Registered Office: Canolfan Lafan, 2 Glanrafon, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 1LH
Registered Charity (1092359) and Company Limited by Guarantee (04353734)
Authorised and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority FRN 617619
To find out more about the work of the network, read on…
We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. No one is an expert on everything. When you look for advice, it’s often difficult to know what information is true, or if someone’s just trying to sell you something. It can be stressful trying to work things out on your own.
At Citizens Advice, we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice. We give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to overcome their problems. We help people find their way through complicated processes and difficult situations they may never have faced before. With the right information and support, people can make the best choices for themselves.
Our network of charities offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. Whether it’s benefits, faulty products, unmanageable debt or discrimination at work, 7 in 10 of the millions of people who come to us each year say we helped solve their problem. If we can’t help directly, we will always make sure people understand where they stand and what their options are.
For many people, all they need to feel confident and informed is to use our website. Thousands of people use it every day and it takes people through the hundreds of different problems they might face, what their choices are, and what the next steps might be.
But we know that sometimes people will need one-to-one advice. That could be in person in one of our local offices or in places like GP’s surgeries or community centres. Increasingly, we provide detailed advice over the phone or through webchat, which for many people is an easier option. If we can, we provide the advice ourselves, but if it’s not an issue we can offer advice on, we’ll do whatever we can to help someone move forward in another way – for example, by directing them to the right local service that can give them the support they need.
When we say we’re for everyone, we mean it. We try to reach as many people who need our help as possible, and we understand that different people require different kinds of information and support. We never judge anyone who comes to us.
People rely on us because we’re independent and totally impartial. We aren’t paid to recommend any course of action, ever. Everything people tell us is confidential, and we’ll never sell anyone’s data. We’re run by a mixture of dedicated staff and highly trained volunteers. And while we’re often funded by local or national government, it doesn’t stop us telling them when we think they’re getting something wrong.
No one else sees so many people with so many different kinds of problems, and that gives us a unique insight into the challenges people are facing today. We see how problems can be linked. By helping people with the underlying cause of their problems and making sure they don’t get worse, we save the government and public services hundreds of millions of pounds every year.
With the right evidence, we can show big organisations – from companies right up to the government – how they can make things better for people. Our data often challenges prejudices and assumptions. Government, regulators and companies have all made changes when we’ve shown that they are causing problems or making people’s lives harder.
As the problems people face have changed over time, so has the advice we offer. Benefits, debt and housing are areas we have worked on throughout our 80 year history – and they will always be central to what we do. But we’re increasingly working on very different kinds of problems too: from consumer rights and understanding pension choices, to helping people who are acting as a witness in court.
That’s why we’re here – to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem.
To read more about the history of the Citizens Advice movement, click here.