Advice Services in Sheffield Long established infrastructure of decentralised advice. 15 neighbourhood advice centres located in areas of greatest poverty. Neighbourhood provision supplemented by city- wide services. Community Legal Advice Services South Yorkshire (CLASSY) taking strategic overview and leading on joint initiatives.
Sheffield CAB Debt Support Unit Runs BiS Financial Inclusion Fund Face to Face Debt Advice Project – 9 debt advisers placed at advice centres with demonstrably greatest unmet need for debt advice in their catchment. Runs other debt advice services with city-wide remit eg FIF Debt and Disability, Royal British Legion, RSL Project. Provides training and consultancy support for advice centres and other frontline agencies.
Online Debt Referral Scheme 13 advisers (FIF and Council funded) make available 3 appointment slots each week. Appointment booked online and confirmation email generated and sent to debt adviser. System currently operating within advice centres network – planned roll out to other agencies delayed due to lack of capacity on the system.
Joint Early Intervention Debt Advice Project Lack of capacity within debt advice sector means that many people who seek advice don’t get it – or get inappropriate advice from commercial providers. Arrears management and evictions are expensive for RSLs – paying for early intervention debt and benefits advice can make sound business sense. Brings together 9 RSLs and Sheffield City Council to fund Project to deliver debt advice specifically for its tenants. Service will be delivered via outreach surgeries at RSL offices and other locations, home visit and appointments at DSU offices. Each RSL may decide its own level of “buy-in” – the referral entitlement is pro-rata to financial contribution.
Financial Capability Initiatives Training on credit and debt awareness, saving, banking and budgeting and making good referrals, for frontline staff and consumers. Money support workers – provide “pre-debt advice” interview to work through Personal Budget and set up savings options and progress money savings ideas. “Money savers” being recruited and trained to work one- to-one with people on low incomes. Financial Capability Network set up to share information and best practice.
Contact details Steve Wilcox Sheffield CAB Debt Support Unit Steve.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0114 250 1144
Maxine Stavrianakos Income Unit Manager Sheffield Homes Corporate Debt and Social Landlords
In the Beginning Cross Party Support Led by the Chief Executive Closing the Gap The Partnership -Financial Inclusion & Neighbourhoods Corporate Debt Approach
Today Financial Inclusion Consortium Corporate Financial Inclusion Group - Corporate Debt Group RSL Financial Capability Group DWP Financial Inclusion Champions Corporate Plan Priority 10/11
Today - 2 The objective of Strengthening Sheffield's Economy by increasing dependence of individuals upon benefits and undermining the capacity of people to start up businesses, access training and learning Developing Successful Neighbourhoods by entrenching the gap between the most deprived communities and other parts of the city as the recession impacts most significantly upon those in poverty or with low skills levels
Today - 3 Efforts to create Inclusive Healthy Communities as those people experiencing financial exclusion experience poorer mental health and wellbeing and sometimes greater reliance on prescribed drugs The work of partners to make Sheffield a Great place to Grow Up as households experiencing financial distress are less likely to create environments in which young people can focus on learning and skills
Housing The way we were: 1997 debt in Sheffield and to the City Council not a big issue – gross rent arrears £8m In 2001 gross rent arrears rose to £19.8m No combined debt procedure, no rent arrears procedure Debts looked at in isolation Good working relationships between officers of different Directorates
Housing - 2 Fundamental aim – to improve the financial circumstances of vulnerable people Partnership Working - Local Authority, ALMO, Voluntary Community and Faith Sector Established named contacts Joint Training Prescriptive Arrears Policy & Procedure Sensitivity Procedure
2009 onwards Consolidated Team – “Prevention not Cure” Money Advice Officers Early Support Function Affordability interviews Negotiation Promoting Direct Debit and Insurance Quitting Interviews On line referrals Dedicated Advice worker 2010 - Gross arrears £10.2m