Confusion over future of Citizen Advice Bureau branches (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
Send photos, video and news by texting GUARDIAN SERIES to 80360 (cost 10p), or email us
Confusion over future of Citizen Advice Bureau branches
The district’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) is not financially viable in its current form and two main branches are set to close, according to a report.
The service supports many vulnerable people across Epping Forest, but an account of a recent meeting of the local CAB’s board by Loughton Town Mayor Jill Angold-Stephens said under planned changes paid experts will no longer be based in the Loughton and Waltham Abbey offices.
The branches will be replaced by volunteer-run ‘outreach services’, but people will have to travel to Epping for professional advice, it is claimed.
However, CAB board member and former chairman, Peter Gordon, has described the report as inaccurate.
He said: “Changing this will in fact provide a better service to the client.
“As an outreach there will still be supervision from paid staff but the office would not need a paid manager, thereby saving cost.”
The Epping office has closed for a year and is set to be rebuilt, with rent increasing from ;less than £1,000 a year to £28,000.
Cllr Angold-Stephens’s report was delivered to Loughton Town councillors at a meeting on Thursday.
Responding, councillor Stephen Murray said: “I think that this is something that Loughton Town Council needs to watch carefully.
“Geographically Epping is the centre of the district but it can be difficult to get there if you rely upon public transport.
“In 2013 with the social problems that we have it is not unrealistic to think that Loughton should have a fully functioning Bureau.”
The CAB Trustee Board are due to meet again on October 24.
Comments are closed on this article.