Community-based independent advice services in South Ayrshire may be supplemented by Citizens Advice Scotland in future.
Recent talks between South Ayrshire Council and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) highlighted the current council advice service through libraries, customer service centres and an dedicated information and advice hub in Ayr. The potential additional support that could be provided from Citizens Advice Scotland will now be considered by the council to ensure local people have access to the best possible help and advice when they need it.
Councillor leader Douglas Campbell said: “My focus is on ensuring that our residents have easy access to the best advice and advocacy services as close to home as possible, and where a comprehensive and flexible service can be provided at one point of contact.
“I’m confident that our current provision – designed to meet the growing demand for advice and support in relation to budgeting, money and debt advice, benefits information, income maximisation and fuel poverty – does just that.
“However, we will never be complacent, and it was helpful to discuss the potential additional resourcing and support that could be progressed in conjunction with Citizens Advice Scotland.”
Derek Mitchell, from CAS, said: “There is a growing demand for good advocacy and advice services as more and more people are impacted by welfare reform changes, the roll-out of Universal Credit, changes in the jobs market and the increasing pressures on every penny they have.
“I want to ensure that the people of South Ayrshire have the same opportunities as the majority of citizens across Scotland to access free, impartial and confidential quality advice across a range of issues.
“I was pleased to get a clearer understanding of the services the council currently provides and to discuss where there could be potential for this to be improved further in conjunction with Citizens Advice services. My hope would be that we can establish a partnership that will allow the people of South Ayrshire to get the support they need.”