Seeking your views

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Seeking your views
A consultation on advice services in Renfrewshire
8 February 2013 – 8 March 2013
How to have your say
Visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/advice
Email: [email protected]
Post: Advice Consultation, Chief Executive’s Service, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire
House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1WB.
Introduction
Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership is committed to the provision of
quality advice and information for the residents of Renfrewshire. Advice services
provide essential help to prevent people becoming financially excluded, through
advice on issues such as benefit entitlement, dealing with debt issues, financial
capability and budgeting support, and fuel poverty advice.
Advice providers undertake an important job helping people to get the advice they need.
However, demand for advice services is expected to increase as the Government implements
its welfare reform changes. This coincides with a period of unprecedented budget constraints
within the public sector.
The Community Planning Partnership wishes to explore the opportunities to deliver more
strategic, co-ordinated and efficient advice services across Renfrewshire. This will include
reviewing Renfrewshire Council’s advice service models and the way in which the Council
funds and procures advice services in the future. This is an opportunity to refresh services
and establish new arrangements to achieve better co-ordination and effective targeting of
advice services, which alleviate the pressure of increasing demand and ensure responsive
and flexible advice services which provide effective and sustainable responses.
An Audit of Advice Services was undertaken by the Renfrewshire Anti-Poverty Strategy
Group in August 2011 to provide the information required to achieve better joint planning and
effective targeting of advice services in Renfrewshire. The Audit identified 36 services and
projects providing advice within Renfrewshire, the majority focussed upon welfare rights and
benefits, housing issues, and money and debt advice. Currently much of Renfrewshire’s
advice provision is delivered face to face by an advisor (either through advice offices,
outreach surgeries or home visits), with more limited use of advice by telephone, letter and
email.
In considering the future shape of advice provision in Renfrewshire, we want services to:




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Be of an even higher quality
Be more accessible to the people who need advice services
Be more joined up and outcomes focussed
Be more efficient and effective
Be more preventative, through early intervention.
We are now seeking your views on how we can best achieve this, for the benefit of
Renfrewshire’s residents.
The consultation responses will be used to inform how Renfrewshire advice services are
planned and how Renfrewshire Council delivers and commissions advice services in future
years, and we would welcome your views.
Current Advice Services in Renfrewshire
Advice services in Renfrewshire are a mix of Renfrewshire Council services, national
Government funded services, and services provided by the voluntary sector which are funded
through Renfrewshire Council or other sources. The Federation of Local Housing
Associations in Renfrewshire (FLAIR) also funds welfare rights advice for Housing
Association tenants.
Renfrewshire Council directly provides and funds services covering a range of advice topics.
This consultation directly affects the services in Renfrewshire that give advice on financial
inclusion issues:
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Benefits and Welfare Rights
Money and Debt Advice
Financial Capability and Budgeting Support, and
Fuel Poverty
There is a significant level of information and sign-posting undertaken within Renfrewshire,
and while it is essential that these ‘gateway organisations’ have effective tools, resources and
information to be efficient sign-posters, this consultation is focused upon advice provision.
Scottish National Standards Definitions: Levels of Advice
 Type 1: Active Information, Sign-posting and Explanation
This refers to activities such as providing information either orally or in writing, sign-posting or
referring the user to other available resources or services, and the explanation of technical
terms or clarifying an official document, such as a tenancy agreement or possession order. It
could also include the activities undertaken by independent advocacy organisations to assist
people to access Statutory Services.
 Type 2: Casework
Initially this work will include a diagnosis interview where the problem all relevant issues are
identified and making a judgement as to whether the individual has a case than can be
pursued. Once it has been established that the individual has a case that can be pursued
activities may include:
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


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Setting out an individual’s options or course of action
Encouraging users to take action on their own behalf
Providing practical aid with letters or forms
Negotiating with third parties on the user’s behalf
Introducing the enquirer by referral to another source of help
Support users in making their own case
 Type 3: Advocacy, Representation and Mediation at Tribunal or Court Action Level
This work will include a range of further actions arising from casework undertaken above.
This may have been undertaken by the adviser preparing for tertiary work or may have come
to the adviser by referral from another organisation or adviser. The principal activities may
include:
 Advocacy and representation- where the adviser may prepare a case for the user and
represent or speak on their behalf at a tribunal or court
 Mediation- where the adviser may act on behalf of the user by seeking to mediate
between the user and a third party.
(Type 3 work includes activities which can only be carried out by a qualified Solicitor.)
Renfrewshire’s Advice Services: Key Facts
 There are 36 services and projects delivering advice in Renfrewshire.
 A significant majority (67%) of advice services and projects provide welfare rights advice,
39% provide housing information and advice, and 25% provide money and debt advice.
 Renfrewshire Council directly funds advice services within Renfrewshire Citizens Advice
Bureau and Renfrewshire Law Centre.
 A significant majority (72%) of advice services and projects in Renfrewshire provide advice
to targeted groups of people or communities such as; families with children under 5, those
with a cancer diagnosis and their families, areas suffering from high levels of deprivation,
tenants with rent arrears, or residents with a housing need.
 Advice Works, Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Renfrewshire Law Centre are the
key agencies delivering complex and/or full range casework advice to all Renfrewshire
residents – alongside national providers the Money Advice Service and Shelter Scotland.
 Only Advice Works, Renfrewshire Law Centre and FLAIR Welfare Rights currently
undertake appeals and/or representation.
 The preferred service delivery mechanism is for face-to-face advice (including home visits
and outreach provision) across all advice categories, however advice is also provided by
telephone and letter, with much more limited use of email, website and text provision.
 Waiting times suggest that money and debt advice and welfare rights are under most
service pressure, especially Disability Living Allowance specific advice.
Why do we need to change?

To deliver more strategic, co-ordinated and efficient advice services
A strategic approach to the planning and co-ordination of advice services in Renfrewshire is
required, based on customer needs and the co-ordinated roles of advice providers to ensure
best value within the current climate of public sector resources. This would ensure a strategic
approach to the development of advice services - facilitating more effective delivery of
services, identifying joint investment priorities, strengthening operational partnerships and
joint working. This approach would also minimise duplication of service activities and assist
the co-ordination of outreach and surgery provision.
Advice provision currently focuses upon face-to-face provision; the potential benefits of
channel shift in advice provision should be assessed. Renfrewshire should make the best use
of technology to provide advice in an easily accessible way and to promote self-help, with
greater emphasis on on-line and telephone service delivery, with more effective use of
intensive face-to-face engagement as required as well as providing more intensive face to
face support for those who need it.
Renfrewshire’s Advice Services must promote better outcomes for customers. To improve
outcomes following the provision of advice, services must develop an outcomes focus to
interventions and consistent and integrated approaches to performance management,
customer information management, and service outcomes.

To achieve a better focus and effective targeting of services
There have been unprecedented budget restraints within the public sector over the last few
years and difficult choices have been made about where to focus our spending, where to
reconfigure service design and delivery, and where opportunities for shared services exist. It
should be anticipated that current levels of investment within Advice Services cannot be
sustained over the next five years, so advice services in Renfrewshire need to be clear on
service priorities, minimise duplication of activities, and establish more efficient service
models. There may be a requirement to target advice upon the most vulnerable/most in need
groups, and focus advice in the most effective intervention points and customer locations for
advice.

To alleviate the pressure of increasing demands for advice services
Demand for advice services is expected to remain strong over the next five years and welfare
reform will increase demand and customer contact for advice and information, particularly
within the areas of welfare rights and money advice. With the current public sector budget
climate there is a need to consider ways to manage this demand, so services are available to
those who need them.

To deliver best value in the investment and funding of advice provision
Renfrewshire Council will review its investment and funding of advice services, both internally
and externally, to ensure best value from Council investment in advice provision is achieved.
The Council will develop a commissioning strategy for advice provision, should it continue to
fund advice provision externally. Having individual contracts and grants with advice providers
may not be the most efficient way to deliver advice services, given the potential for duplication
in advice activities and advice locations, which reduce the funding for the delivery of front line
advice priorities. By changing the way the Council funds advice services we hope to minimise
duplication in advice delivery, reduce duplication in administrative and management costs,
and enhance the strategic focus and effective targeting of services, with the aims to; reduce
the impact on frontline advice services, achieve better value from investment in advice
services, and ensure services are accessible to customers.
Advice Service Model: Options for change
There are three options for a future service model for advice services delivered
and funded by the Council. Through this consultation, we would like to listen to
your views and consider any alternative options, to ensure that advice services
are co-ordinated, efficient and deliver best value from investment.
Option 1 - Open access
Under this option the Council would deliver or commission an advice service which would be
available to everyone in Renfrewshire and delivered in a range of settings through outreach
and surgeries.
Option 2 - Open access and tailored advice provision
Under this option the Council would deliver and/or commission an advice service with two key
components:

Open access advice – this part of the service would be available to everyone, delivered
in a range of settings through outreach and surgeries.

Targeted advice – this part of the service would provide tailored provision focussed
upon specific vulnerable/most in need groups. This service would be responsive to
group needs, be delivered in specific venues, and integrate into wider support services.
Option 3 - Tailored advice provision
Under this option the Council would deliver or commission an advice service focussed upon
specific vulnerable groups and those most in need of advice services, for example vulnerable
parents, adults with mental illness, or those experiencing poverty. This service would be built
around the needs of particular target groups and would integrate within existing service
delivery and support arrangements.
Consultation Questions:
1. What service model should the Council chose?
(please tick one option)
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

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Option 1 - Open access
Option 2 - Open access and tailored advice provision
Option 3 - Tailored advice provision
Other Option (please describe your suggested option)




___________________________________________________________________
2. Please explain the reason for your answer.
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
3. Do you think there is a requirement for Renfrewshire Council to be commissioning
external advice services?
(please tick one option)
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
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No, the Council should deliver advice services
Yes, the Council should commission all advice provision
Yes, the Council should deliver an advice service and commission other
organisations to provide additional/targeted advice services



4. Please explain the reason for your answer.
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
5. How might changes to the way the Council commissions advice services impact on your
organisation?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
6. How might changes to the way the Council commissions advice services impact on your
service users?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Features of Advice Services
We would also like to hear your views on some of the specific features of any
advice service model that might be adopted.
Location and accessibility of services
Renfrewshire’s advice services are delivered in a range of settings including the advice
provider’s offices, outreach within community centres and health centres, and home visits.
We would like to provide advice services in the locations that those in need of advice can
easily access and feel more comfortable accessing the information, advice, and support they
need.
Consultation Questions:
7. What types of delivery locations do you think will improve accessibility to advice services?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
8. What features of current advice provision in Renfrewshire do you think it is important to
retain for any new service model?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
9. What barriers do you perceive exist which may prevent different groups of people
accessing advice services?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
10. How can we overcome these barriers to ensure that advice services are accessible to
everyone?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Managing demand for advice services
Demand for advice services is expected to remain strong over the next five years. To ensure
that advice services reach people with the highest needs, we need to consider the
opportunities to manage demand in some way. Some ideas include:
 Focusing advice services on vulnerable groups and those most in need of advice
 Making more use of technology such as the web and telephone to provide viable
alternatives for those who do not require face to face appointments, which is less costly
than face to face appointments and may encourage more self help
 Using a triage system, where advice needs are assessed, and only those with the greatest
needs are seen by an adviser face to face.
Consultation Questions:
11. What are the best ways to manage demand?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
12. What are the reasons for your answer?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
13. Do you think the priority for advice services should be to help the most vulnerable or to
help the greatest number of people irrespective of need?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
14. What are the reasons for your answer?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
Priority groups for advice services
A number of Renfrewshire’s advice services are focussed upon priority groups or specifically
targeted to groups thought to be in most need of advice services, such as families with
children under 5, those with a cancer diagnosis and their families, areas suffering from high
levels of deprivation, tenants with rent arrears, or residents with a housing need.
We would like to hear your views on the priority groups for advice services to ensure those
most in need receive the advice they require and that tailored provision is properly targeted to
achieve the best outcomes for customers.
Consultation Questions:
15. What are the key priority groups for tailored advice services in Renfrewshire?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
16. Please give the reasons for your answer?
(please write below)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Additional Questions
17. What would be an effective way to evaluate the success of a new service?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
18. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
19. How should we communicate any changes to service users?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
20. How might any changes impact on people who share a protected equality characteristic,
as defined in the Equality Act 2010? Please give details.
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Understanding Your Advice Service
If you are currently delivering advice services in Renfrewshire we would like to
know more about your service. Please can you tell us:
21. Organisation Name
___________________________________________________________
For the 2011/12 year:
22. Advice services available and delivery locations
23. Number of advice enquires and unique clients
24. Can you please provide a breakdown of the types of advice enquires you receive?
25. Can you please provide any information on your service users? (for example age,
employment status, family composition, ethnicity, geographic areas)
26. Can you please provide information on the costs of delivering your advice services; total
expenditure on advice services, funding sources, and/or services commissioned?
About You
Advice Service Consultation: Respondent Information Form
Data Protection Act 1998
All responses will be treated in strict confidence and used for statistical monitoring purposes; names
will not be reported or published in any way that makes it possible for individuals to be identified.
27. Respondent Name
Title
Forename
Surname
28. Job Title
29. Please provide a brief description of the role of your organisation/service
30. Does your organisation provide independent advice?
(please tick)


Yes
No


31. Address
Address
Telephone Number
Email address
In terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, the information on this form will be held on manual or
electronic systems. The information will be processed for the following purposes;
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To encourage and facilitate compliance with the ‘general duty’ set out in the Equality Act 2010
To develop a regime of proactive monitoring to inform policy and practice within Renfrewshire
To use the information to support delivery and development of services that reflect needs and
experiences of the people within Renfrewshire
What happens next?
Feedback
At the end of the consultation, we will produce an Advice Services Consultation Response
Report which will be available at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/advice. This report will provide an
analysis of the feedback provided by service providers and service users during the Advice
Services Consultation.
Needs Assessment
We will be using your responses to inform our advice service options and as part of our
evidence on a preferred approach. The Advice Services consultation responses will allow us
to gather qualitative information through stakeholder views and customer preferences to add
to the Audit of Advice Services completed by the Renfrewshire Anti-Poverty Strategy Group
and our scoping of demand for advice services in Renfrewshire.
The Consultation responses will also be used for the Equality Impact Assessment which will
be completed on the preferred approach.
Decision Making
An Advice Services Review Paper will be prepared for Councillors in Summer 2013. This
paper will recommend the future structure for advice services within the Council, and any
future commissioning strategy for investment in advice services out with the Council.
Timescales
Renfrewshire Council’s new Advice Services will be operational by April 2014. Any
procurement of new services will commence from September 2013, with new service
contracts in place from April 2014.
Thanks
Thank you for taking the time to complete this consultation response, your feedback is
important to us and will be used to inform our recommendation on Renfrewshire’s investment
in advice services in future years.
Consultation Questions
Summary
1. What service model should the Council chose?




Option 1 - Open access
Option 2 - Open access and tailored provision
Option 3 - Tailored provision
Other Option (Please describe your suggested option)
2. Please explain the reason for your answer.
3. Do you think there is a requirement for Renfrewshire Council to be commissioning
external advice services?



No, the Council should deliver advice services
Yes, the Council should commission all advice provision
Yes, the Council should deliver an advice service and commission other
organisations to provide additional/targeted advice services
4. Please explain the reason for your answer.
5. How might changes to the way the Council commissions advice services impact on your
organisation?
6. How might changes to the way the Council commissions advice services impact on your
service users?
7. What types of delivery locations do you think will improve accessibility to advice services?
8. What features of current advice provision in Renfrewshire do you think it is important to
retain for any new service model?
9. What barriers do you perceive exist which may prevent different groups of people
accessing advice services?
10. How can we overcome these barriers to ensure that advice services are accessible to
everyone?
11. What are the best ways to manage demand?
12. What are the reasons for your answer?
13. Do you think the priority for advice services should be to help the most vulnerable or to
help the greatest number of people irrespective of need?
14. What are the reasons for your answer?
15. What are the key priority groups for tailored advice services in Renfrewshire?
16. Please give the reasons for your answer?
17. What would be an effective way to evaluate the success of a new service?
18. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
19. How should we communicate any changes to service users?
20. How might any changes impact on people who share a protected equality characteristic,
as defined in the Equality Act 2010? Please give details.
21. Organisation Name
For the 2011/12 year:
22. Advice services available and delivery locations
23. Number of advice enquires and unique clients
24. Can you please provide a breakdown of the types of advice enquires you receive?
25. Can you please provide any information on your service users? (for example age,
employment status, family composition, ethnicity, geographic areas)
26. Can you please provide information on the costs of delivering your advice services; total
expenditure on advice services, funding sources, and/or services commissioned?
How to feedback your views
Visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/advice
Email: [email protected]
Post: Advice Consultation, Chief Executive’s Service, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire
House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1WB.
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