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29 1 CITIZENS ADVICE IN AUSTERE TIMES Morag McDermont* Introduction Lucy’s story of trying to access advice in Bristol, and Sue Evans’ response on the ever-increasing and conflicting stresses and strains of advice, give a rich indication of the constantly shifting challenges facing advice seekers and those attempting to deliver advice services. In this chapter I examine the history, funding and regulatory environment of Citizens Advice, the largest voluntary sector advice organisation in the UK and the principal subject of our research programme. The

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with Lucy’s story, articulating the barriers that stand between a citizen and the advice they seek. Lucy’s experiences are explored by Sue Evans, manager of the Bristol Citizens Advice Bureau. Chapter One then locates the work of Citizens Advice in the context of austerity politics and policies, creating new pressures and problems for those providing urgently needed services. Chapter Two takes the form of an interview with Gail Bowen-Huggett exploring the problems facing the advice sector as a whole in this moment. The final chapter in this part explores the

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Reflections on challenging times for advice agencies
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In a world dominated by austerity politics and policies, Advising in austerity provides a lively and thought-provoking account of the conditions, consequences and challenges of advice work in the UK, presenting a rare and rich view of the world of advice giving. Based on original research it examines how advisors negotiate the private troubles of those who come to Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) and construct ways forward. Exploring how advisors are trained, the strong contributor team reflect on the challenges facing Citizens Advice Bureaux in the future, where austerity will ensure that the need for advice services increase, while funding for such services declines.

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6362 ADVISING IN AUSTERITY PART TWO INTRODUCTION Morag McDermont The chapters in this part explore the experience of giving and receiving advice in a specific field, namely that of employment disputes. Here we draw on the stories of the 158 CAB clients who took part in one of the research projects, people who had approached their local Citizens Advice after experiencing a problem at work. When we began this research we were particularly interested in how the Employment Tribunal system did, or did not, function as a mechanism for accessing justice

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. Chapter Seven explores the interplay between power and legality in the processes of advice work, drawing on users’ experiences of these processes. Chapter Eight offers an analysis of how the issues faced by clients, experienced as deeply personal matters, are turned into matters of law, while Chapter Nine explores the shifting boundaries separating 115114 ADVISING IN AUSTERITY law and life in the work of debt advice. Chapter Ten reflects back on the changing place, possibilities and problems of Citizens Advice in the context of ‘austerity’ ‒ a time when

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127 7 POWER AND LEGALITY IN BENEFITS ADVICE Alison Kite* Since the 1990s, many Citizens Advice Bureaux have run advice sessions based in GP surgeries, in recognition of the links between poverty, poor health and the need for advice. Research has shown that such services are effective in improving benefits uptake and may also contribute to psychological health. In this chapter I broaden this focus by exploring how advice impacts on issues of powerlessness which have been shown to be central to the experience of poverty and social exclusion. I draw upon

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.ac.uk Sue Royston, Ripon and District Citizens Advice Bureau, welfarerights@riponcab.org.uk Benefits_17_1_Feb_09_text_3.1.in70 70 11/02/2009 09:51:25

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157 10 REFLECTIONS ON ADVISING IN AUSTERITY John Clarke* This book has explored the conditions, processes and practices of advising in austerity and this last chapter pulls out some of the key themes and issues from across the book. Perhaps the most significant theme concerns the pace and scale of the economic, social and political changes that form the context in which advice work is undertaken. In one sense, this is a banal observation – everyone who works in Citizens Advice has a direct grasp of the deepening social dislocations that have generated

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105 6 PRECARITY AND ‘AUSTERITY’: EMPLOYMENT DISPUTES AND INEQUALITIES Adam Sales* Introduction The Citizens Advice service expanded in the post-war period in the UK, and reflected economic, political and social settlements of the time, not least those between capital, labour and government about the conditions of employment. Since the late 1970s, those settlements have been dissolved; the power balance between labour and capital has tilted dramatically in favour of employers, and work has become more contingent and precarious. Employment is increasingly

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) * Samuel Kirwan is a research fellow at the University of Warwick who worked on the New Sites of Legal Consciousness project. He is particularly interested in the process of money advice, and the moral language of debt and credit that surrounds it, and has a longstanding interest in the concept of the commons. 149148 ADVISING IN AUSTERITY Introduction My diary of participating in the Citizens Advice training programme is littered with these experiences. Notes on Debt Relief Order procedure are followed by my own worries about forgotten credit cards or the Council

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