Bridge Project Advice Worker

Citizens Advice Northumberland, a partner in the Bridge Partnership, has a vacancy for an advice worker.

The Bridge Project brings together Partners and Agencies in Northumberland to improve people’s lives, create opportunities and make a positive contribution to Northumberland communities and the regional economy.  You can read more about the Bridge Partnership here.

Bridge is a partnership between Northumberland County Council (NCC) and, currently, seven local Voluntary Organisations to deliver an employability support project that will help move individuals, who are furthest from the labour market, move closer to employment. For some people this will mean securing paid employment or work experience via volunteering.  For others, accessing training, improving skills, increasing confidence and overcoming other barriers to employment, training, or other support services.

It is one of several projects across the country which is resourced by The European Social Fund and The National Lottery, through The National Lottery Community Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme who are investing in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

The Bridge Project provides voluntary, accessible and coordinated support across the whole of Northumberland for people who are long term unemployed and meet the Bridge criteria.

 

The Bridge Project is funded by The European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the National Lottery Community Fund

Actual Salary:     £23,629 pa (pro rata)

Hours:                 30 hours per week.

Responsible to:  Lead Advice Worker – Bridge Project

Role Purpose:    To provide advice and some casework in all aspects of money management and in particular welfare benefits to clients referred to the                                            Citizens Advice service through the Bridge Project.

Location:            Ashington but delivery may take place in other locations.

The Citizens Advice Service

The aims of the Citizens Advice service are:

  • To provide the advice people need for the problems they face
  • To improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.

Citizens advice Northumberland provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities.  It values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination.

In furtherance of its aims the service follows policies of non-discrimination and seeks to be an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Main Duties

Advice

  • Deliver advice and some casework to clients using a variety of delivery methods including face- to-face, telephone and email as appropriate.
  • Undertake outreach and home visiting as required.
  • Provide help in all the main subject areas but primarily welfare benefits, income maximisation, budgeting, debt and money management.
  • Act for clients as necessary by undertaking calculations, negotiating with third parties, completing applications, drafting or writing letters.
  • Prepare and present cases to statutory bodies, tribunals and courts primarily through written submissions.
  • Refer clients on to colleagues or other agencies as appropriate for specialist help with issues that fall outside the remit of the service, liaising closely with other Bridge Project workers.
  • Maintain standards of service delivery and ensure that casework conforms to the organisation’s system and procedures and the Advice Quality Standard.
  • Maintain case records for the purpose of continuity of casework, information retrieval, statistical monitoring, report preparation and quality checking.
  • Ensure that all work conforms to Bridge Project standards and reporting requirements.

Research and campaigns

  • Participate in research and campaigns activity by providing information about clients’ circumstances and taking action on behalf of clients.
  • Keep up to date with current research and campaigns issues.
  • Assist in the identification of areas for development and priorities for future campaigns.

Learning and development

  • Keep up to date with legislation, policies and procedures and undertake appropriate training.
  • Read relevant publications to maintain knowledge and expertise.
  • Prepare for and attend relevant supervision sessions / staff meetings / project meetings / Trustee Board meetings as required.

Service development

  • Comply with all systems for monitoring and reporting on client satisfaction and the outcomes of advice.
  • Develop and maintain comprehensive local resources which identify other sources of help and support and enable effective signposting and referral.
  • Help to raise and maintain awareness of the project through the design and distribution of publicity material and through talks and presentations.

Other duties

  • Uphold the aims, policies, and membership requirements of Citizens Advice.
  • Liaise and develop links with statutory and non-statutory organisations and represent the Citizens Advice service on outside bodies as required.
  • Comply with all monitoring and reporting requirements and provide progress reports for senior managers, the Trustee Board, Citizens Advice, and project funders as required.
  • Abide by health and safety guidelines and share responsibility for own safety and that of colleagues.
  • Adhere to the organisation’s information assurance policies and procedures and report any breaches or incidents of non-compliance.
  • Undertake any other duties that are consistent with the level of the post and ensure the effective delivery and development of the organisation’s services.

Person Specification

Essential Requirements

  1. An understanding of and commitment to the aims, principles and policies of the Citizens Advice service.
  2. Recent and substantial experience of providing advice to the Advice Quality Standard in the key subject areas of welfare benefits, financial capability and debt.
  3. Knowledge of relevant legislation, documentation, rules and regulations relating to the key subject areas.
  4. An understanding of the skills and techniques used in interviewing clients both face-to-face and by telephone.
  5. Good oral communication skills and the ability to communicate well with a wide cross section of people including members of the public, statutory and non-statutory agencies.
  6. The ability to communicate effectively in writing with particular emphasis on negotiation and representation skills and on preparing letters and reports.
  7. The ability to monitor and maintain own standards, prioritise work and meet deadlines and targets.
  8. The ability to give and receive feedback objectively and sensitively and a willingness to challenge constructively.
  9. An organised approach to work and the ability and willingness to follow set procedures concerning casework and file management.
  10. A flexible approach and the ability to work as part of a small team.
  11. The ability to research, analyse and interpret complex information and numeracy skills at the level required to undertake the role effectively.
  12. The ability to use ICT effectively to access information; record statistics; maintain accurate case records and promote and develop the service.
  13. A commitment to continuing professional development including the development of support and supervisory skills.
  14. The regular use of a car for work purposes including home visiting and outreach.

 

Desirable Requirements

  1. The Citizens Advice Certificate in Generalist Advice.
  2. Experience of providing advice to casework level.
  3. Recent experience of providing generalist advice in other subject areas including housing and employment.

Contact Information

  1. This is a fixed term post funded until September 2021 by the Big Lottery and the European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme.
  2. The post holder will be based in our Ashington office but will be expected to work on a county wide basis if necessary to meet the needs of the service.
  3. Normal hours of work for a full-time worker are Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.00pm and Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm with a 30 minute unpaid break.
  4. Travel expenses will be paid on authorised business.
  5. Closing date for applications is: Thursday 3rd October 2019 9.00am
  6. Interviews will be held on: Thursday 10th October 2019
  7. An application form and more detail can be obtained from Sarah Hall

Email sarahhall@citizensadvicenorthumberland.org.uk

Mobile: 07384510724