Exploring new ways of working
I joined Citizens Advice Westminster in January and I have greatly enjoyed working with our staff, volunteers, trustees, partners and funders as we continue to adapt to the pandemic and meet the advice needs of Westminster residents.
The hard work of the whole team is evident in the data showing our impact over the last 12 months of remote working. We have reached 5,884 individual clients, 73% of them by phone, and we’ve delivered outcomes including income gains of over £220,000, with key issues responded to including benefits and tax credits, universal credit and housing.
Our clients are more likely to be women (59%) and of working age, with 40% of clients aged between 30 and 50 – a slight increase on the previous year. Some 46% of clients were disabled, or with a long-term health condition, and 19% were black, 12% Asian and 46% white.
I’m delighted that as we start the new financial year we are continuing to deliver not only our Westminster Advice Partnership (WASP) contract, alongside Asylum Aid, Age UK and DeafPlus, but also contracts funded through Citizens Advice nationally, Thames Water, Kensington and Chelsea Social Council, Carers Network and the Money and Pensions Service, as part of the Debt Free London partnership.
As we look forward, we are also exploring new ways of working in the future. Our success in reaching many more clients by phone over the last year has been enhanced with drop-in sessions delivered via video conferencing (see below). We will also be exploring how we can extend our partnerships and support the most vulnerable clients, including through helping them to access online support. Finally, we are renewing our volunteering strategy, with a new Volunteer Co-ordinator recently appointed to join the team, and a call out for volunteers of all ages to join our outstanding adviser and assessor team.
Chief Executive Officer