District Authority’s Scrutiny committee delighted to support CAED’s excellent and valuable free service

Officers from East Devon’s Citizen Advice (CAED) charity joined East Devon District Council’s Scrutiny committee at its most recent meeting on 20 July 2017 to explain how it provides a much valued free service to the community. The council contributes over 35% of CAED’s income and the committee were keen to hear how that contribution is being spent.

The Scrutiny Committee heard from CAED’s Chairman, the Chief Operating Officer for Strategy and Development, and the Chief Operating Officer for Operations about the work undertaken by CAED. 

Scrutiny members were unanimous in their support of the incredible work undertaken by the CAED, mostly by highly skilled volunteers, in assisting those in need with all kinds of issues. These range  from help with benefit applications and dealing with personal debt, to employment needs and housing needs. The committee felt that the service was fully accountable and extremely good value, considering the level of service that it provides on the limited income it receives from the district council, as well as from councils at county, town and parish level.

Many committee members shared CAED’s concerns about the impact that the introduction of Universal Credit could have on its services and hope that it will be possible to encourage more income from the existing regular contributors to the service.

In conclusion, the Scrutiny committee made the following recommendations:

1. That Cabinet requests an investigation into a longer term arrangement for grant funding in order to give more security to the CAED, such as a three-year agreement with an inflation increase as per previous grants (for reasons of providing more stability in the service with funding commitment) 2. That the council is kept informed of the progress of review of the CAED and is actively involved as a stakeholder

Commenting on the positive meeting between the Scrutiny committee and CAED, Councillor Roger Giles, the Chairman of Scrutiny, said:

The Scrutiny Committee recognised the invaluable work of Citizens Advice and wished to ensure that East Devon District Council continues to fully support its work in what are difficult times for many people.