Information for applicants
These notes to accompany the application form and give details of the commitment asked of volunteers for Citizens Advice – they also provide some background information.
Aims and principles of the service
- To ensure that individuals do not suffer through ignorance of their rights and responsibilities or of the services available; or through an inability to express their needs effectively.
- To exercise a responsible influence on the development of social policies and services, both locally and nationally.
The service is opposed to all forms of racism and discrimination and is committed to ensuring that all services are equally available to all people.
- Resists and challenges acts of discrimination and undertakes to support its clients and staff when confronted with racial harassment.
- Seeks actively to conform to the 1976 Race Relations Act and 1984 Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) Code of Practice.
- Is an Equal Opportunities employer and encourages participation of all ethnic groups at all levels of the service.
The Service therefore provides free to all individuals a confidential and impartial service of information, guidance and support, and makes responsible use of the experience so gained.
The service offers professional standards of service. It relies on committed volunteers.
Place of work
The registered office is in Yate. All volunteers will be expected to work in any place where Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is offering a service to the public unless there is a significant transport problem.
Volunteers will be paid expenses for travel to and from work, training sessions and any other work connected with the service – 45p per mile if using a car and any public transport costs.
It is hoped that all new volunteers will commit themselves to two years voluntary work in the Bureau.
Advice workers are asked to do a minimum of two days per week. The rota will be negotiable, but flexibility will be important. Certain days may be particularly busy when one or more extensions may be operating. As others will cover for you when you are on holiday, it is hoped that you will cover for others.
The time commitment will commence from the start of the training.
Teamwork is an essential feature of working in the service.
These are held monthly. You will be asked to attend as of these as you can due to the training content.
Training to be an adviser
Initial training takes 6 weeks & consists of 1 half day training session and one half day when you can observe. This is followed by a 2 day external course, the first & second day are 8 weeks apart. The total training time will be approximately 4 months.
It takes about six months from the start of basic training to the day when a new worker can go on the rota. There is a further 6 months during which the new adviser is under supervision. By the end of this period the adviser will hope to have achieved the competencies which make up the Certificate in Generalist Advice Work.
The work involved in the training scheme can be divided into three types:
1. Work at home (training packs followed up by a weekly tutorial.
2. Work in the bureau (training packs and in-bureau experience)
ALL parts of the training programme are essential.
At an appropriate time in trainees sit in and observe interviews with clients and later progress to conducting supervised interviews under the guidance of an experienced adviser. Training is also given in writing up case notes at the conclusion of an interview.
Each training programme is organised by the Training Officer, who is an experienced adviser.
Further opportunities within the service
The trained adviser has the opportunity to develop in ways, which may include any of the following:
a. developing specialist skills and expertise in working with clients, e.g.
- welfare benefits
- money advice
- representing or accompanying a client at tribunals or hearings
b. Social Policy Work, e.g.
- writing reports, letters, or articles.
- working with other organisations and individuals
c. helping with development and training, e.g.
- in-bureau training
- supervising trainees
- regional training tutor
d. representing the service, e.g.
- giving talks on the work of the service
- working with the local community groups
e. administration, e.g.
- organising the duty rota
- updating the information systems
- ordering leaflets, stationery, etc.
- organising meetings and taking minutes
- managing petty cash
- developing the use of new technology in the bureau
We will contact you soon after receipt of the form.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire