Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire does two very important things: first and foremost it helps people in West Oxfordshire find real solutions to a wide range of problems making life difficult for them, including debt, housing, welfare benefits, employment and consumer issues; almost as importantly, it also highlights and campaigns against policies and procedures that have a negative impact on many people's lives. Our skilled team of volunteers and case workers provide detailed advice either face to face, over the telephone or on webchat. They are supported by a rich, regularly updated, national database of information and are constantly mentored by more experienced staff to ensure the advice they give is of the best possible quality. Our help matters because put quite simply, no other organisation offers the same level of free, impartial, independent support on such a wide range of issues. Without us, the 4,300 people who come to us each year would have nowhere else to turn.
Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire is a company and charity in its own right and not government funded as many people believe. It delivers its advice services through 12 FTE staff and 53 volunteers, all of whom undergo extensive training before starting to work with clients. We constantly review the needs of our clients and the timing and delivery of our services to ensure they meet the changing needs of the community. Our clients contact us via the telephone, email or by dropping into one of our offices or outreach services. Every client has a brief initial interview to determine how best we can help them, after which they will be given a full appointment or be signposted to other organisations. Sometimes client's issues can be resolved in one session, others may take longer and involve complex case work. In addition to our generalist advice service, we also have contracts with other funders eg HMRC, HMTreasury, Oxfordshire County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council to deliver advice to specific groups of people such as older people or people with a disability, or with specific issues such as housing and debt, in-work benefits and the new pension freedoms.