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Statement: Confusion about information and advice services

Issued on behalf of Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Services for Independent Living

There has been ongoing confusion about Herefordshire Council’s decision to withdraw its grant from Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and the development of the new Wellbeing Information Signposting for Herefordshire service (WISH).

WISH has been developed in response to the council's duty to provide information and signposting to support people’s independence and wellbeing under the Care Act 2014.

Claire Keetch, Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau chief executive, said: "We need people to understand that the CAB provides a different type of support to that provided by WISH. There remains a need to ensure specialist legal advice continues in Herefordshire."

The ongoing discussion about these two services has resulted in the impression that the WISH service will replace the CAB and offer the same or similar services.  Both Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Services for Independent Living (SIL), the latter being the provider of the new WISH service, want to make clear that:

  • The new WISH hub will not be, and was never intended to be, a replacement for the legal advice and casework of the type carried out by the CAB

  • The new WISH hub will offer information on general aspects of health and wellbeing and will signpost people to services, facilities and community activities, which will help people maintain their independence and wellbeing

  • The CAB offers legal advice across all areas of civil law, including specialist casework in welfare benefits, housing, employment and debt

Services for Independent Living and Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau believe that both these different, but complementary types of services have a place in meeting the needs of vulnerable people in the county.

Euan McPherson, Services for Independent Living chief executive, commented: "The WISH service will provide information to help people maintain their independence and support their wellbeing, it will not offer the legal or debt management advice that is currently provided by the CAB."

Tags: Health and social care, Community and living