Friday, 15 March 2013

Consett CAB to Close

Both Consett and Stanley Citizens Advice Bureaux are to cease giving advice because of poor governance and financial mismanagement. With benefit changes, a stagnant economy and youth unemployment in the local area, the timing could not be worse. 

The national association of the CAB has suspended the membership of the Derwentside centres and ordered them to cease giving advice. There are no concerns over the quality of advice given by the volunteers, it is management who have failed to address concerns about finances.

Nick Bussey a spokesman for the CAB has said: 

"This decision has been taken because of concerns about persistent problems with the way Derwentside CAB has been governed and managed its finances"1

The National CAB are blaming Derwentside CAB for failings but there must be fault on both sides: Local managers have clearly not been up to the job but National structures have not addressed these failings.  

The closure is a massive disapointment to anyone who cares about their local community. The CAB provides a unique service that is distinct and separate from other assistance provided by Durham County Council, The Jobcentre, Derwnentside Homes and the MPs offices. Talks are ongoing about alternative provision but the specialist nature of the work carried out by the CAB makes that difficult.

It is the vulnerable who will suffer: One common reaction to falling on hard times is to bury your head in the sand. People who take the step of going to the CAB do so because they are in desperate need of help. It is tragic that those in greatest need that will pay the price for the failure of managers who were running an organisation that was supposed to help.

Anyone who needs advice can call the CAB on 0191 3884752. The closest functioning CAB centres are in Weardale and Chester le St.


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