New advice service launched to better meet needs of people in Leeds
Leeds has launched a new advice service on the back of unprecedented high demand for support and advice in the city.
Leeds City Council has awarded the three year contract to a consortium of Leeds advice agencies, including Leeds CAB, Chapeltown CAB, and Better Leeds Communities which will be known as Leeds Advice Consortium.
The consortium will bring together services covering a range of issues including welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment, consumer affairs, utilities and immigration/asylum, but with a key focus on the finance side to begin with.
The new advice service has been developed with feedback from service users, advice service staff and professionals so as to understand what type of service would work for people in the city. The review has allowed the council to bring together the funding for advice services across the public sector, so as to get better value for money and to make sure that everyone in Leeds can access the same high level of consistent, impartial and free advice.
Along with recognising the need to bring together advice agencies in the city, by using one consortium to deliver the new service, the council are able to make efficiency savings over the three year contract period, without reducing services at a time when other local authorities are looking to squeeze these budgets.
The service will be delivered across Leeds through many different locations including council and voluntary sector facilities, GP surgeries and health centres, NHS mental health outreach services and children’s centres. Over the next year other methods of delivering advice will be developed and expanded including e-mail, web and a greater emphasis on telephone provision.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“There has never been a more important time to make sure we are providing high quality, free and impartial advice services to our communities and localities across Leeds.
“Not only have the number of people wanting to access advice services increased, but the way people are getting hold of the advice is changing too – more than ever people are turning to online services or using their mobile or tablet devices to gather information.
“We are still seeing the effects of the welfare changes, and in Leeds we are committed to helping local people. This new advice service forms another strand of our work to help local people. Along with the recent launch of the Money Information Centre website and our long term support and partnership with Leeds Credit Union, Leeds as a city is really showing support to our most vulnerable citizens.”
Notes to editors:
A detailed review of all current service provision was conducted between September 2012
and March 2013.
Alongside the review, a detailed consultation took place with current advice providers, such as
citizens advice bureaux and local third sector organisations who deliver advice alongside
other important community services. It also involved talking with current users of
advice services to better understand why they need advice and how they would prefer to
access it in the future.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office 07712214224