New Ideas Trialled By Citizens Advice Bureau

citizens advice bureauThe Citizen’s Advice Bureau could soon be offering guidance to islanders through Skype or email.

That’s according to Cornwall CAB Chief Executive Neil Colquhoun, who was visiting Scilly yesterday to help prepare Council staff for upcoming changes to the welfare system.

Neil says they have been reviewing how they deliver their service on Scilly, to make sure it’s still relevant to what people actually need.

The bureau is looking to introduce video-conferencing as a way to talk face-to-face with islanders. That will be useful when they can’t make it over for their regular sessions because of bad weather.

They’d also consider changing from their monthly Monday session in the Church Pavilion if islanders feel it would be more convenient on another day.

Neil said some might remember the service from years back, when they had to wait hours in a draughty village hall to see an advisor. But he says the service has moved away from that image, particularly now people are much happier to use modern technology.

He thinks Scilly could be the ideal place to try out new ways of interacting, which could eventually be rolled out across Cornwall.

The CAB dealt with 15,000 enquiries in the last three months across the whole of Cornwall and Scilly. Two-thirds of these related to problems with debt and benefits.

One Response to New Ideas Trialled By Citizens Advice Bureau

  1. Mike May 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    A friend of mine for many years with Penzance CAB, was that adviser in the drafty hall that Mr Colquoun mentioned!

    I think that video conferencing is a useful reserve service for when the crossing is impractical, but most people want a human face and presence. Exchange and explanation of documents is obviously more difficult by video. Where video may be of great use is in training islanders to become volunteers – advice work requires a lot of training preparation – to allow them to support their fellow islanders.

    The CAB has the potential to provide essential informqation services to the islands – especially for those who are disabled or impoverished. I’m feel sure those who are happiest to use modern technology would be glad to spare some time to help their fellows who were less happy, if the Cornwall CAB service could support them in doing so.