About the Citizen Advice Service in Suffolk
The Citizens Advice Service provides free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on a wide range of issues, including:
- welfare benefits
- housing and homelessness
- debt advice
- family and personal issues
- immigration and nationality
- health and education
The nature of the assistance provided will depend on individual needs.
Suffolk is currently served by nine distinct local Citizens Advice charities (previously and also known as CAB), who provide their service in different geographical areas of our county. Each local Citizens Advice (CAB) is an independent registered charity and derives funding from local authorities such as the county and district councils, various corporate donors and charitable trusts.
Suffolk County Council are one of several organisations who fund local Citizens Advice (CAB), and the amount of that funding varies from one CAB to another, and to an extent, from one year to another.
In 2017/18, figures provided by CAB (see "Further reading" below) show that almost 22,000 people in Suffolk were given advice on more than 75,000 issues, with over 100,000 activities carried out on clients’ behalf (through face-to-face enquiries, e-mails, phone calls).
Why we are consulting
Suffolk County Council has to balance its budget every year and to do this in 2019/2020 the authority needs to find around £22 million. At the start of its budget process, the council identified £11.2 million of potential savings which included the proposal to remove the grants it gives to help part-fund Suffolk’s CABs.
The council currently provides, alongside other funders, an annual grant of £368,500 to support the local Citizens Advice (CAB) service in Suffolk.
Through the council’s scrutiny process, the proposal to remove this grant in 2019/2020 was revised to a phased reduction which would see the grant being halved to £184,250 in 2019/20, before being removed in 2020/21.
This consultation focuses on understanding how the proposed, and now revised changes to the local Citizens Advice (CAB) funding grant may affect Suffolk residents who come under one or more of the nine protected groups that form part of the Equality Act 2010 which covers:
- the Equal Pay Act 1970
- the Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- the Race Relations Act 1976
- the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- the Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
More information regarding the Equality Act 2010 can be found in the further reading section.
The results of the consultation will inform the council’s final decision on its budget, which will be made on 14 February 2019.
You can read the following:
- Pre-Decision Scrutiny of the 2019/20 budget including report presented by Suffolk CAB
- Equality Act 2010 – Protected Characteristics
Respond to the consultation
Have your say on this proposal to inform our final decision.
The consultation is open from 12 noon on 17 December 2018 to 5pm on 23 January 2019.
Paper versions are also available at all CAB offices and Suffolk Libraries.
For more information about this consultation or to request a paper version of the consultation questionnaire please phone 0345 603 1842.