What should I expect at my face-to-face appointment?
To receive face-to-face advice just turn up during our advertised drop-in hours. We may ask you to wait for an Adviser in our waiting room. Whilst you’re waiting, a member of our team will ask you to fill out a basic form to understand the problem you need help with. Once called by name, you’ll then be able to receive one-to-one advice in one of our rooms. Please let us know if you would like a chaperone or if you need assistance completing your form.
Our advisor will then give you a short ‘triage’ 15 minute face-to-face assessment. We give the majority of advice at these sessions on the spot, or we may need to book a more in-depth follow up appointment. Where additional support is needed that’s beyond the scope of what we do, we may signpost or refer you to one of our trusted partners.
If you are unable to make the drop-in times, you can phone our advice line open Monday to Friday 9-5pm (excluding Bank Holidays). Your call will go to a local call-hander who can provide the same excellent service by phone. If all our call handlers are busy, your call will go to the national AdviceLine.
Please also be aware we cannot provide advice on behalf of a third party (including young adults). Please encourage friends or family members to seek advice through us for themselves wherever possible.
What kind of general advice might I receive?
Quality: Our generalist advisers are all volunteers but have received intensive and specialist training to help you. Our debt specialists all have the relevant accreditation from the Institute of Money Advisers. National Citizens Advice regularly audits the quality of our advice. In addition, we are registered with the Advice Services Alliance and hold the Advice Quality Standard award.
Experience: We’ve been delivering high-quality advice services in South Gloucestershire for nearly 50 years. Our longest serving volunteer has been with us for 20 years! Many others have been providing and developing their skills for over 10 years in the county. Specialised supervisors monitor our advisors. The national Citizens Advice network quality checks and regularly audits all case notes.
Information: Please be aware that advisors will listen, research your options and look at the possible outcomes of different courses of action. They will not tell you what to do but will give you the information you need to make your own decisions.
They will help you to make informed decisions based on your individual needs by giving you the most up-to-date information and guidance available.
Follow up: We will ask you if you are able to access the internet and use the computer in order for you to follow up on the advice given. If needed, we may be able to print out some helpful information but we are not able to email you with a summary of the information you received.
If you are unsure of the advice you receive, you are welcome to receive repeat advice or provide us with feedback so we can improve our service.
Should you receive repeat advice, we try and match you with a different advisor to ensure your case is dealt with impartially and fairly.
What happens to my personal data or the information I disclose?
During a drop-in session, we will ask you to fill out a double-sided paper form to disclose your name and address and a brief outline of your problem. The information we collect is received and stored securely and confidentially on our national database. During the advice session, we may need to check certain facts such as disability status or insolvency information in order to make sure we provide you with the correct support. You only need to disclose information you feel comfortable with and we will always give a reason as to why the information is requested.
After an advice session, your advisor shreds any handwritten notes immediately. Your profile with detailed casenotes – written up electronically by the advisor – is stored as a password protected file on our national database, describing what help was advised. These records have strict access permissions. We do not refer to clients by name in any other setting so any recorded casenotes and personal details remain completely confidential. On the data we collect, there is an opportunity to opt in (and out) to any further contact or storage of your details.
We will not advise on behalf of anyone else so we will not pass on your session details. If you have any concerns about data safety or storage, please feel free to get in touch.
I can’t make the drop in sessions – how do I get help?
Our free telephone advice line is available from 9am – 5pm Monday to Fridays (excluding Bank Holidays) where you can speak to local advisors. Please contact 0808 278 7947 where you should get through to a representative from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire.
During peak times, or if all our local call-handlers are busy, your call may go to other Citizens Advice locations. This is also managed by volunteers so please be patient.