Advice services in Sheffield set to ring the changes

Pictured is Chris Walker,Manager, of the Pitsmmor Citizens Advice Bureau,Spital Hill
Pictured is Chris Walker,Manager, of the Pitsmmor Citizens Advice Bureau,Spital Hill
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Eleven advice groups part-funded by Sheffield Council are merging in a bid to to form a more cost-effective single service.

The new Sheffield Citizens’ Advice organisation incorporates advice centres and services from around the city.

Sheffield Council revealed the launch of the new service and said it would maintain its £1 million annual budget for community advice services.

The council has not said how many organisations have declined to take part in the merger, but said groups which do not want to be part of the service, but receive a subsidy, will be able to remain independent.

Chris Walker, of Pitsmoor CAB, said: “Given there is less money available, merging into one organisation gives us the best opportunity to reduce costs while maintaining our services.

“Some organisations are still considering whether to join and at least one, Langsett, has decided not to join.”

The council said the change aims to ensure ‘Sheffield residents are all given the same high quality advice and support regardless of where they are in the city’.

It said it was about ensuring money was spent on providing advice and not on management costs.

The council said most people who use advice centres now should not notice any great difference with advice being delivered from the same offices across the city.

Ian Drayton, who has been appointed chairman of Sheffield Citizens’ Advice, said: “All of us involved in this development are committed to ensuring that Sheffield people have the best possible access to advice across the city.

“We think this development is the best opportunity to make sure that we not only keep these vital services but reach more of the people who need advice most.”

■ Groups forming the new service are: CLASSY, Firth Park Advice Centre, Foxhill and Parson Cross Advice Service, Hillsborough and Area Advice Service, Pitsmoor Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Sheaf Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Sheffield Debt Support Unit, South East Sheffield Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Tinsley Advice Service.

Sheffield Mental Health Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Advocacy Service, and Deaf Advice Service Sheffield are set to join subject to agreement of members.

■ Visit Advice Sheffield or call 0114 205 5055.