14 December 2021 9.3 Rept – Funding Citizens Advice Bureau

December 2021 Uploaded on December 9, 2021

14th December 2021
1.1 The following request has been received from Knutsford Town Council. Members will recall
that a similar request was made this time last year, and Council decided, following a
discussion, not to make a donation.
As you know, Knutsford Town Council has committed to fund the Citizens Advice
service for a four year period from 2020-2024. This ensures that our residents have
access to a free at point of service advice, information and advocacy service which
covers a huge range of issues from Consumer Law, Debt, Employment, Housing,
Welfare, Family Law and everything else that would cause a person to seek help.
Contrary to popular belief, the Citizens Advice is not a centrally funded service, nor
does it receive enough funding from Cheshire East Council to be able to operate
across the whole borough. The Cheshire East North CA is based in Macclesfield and
in order to operate in other areas relies on funding from the local councils. They
have outreach services in Wilmslow, Poynton and because of our funding, in
Knutsford too. Without our funding, there would be no service in Knutsford.
The Town Council has committed to funding of £20,632 for the 2022/23 financial
year to ensure the continuation of two morning sessions per week being delivered
from the Council Offices in Knutsford. Obviously, at the moment the service is
running remotely due to the impact of coronavirus but we are hoping to be able
to restart the face to face sessions soon. Whilst it has been running remotely our
residents have still had access to the same level of support.
We are provided with usage monitoring data and because of this we know that
Knutsford residents only account for between 70-85% of those using the service
and we recognise that as a key service centre for neighbouring parishes we are
where residents from our neighbouring villages go to access services such as this.
In order to reduce the financial burden on Knutsford precept payers, the Town
Council requests that neighbouring parishes, whose residents have access to this
service, consider making a contribution towards the cost of the funding we
provide. You can then promote the service to your community and highlight the
support on offer which your council helps fund. The Chief Officer from the Cheshire
East North CA would be happy to come to a parish council meeting to discuss how
Citizens Advice supports people and the huge advantage that having this service
on the doorstep gives to residents.
As one of our surrounding parishes, the Town Council would like to request that
your parish council considers making a donation in the 2022/23 financial year
towards the cost of this service. This would offset the costs our residents pay
providing a service to surrounding areas and would be something you can promote
in your community. Over the last 12 months 2% of the users of the Knutsford
service were Pickmere residents, a commensurate donation would be £350.
The Town Council would be grateful if your council would consider this request and
if you could let me know the decision reached.
2.1 That Council considers the request.
Jack Steel
Clerk to the Parish Council