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Advice Services

Hertfordshire Adviceline

The ten local citizens advice services across Hertfordshire work together to provide a joint telephone adviceline. It’s open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and offers an advice service over the telephone to those who prefer to contact us in this way or those unable to make it into our face-to-face drop-in services. In the event that a face-to-face or telephone call back appointment is required the caller will be transferred to their local service. The majority of callers receive the information they require over the telephone from our highly trained volunteer advisers. In 2015/16 across the county we answered 19,000 calls to our adviceline.

Drop-in Advice Sessions

Each local service offers drop-in advice sessions across the county. Check the website of your local service for up-to-date times and locations.

Hertfordshire Citizens Advice British Sign Language Service

This service has been set up to provide advice in British Sign Language (BSL) and Sign Supported English (SSE) to Deaf people across the whole of Hertfordshire. The dedicated adviser is able to provide a parallel service on issues such as debt, housing, employment and benefits to Deaf people that would currently be provided to hearing people.

The BSL adviser has been seeing clients since 1st July 2014 following recruitment and training.

During 2015 Adrian saw 105 unique clients. As the project continues it has been found that, with the limited services available to Deaf people, they do return for further appointments often with a different issue some time later. Based on the current figures, the average number of appointments per client is 5.8, demonstrating a high level of engagement with the service.

Welwyn Hatfield Citizens Advice are continuing to raise the profile of the service by providing talks to deaf clubs, youth groups (those with young adults) and liaising with social services and charities. For more information on this project email adrians6@whcab.org.uk

Apprenticeships

Last year, for the first time, the 10 Citizens Advice services across Hertfordshire were able to offer apprenticeships funded by Hertfordshire County Council. These apprentices join one of the local Citizens Advice offices as a trainee and work towards a new Level 3 qualification in providing legal information and advice

Alice Loukaides works at the Citizens Advice in Stevenage, where she has recently completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Advice. With support and guidance from her colleagues, her confidence and skills have grown and she is now looking forward to a bright future within the legal advice sector. Here’s her story so far.

What did your role as an apprentice at Stevenage Citizens Advice entail? I started with some telephone training for the advice line, which allowed me to become more familiar with the role. After developing my advice work, I undertook more training to become a gateway assessor; this involved seeing clients face-to-face, rather than speaking on the telephone. Then, after my full training, I became a full advice generalist adviser, which meant I was able to carry out full advice appointments.

What does your current job entail? My current job role has developed slightly from the apprenticeship role. Although I’m no longer advising through the gateway service, I’m still advising clients on a daily basis. My current workload includes working with our Stevenage Borough Housing team, which assists Stevenage Borough Council tenants with their issues.

What was your personal highlight of the apprenticeship?
My personal highlight was being able to work with so many knowledgeable colleagues and volunteers at Citizens Advice. They taught me a lot during my apprenticeship and supported me during my time as an adviser. I also have a very supportive management team which has assisted me throughout the whole process, which I really appreciated.

“During the last year, Alice has helped over 700 people singlehandedly. This represents nearly 10 per cent of our clients across the whole organisation; we have 80 volunteers and 30 staff, so this shows you how well she has done. Not only that, she has now secured a full time role in the organisation, which is a result of her hard work.”
Daniel Marshall CEO at  Citizens Advice Stevenage

Scam Awareness and Safety Online

The Scam Awareness and Safety Online project is one-year project partnership between Citizens Advice St Albans and Trading Standards. Funded by the Police & Crime Commissioner Community Fund, the project reduces the risk of becoming the victim of a scam by delivering awareness raising interactive workshops to small groups of over 60’s and under 25’s. These demographics are particularly vulnerable to scams. Sessions have taken place in locations such as the University of Hertfordshire, Oaklands college, Hertfordshire Independent Living Service & various Community Hubs. {photo attached shows l-r Anne Stojanovic the Scam project worker; June Chapman, CEO of Citizens Advice St Albans; David Lloyd the Police and Crime Commissioner}

Energy Best Deal

Citizens Advice across Hertfordshire can offer one-to-one appointments to individuals or energy clinics in the community offering help and advice on reducing energy bills and switching supplier. Please contact your local service to find out more.

Pension Wise

Citizens Advice is providing face to face appointments as part of the free and impartial Government Pension Wise service. You can book an appointment with one of our guidance specialists if you are:

  • Over 50 and
  • Have a defined contribution pension. This is a pension based on how much you and possibly your employer paid into your pot – not a final salary pension.

In your appointment, the guidance specialist will:

  • explain your pension options
  • explain tax
  • discuss which options might be suitable for you
  • give you tips on what you can do next

Afterwards you will receive a letter with a summary of what was talked about.

Pension Wise guidance specialists are impartial – they don’t recommend any products or companies and won’t tell you how to invest your money.
To get free, confidential and impartial guidance on your pension options call 0300 138 3944. Alternatively, you can find out more by visiting www.pensionwise.gov.uk.

Crisis Intervention project

More information to follow.