Citizens Advice Cornwall’s work.

The client experience survey is an automated survey administered by national Citizens Advice. If a client tells us they’re happy to be contacted by SMS or email, Citizens Advice will use this survey to ask them about their experience of our service. Clients are contacted by email or text after they have received advice. The Data, Impact and Evaluation teams at national Citizens Advice manage the client survey and analyse and assess the responses. Then they report the results back to us at Citizens Advice Cornwall. The results for 2018-19 indicate Citizens Advice Cornwall continues to provide a high level of client satisfaction.

In addition to the citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk website, we’re also active on Twitter and Facebook and increasingly visible in the media as well. In 2018-19 our stories appeared on regional TV, local radio, newspapers, websites and magazines – from BBC Spotlight to Radio Scilly and from The Cornish Times in South East Cornwall to The Cornishman in Penwith. We carried out 13 radio interviews and were featured on TV three times. Our stories appeared 14 times in print media and 20 times online. We issued press releases on a wide range of subjects – from Scams Awareness and changes to Universal Credit to Christmas debt and our 80th anniversary. We continue to grow our following on Facebook and Twitter and in 2018-19, we had 69,100 visits to our website, up from 49,000 the previous year.


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20




OUR VALUE TO SOCIETY In 2018/19 for every £1 invested in the Citizens Advice Cornwall service we generated at least: £2.81 in savings to government and public services (fiscal benefits)

£11.43 in wider economic and social benefits (public value)

By helping stop problems occurring or escalating, we reduce the pressure on public services such as health, housing or our-of-work benefits. Total £2.6 million

Solving problems improves lives – and this means better wellbeing, participation and productivity for people we help. Total £12.3 million

£18.80 in value to the people we help (financial outcomes following advice) Through our advice, we can increase people’s income. We can help them get debts written-off, take up benefits they’re entitled to or get compensation for their consumer problems. Total £18.0 million


Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


Citizens Advice Cornwall: Looking forward to 2019-20

OUR THANKS TO • Cornwall Council • Money Advisory Service • Pensionwise • Macmillan Cancer Care

In 2018/19, work focussed on adjusting to funding reductions under our agreement with Cornwall Council, the loss of the Children’s Centre Project, and launching the Help to Claim team. To succeed in winning future contracts, it is essential that CA Cornwall strengthens and grows its network of partners so we can bid for larger and more lucrative projects with Citizens Advice as the lead or one of the lead organisations. We are positioning the service as being one of the key link partners in Cornwall. Our strong reputation is essential to ensure we remain a partner of choice and thus recruitment and retention of a quality team, together with consistent training and development remains fundamental to our future success. A reliable infrastructure of IT, telephony and systems support is essential to ensure the smooth running of the service, and work continues to provide this. We remain committed to providing the high quality service to clients our funders require. We continue to monitor our quality of advice and provide support and guidance to ensure it remains consistently good or excellent throughout the service. We continue to work towards providing services that our clients can access easily, through digital means or in person at our offices or where necessary at outreach centres. We will explore alternative routes for those who continue to find access difficult whether due to transport, connection to the internet or health issues. We are aware that future funding will be challenging and the arena for competing organisations is crowded. It is essential that

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall Also the following organisations who have generously funded us in 2017/18: Camborne Town Council, Polperro Community Council, Pancrasweek Parish Council. And all our volunteers, trustees and staff who help make Citizens Advice Cornwall such a valued service for all who live in the county. CONTACTING CITIZENS ADVICE CORNWALL • The best way to access our services is to text the word ADVICE to 78866 and we’ll call you back within 24 hours of the next working day. • Call us on 03444-111444 Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 4pm. This line can be very busy so please try again if you can’t get through on your first attempt or use the text service. Calls are charged at your provider’s normal rate. • Visit on of our offices during their drop-in sessions. Details at www.citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk • For our specialist Macmillan Cancer call 01872-256373 or email macmillan@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk • For consumer issues, please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454-040506 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. • If you’ve been the victim of an online scam or want to report an online scam contact our Scams Action advisers on 0300-330-3003.

Citizens Advice Cornwall becomes more pro-active in developing projects and working in partnership with other organisations in the future. Gill Pipkin – Chief Executive Officer 38

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20

Citizens Advice Cornwall Performance and Impact Report 2019/20


Citizens Advice Cornwall is a trading name of CAB Cornwall: a company registed in England. Company No. 04409017 Charity Registration No. 1096193 VAT No. 990 301 335 Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - FRN: 617531 Registered Office: 21 Dean Street, Liskeard, Cornwal, PL14 4AB September 2019

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Citizens Advice Bureau Cornwall 2019 Annual report  

Citizens Advice Bureau Cornwall 2019 Annual report