Easy access advice
Cambridge & District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone in the local community about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to legal, money and other issues. However, access to that information and advice is currently dependent on a client’s ability to be available at certain times and to be able to travel to the Bureau.
Now the organisation is looking to use the power of ICT and web-based services to provide advice, or access to advice, to help people in more remote places and in community settings.
Providing access for all
The CAB’s ‘Positive Pathways to Advice’ project aims to bring together an existing network of independent advice providers to develop a unified service across the county. It hopes that common referral procedures and quality standards will create real consumer confidence in the help and advice they receive – wherever they are and however they access it.
The project will create new, as well as develop existing, partnerships to ensure the delivery of a full range of specialist level services for all clients who need them, regardless of whether or not they happen to be within physical reach of the Bureau.
Offering access to advice through ICT and web-based services brings environmental and efficiency benefits to both the CAB and local citizens. It reduces the need for travel by either clients or advisers, and also reduces costs by making use of innovative ideas and IT systems and tools to share resources across the partnership and work ‘smarter’.
In addition to further developing a common approach to client handling and shared CRM (Client Relationship Management) software and recording, the project will also use innovative communications tools to enable partners, advisers and volunteers to instantly manage clients and advise on the next steps.
Supported by Nominet Trust, the project will enable partners to link their calendars and show availability, discuss cases using video conferencing, instantly access scanned or stored documents, amend documents simultaneously, agree appointments for next steps or provide qualified legal advice. All without the need for clients to travel.