Citizens Advice in Scotland: An Essential Community Service
Scotland’s Citizens Advice Network is the largest independent advice service in the country providing free, impartial and confidential advice. We use people’s real-life experiences to influence policy and drive positive change. Our vision is for a fairer Scotland where everyone has the advice and information they need to realise their rights, and where the barriers to accessing those rights are effectively challenged.
Last year the network helped nearly 174,500 people in communities across Scotland to solve their problems, and a further 2.5 million sought information from our online advice pages. We unlocked £132 million in financial gains for people. One in six people who sought advice saw a financial gain, the average value of which was over £4,200.
The Citizens Advice network is made up of 59 local Citizens Advice Bureaux, each its own independent charity, and Citizens Advice Scotland as the national charity and membership body, which includes the GB delivery of Extra Help Unit service, a group of specialist case workers supporting vulnerable energy and post consumers. Together we provide advice across over 200 locations and deliver 12 national advice projects for UK and Scottish Government including the Money Talks advice service and the Help to Claim Universal Support advice service.
Our Network’s mission:
- We help people navigate systems and access their rights
- We build resilience in local communities
- We support the realisation of human rights
- We help change policies and practices to ensure they work for people
Citizens Advice Scotland’s Role
Citizens Advice Scotland (also known as the Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux) is a membership organisation and our members are the 59 Citizens Advice Bureaux based in communities across Scotland. Our role is to make sure that Bureaux have the support they need to deliver on our collective mission. This includes training, quality assurance, co-ordination of national projects, as well as providing the platforms which enable high quality advice provision. We also produce the online advice pages that are accessed by millions of people each year, and we deliver a statutory support service resolving energy complaints and delivering positive outcomes for vulnerable energy consumers and micro-businesses across Great Britain. We are experts in debt advice and provide training and second-tier advice to Bureaux and all other free providers in Scotland. We also deliver a range of shared services to Bureaux like Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance. We carry out research, policy work and campaigning on key issues informed by statistical analysis of the advice sought by clients from across the network, which influences the practices of government, regulators and private companies. In everything we do, we aim to work in partnership with Bureaux, respecting their autonomy and ways of working.
Citizens Advice Scotland is funded mainly by grants from the UK and Scottish governments, along with project funding from a variety of other sources.
Our Strategic Direction
The Citizens Advice Network was born in the shadow of the Second World War and we have over 80 years’ experience of helping people through crises. We have emerged from the pandemic lockdowns into the immense challenges of the cost of living crisis which has brought a further increase in demand for advice as inflation soared, energy bills went up and incomes remain flat. We are currently delivering a three year strategy from 2022-2025 which focuses on rebuilding resilience after the impact of COVID so that the Network can respond to the demands of the cost of living crisis, embedding our progress in digital services achieved during that period, promoting the value of locally led service delivery, and building the Network to deliver more effective outcomes for the people of Scotland.
The current Board shaped this strategic direction following extensive consultation with Citizens Advice Bureaux and Citizens Advice Scotland staff and we are looking for new Trustees who share our vision and who will promote and support the delivery of this strategy. The positions on offer are not remunerated but the real reward is being part of our extraordinary team and knowing you will play a key role in shaping Scottish society for the better.
Citizens Advice Service Statistics – https://www.cas.org.uk/publications/citizens-advice-service-statistics-2021-22
Your chance to shape Citizens Advice Scotland
Together with the rest of the Trustees you will help ensure the highest levels of governance and strategy development for CAS. You will be responsible for acting in the best interests of the organisation and its beneficiaries, and along with fellow Trustees for managing strategic risk and ensuring compliance and accountability with the articles of association, external regulators and the law. You will be a team player with a passion to make a difference to the lives of people in Scotland.
You will have a commitment to our Vision, Aims and Mission and will be prepared to contribute your time, skills and experience to support success of the organisation and the wider Network. Central to our current strategy are a set of values which set out who we are, how we work and what we believe in – person-centred, empowering, supportive, inclusive and collaborative. You will be expected to demonstrate these values in your leadership.
We are committed to representing the diversity within the communities that we serve, and having conducted an Inclusion and Diversity assessment of our Board we would particularly welcome applications from the following groups:
- People from ethnic minority backgrounds
- LGBTQ+ people
- People with a disability
Having conducted a skills audit of the Board we are also particularly interested in receiving applications from people with the following professional backgrounds:
- Finance and Accountancy
The CAS Board is made up of an independent chair and twelve trustees. Six of those trustees represent Citizens Advice Bureaux (internal trustees) and six of those trustees are otherwise independent of the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland (external trustees). We are currently recruiting for 1 internal trustee and 2/3 external trustees.
Trustees are appointed for a term of 3 years and are eligible to seek nomination to serve a further 3-year term after which they must retire from the Board. CAS Board meetings take place 5 times a year from 10.30am to approximately 13.30. Trustees will be given the opportunity to attend meetings in person at the CAS offices and/or the option to attend via zoom. You may also become a member of the various committees that report to the board and this would involve attending a further 5 meetings per year in person or via zoom.
How to Apply
If you would like to discuss the roles in further detail please contact Debbie Shields or Lauryn Pringle on 0141 212 7555.
We would encourage applications to be sent as soon as possible. To apply, please submit a CV and covering letter/supporting statement (in one document) expressing why you are interested in this opportunity and your suitability via the relevant link below:
Please note that you will receive an immediate acknowledgement of your application. If you do not receive this please contact Katy Gall on 0141 212 7555.
We have provided below a note of all the critical dates within this recruitment campaign which we hope will help you plan your diary:
Closing date for applications: Monday 15th May
Longlist Interviews: Tuesday 23rd / Wednesday 24th May
Shortlist Interviews: Tuesday 20th / Wednesday 21st June