Citizens Advice Plymouth depends on its volunteers to deliver face to face and telephone information, advice, advocacy and preventative education to the clients who need us.
We helped over 11,000 people across the city last year, dealing with nearly 78,000 enquiries and helping our client’s access over a £1 million of income. We also deliver national projects such as our Utility advice projects.
We are looking for people who are passionate, positive, organised and effective communicators who want to play a key role in helping us deliver our much-needed Single Queue Adviceline service as part of our National Helpline.
The role of an Assessor is to act as the first point of contact for members of the public contacting Citizens Advice, establish what the client’s issue is, gather all relevant information and help the client to resolve the matter wherever possible by providing the best next steps.
What will you do?
- Complete an introduction to Citizens Advice Plymouth
- Complete comprehensive training for your role across all enquiry areas in order to provide appropriate and accurate information to clients.
- Complete observations of experienced assessors, undertake practice and assisted client interactions as part of your training period, lasting approximately 3 months.
- Speak to clients via telephone who are dealing with difficult circumstances.
- Assess the clients’ issue by using sensitive listening and questioning skills.
- Identify key information about the problem including time limits, dates and any requirement for urgent advice or action.
- Identify the essence of the problem and establish what the client wants.
- Provide an appropriate level of support via the provision of relevant information, signposting and referrals internally and externally.
- Where necessary and appropriate, complete quick benefit checks for clients and inform of potential entitlement.
- Complete detailed computer-based case-recording to meet Citizens Advice Quality Standards.
- Conduct all elements of client work in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including data handling and recording of sensitive client information on Casebook.
- Keep up to date with legislation and sources of information.
- Keep an eye on, and report, problems which are common or unfair, and write a short report on these issues for our Research & Campaigns work.
- Work as part of a team with other Gateway team volunteers and staff, as well as liaising with other projects and departments within Citizens Advice Plymouth and our partners as necessary.
What’s in it for you?
- Make a real difference to people’s lives.
- Learn about a range of issues such as benefits, debt, income maximisation, housing, employment, consumer, immigration and friends & family matters for effective information provision.
- Build on valuable skills such as communication, listening and problem solving, and increase your employability.
- Work with a range of different people, independently and in a team.
- Have a positive impact in your community.
- Receive reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses.
What do you need to have?
- Demonstrate commitment to the Citizens Advice aims, principles and policies.
- Be friendly, approachable and respectful of views and cultures that are different to your own.
- Have excellent listening skills.
- Demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication.
- Be able to understand and explain the relevant information and advice to the clients.
- Have excellent IT skills.
- Be able to act sensitively around emotive topics.
- Willingness to undertake training in order to improve your own skills and knowledge.
- Ability to work as part of a team.
How much time do you need to give?
We ask for 8 hours per week minimum, which can be over one day or spread over two days, for at least 12 months. All training and volunteering is completed within our Cobourg House office. Our training plan is tailored to each role, and you will need to attend the office on a fixed day each week to complete your training. Your volunteering time after this will be determined in consideration of your availability and our service coverage.
Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, and we particularly welcome applications from people with physical or mental health conditions, LGBT+ and non-binary people, and people from Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.