Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are all things we hold dear, they are in our DNA. By this we mean that we subscribe to the view that we are all equal through our common humanity; we value and embrace the diversity of our clients, staff and volunteers and we work to eliminate discrimination.
When we say we are here for everyone, whoever they are and whatever their problem, we mean it – and we recognise that everyone is not the same. Our advice is for everyone but we design our services so they are proportionate to need, even where the numbers of people affected are small. We are also here to empower our clients and we always treat clients, staff and volunteers with respect and dignity.
Our Commitment To You
We will provide you with a confidential advice service. This means that we will keep your information safe, and we will not tell other people (even your family or friends) or other agencies about your use of the service. If you need us to pass on information in order to help you resolve your issue, we will get your specific consent to do so.
We will treat you fairly and respectfully. This means that we will not judge you or tell you what you must do, nor will we treat one person more favourably than another.
Our trained advisers will give you their full attention. We will always have a team of supervisors available to oversee our work with you and ensure that the service you receive is accurate and of high quality.
We give everyone as much time as they need and don’t rush our work. This means that you may have to wait before speaking to one of our advisers. However, once it is your turn, we will give you all the time you need. If your advice is going to be extensive, we will deal with the most pressing issues and offer you a further telephone appointment.
We encourage feed-back on our service. Information about how to make a comment or a complaint is available from any of our team.
Your Right To Complain
We will deal with your complaint confidentially and quickly. There are several ways to make a complaint (in person, in writing, by phone or by email). You can notify any of our team of your wish to make a complaint. Alternatively, you may contact the local Citizens Advice service that dealt with you. The contact details of each member of the Somerset Citizens Advice partnership are given on the home page of this website. Each partner organisation will provide you with their complaints procedures.
If your complaint is about money or debt advice, and you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you may then refer to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
What We Ask Of You
Please behave in a way which is sensitive and respectful of the needs of other clients and our team.
What You Can Expect As A Client of Citizens Advice
Access To Our Services
You do not need to be referred into Citizens Advice you may contact us directly. You do not need to book to use the telephone advice or email advice services as these are available on demand Monday – Friday. Full details of our services are available from anyone of our team and they are published on this website.
During your phone or email interview we’ll take notes about you and your enquiry. We will ask for your permission (consent) to store this information in our database, but you may remain anonymous if you wish.
Delivering Your Advice
At first we will be focused on making certain that we understand how we can help you. Once we have completed this assessment we will conduct research and provide you with an explanation of your options and next steps.
We have designed this partnership service to ensure that you can begin your advice service with us through any one of the Somerset Citizens Advice organisations. Some advice issues will need to be completed through your local advice centre (for example arranging food vouchers or giving full debt casework support). Where we need to transfer you for further, local, advice your case details will be uploaded into our shared database and the local adviser will have the information they need to continue to support you.
Occasionally the help you need will not be immediately available. If this is the case we will arrange a telephone or email call back.
All members of national Citizens Advice are “data controllers in common” this status enables us to manage a shared client data base. We all ensure that information about you is held securely and that our systems are compliant with GDPR and the relevant Data Protection legislation.
Each individual member of the Somerset Citizens Advice partnership is registered with the Information Commission.
We may need to see your original documents, for example a tenancy agreement, and take copies. We will give you back all your original paperwork.
Cancelling follow on appointments
If you need to cancel a telephone appointment that has been arranged with you please use the number you were given to contact your local Citizens Advice and notify them that you will not be available.
We are always trying to reduce our waiting times. You will be given information in our pre-recorded message about how to request a call back or use the email option. This will mean that you do not have to wait on the phone for very long unless you feel you need to.
We want to make sure that you receive a high quality service from us and we will invite you to give us feedback. Feedback is gathered on our behalf by a trusted third party agency employed through National Citizens Advice. Our adviser will ask for your consent on this matter.
Conflict of Interest
Very occasionally we are asked to help people who are in dispute with each other. Each member of the Citizens Advice Somerset partnership will give you notification where they have identified a potential conflict of interest. If this situation arises the local advice centre will signpost one of the parties to another local Citizens Advice member of this partnership so that both parties can be advised by separate advice agencies.