ACFA works in partnership to combat poverty and social justice by improving the quality & provision of free, independent advice across the South West. Supporting advice agencies who provide free, independent and confidential advice services and who are based in the area formally known as Avon.

Individually and collectively, ACFA members will be more effective and efficient in order to provide great advice services. In particular ACFA aims to:

  • represent the interest of advice agencies
  • provide a forum for information exchanges
  • lobby for adequately funded and resourced advice services
  • organise training for advisers
  • organise and support campaigns covering a range of advice related and policy issues
  • publicise the work of advice agencies
  • facilitate the development of policy and best practice
  • aid the development of comprehensive advice provision throughout the region

Our strategic plan

ACFA strategic plan 2018-23

Our history

ACFA was set up in the early 1980s. One of its main aims was to lobby the then Avon County Council on behalf of independent advice centres and to assist the Council in setting up a Welfare Rights Take-Up Campaign.

ACFA representatives worked in partnership with the local authority to determine how best to develop a county-wide network of advice centres. ACFA was instrumental in securing better resources for advice centres and was influential in developing an Avon-wide advice service.

ACFA’s membership has grown to over 40 agencies and, as a long-established umbrella organisation, it has become an influential body in trying to improve the provision and quality of advice services across the four unitary authorities of Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Our structure

ACFA is an unincorporated body governed by a constitution. It is independent and is directly accountable to its membership.

We have no paid employees. We are largely self financed through membership fees, however in the past we have received grants from Bristol City Council’s Equalities and Social Justice Committee and we have successfully applied to The National Lottery Charities Board for specific project work.

The Treasurer – responsible for preparing and presenting a brief financial report at the Annual General Meeting to the main meeting on a quarterly basis, assisting with funding applications and preparing the end of year financial summary for presentation at the AGM. The Treasurer has to stand down after three years.

The Chair – decided on a rotating basis.

The Minute Taker – decided on a rotating basis.

Equal Opportunities Officer – is responsible for investigating any complaint made by a member regarding oppressive behaviour or discriminatory views expressed by another member.