Generalist Adviser (Trainee)

Salary: £18,256 – £21,286

Hours: As part of our commitment to being a flexible employer, applications are welcomed from candidates who are able to offer up to 37 hours a week.

Responsible to: Advice Service Manager

Role Purpose: To provide information and advice to clients, initially over the telephone, but with the aim to be flexible and responsive to need and demand whether that be digitally or face to face.  Full training and support will be provided in all advice areas, with a focus on debt, welfare benefits and energy advice.

Applications are welcome from both experienced advisers and individuals without experience, but who can show a willingness and ability to learn and develop quickly.

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

Information and advice

  • Undertake an initial assessment and deliver information and advice to clients using telephone and digital channels as well as face to face when needed. 
  • Interview using sensitive listening and questioning skills in order to allow clients to explain their problem(s) and empower them to set their own priorities. 
  • Research and explore options and implications so that clients can make informed decisions. 
  • Act for clients as necessary by undertaking calculations, negotiating with third parties, completing applications, drafting or writing letters.
  • Refer clients on to colleagues or other agencies as appropriate for specialist help with issues that fall outside the remit of the role and/or service.
  • Maintain standards of service delivery and ensure that casework conforms to the Citizens Advice membership requirements 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 the organisation’s systems and procedures. 
  • Work in partnership with other staff and volunteers to help ensure the service meets key performance indicators and targets. 
  • Assist in the smooth running of the organisation by providing back-up and emergency cover for other parts of the service as required.     

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

  • Follow a learning and development plan dependent on previous experience.
  • 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 / Trustee Board meetings as required. 

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 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. A willingness to learn and the ability to develop quickly.
  3. An understanding of the problems and issues facing the local community and their implications for clients and service provision.
  4. Sensitivity towards the needs of others and a friendly and approachable manner.
  5. Good oral communication skills and the ability to communicate well with a wide cross section of people including members of the public and statutory agencies.  
  6. The ability to communicate effectively in writing with particular emphasis on negotiation and representation skills and on preparing letters. 
  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.

Desirable requirements

  1. Experience of providing advice and information in any setting
  2. An understanding of the different skills and techniques used in interviewing clients by telephone, digitally and face to face.

Further Details

Further Details 

  1. 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 including a 30 minute unpaid break. 
  2. Full-time employees are entitled to 36 days annual leave (including bank holidays).
  3. Travel expenses will be paid on authorised business. 
  4. Closing date for applications is: 9.00am Wednesday 10th  June 2020
  5. Interviews will be held on: Wednesday 17th June 2020.  Interviews will be held via video link.
  6. If you would like an informal discussion about the role please contact Sarah Hall using the contact details below.
  7. Completed applications (CV’s will not be accepted) should be returned to:

Sarah Hall
sarahhall@citizensadvicenorthumberland.org.uk
07384 510724

Please ensure that you receive a read receipt.