People are complex, and so are their problems. ACFA's role as a capacity-building and infrastructure organisation —working with agencies rather than directly with beneficiaries—makes measuring the positive impact we have difficult. Add to this the fact that people are individual and complicated, just like their issues and you can see how complicated it can be to generalise.
All our members proactively monitor and evaluate their work, analysing the number of clients with whom they work, the services they deliver and how they’re helping them realise their rights.
In March 2016, six ACFA members (Avon and Bristol Law Centre, Citizens Advice Bristol, North Bristol Advice Centre, Talking Money, South Bristol Advice Services and St Paul’s Advice Centre) shared information, collated evidence and produced a report called Advice in Bristol; this report illustrates just some of the work done by the advice sector in Bristol and the difference that ACFA members make.
Download the report here.
This brief extract from St Pauls Advice Centre's latest Annual Report demonstrates the type and scope of work they undertook in a twelve month period ...
... another member, Talking Money, saw 3,950 clients, handled 5,580 debt enquiries and managed £13,596,000 of debt on behalf of their clients in 2014/15 ...
... and that's just two of our member agencies.
Other evidence includes:
Proving our Value
In February 2014, a team led by the University of Bath in partnership with the Bath and North-East Somerset Citizens Advice Bureau used a method known as Social Return on Investment to produce this report. It gives a full account to date of clients’ experience of receiving CAB advice across a variety of domains (not just debt) and the impact this advice has had on their life. |close}
Benefits of Advice
In April 2006 the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisors commissioned Dr. Jay Wiggan and Prof. Colin Talbot to review the literature pertaining to the impact of welfare rights advice. You can read their report here.
Strategy for Advice Services
In July 2006, Michael Bell Associates produced a Strategy for Bristol 2006 to 2010 which was shared with Bristol City Council's Joint Planning Board. Download a copy here.
Citizens Advice Impact Report
The value of the Citizens Advice service: our impact in 2014/15 is available to download here. It demonstrates their impact and puts a financial estimate on its value, drawing together evidence from activities across the Citizens Advice service.
The Big Advice Survey
In November 2014 ACFA registered to take part in a big survey led by the advice sector looking at the advice needs of the general public and how future services can best be delivered; our members worked hard to encourage clients, staff and volunteers to promote and participate the survey to try to make sure we got good local data for our area.
The Big Advice Survey was conducted across the UK between 1st December 2014 to 31st March 2015. It provides current and unparalleled insight into the types of problems the UK general public is experiencing and its responses to them. It also provides valuable insight into the relationships between advice and health, types of service delivery, mental health, access (including viability of digital delivery) issues, levels of public legal education and how advice services might be delivered and coordinated in the future to best serve their purpose.