Talking to Sue Murray, District Manager of Rochford & Rayleigh Citizens Advice Bureau
(13th July 2012)
Rochford Life: Sue, how would you summarise the work of CAB?
Sue: We provide advice and information for people on the issues that they are facing day to day, and we also campaign for change; we campaign for policy procedures to be changed that adversely affect people, learning from what our clients bring in, that we recognise are problems that could affect other people as well. We provide a free service with no charge for anyone, that is completely confidential, independent and impartial. We are non-judgmental, we don’t judge people but just deal with the issues that they’ve got at the time.
Part 1: Providing Information & Advice
RL: Let’s take the information side first. You provide information, help through advice for people. What sort of things?
Sue: The biggest number of issues that people bring in to us are to do with benefits. Benefits cover a lot of areas, so for instance if someone has lost a job, there could be a benefit entitlement there. If they become ill we could look at benefits there. Really it’s any time there is a change in their situation – loss of job, getting married, having children, for example. Another large area that comes up is debt, and recently we’ve seen an increase in problems that people have with priority debts, and that could be paying mortgage, rent or council tax, that sort of thing. A lot of people come in with those sorts of things and we’d much prefer they come before there is a problem if possible; it’s easier to deal with them then.