Essex: Bosses’ backing for advice service

CHARITY chiefs have backed their crisis-hit Essex operation just days after it was forced to announce the closure of three branches.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) offices in Harwich, Walton-on-the-Naze and Manningtree will close at the end of the year because of a funding crisis, leaving up to four members of staff jobless.

However Sue Wigley, area director for CAB, said she had full confidence in Tendring’s new management team appointed in September following an audit earlier this year.

She believes they will continue to offer a first-rate service across the district despite the branch closures in the three key towns.

She said the new team had already started a comprehensive re-training programme to ensure advisers working across the district were up to scratch. She added: “Tendring CAB is committed to providing the best possible advice to its clients.

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“We have full confidence in the new management team now in place and they have already taken decisive action to achieve the required standard.

“The CAB provides an essential service for people living in the Tendring area and we are working closely with the trustee board and bureau staff in partnership with Tendring District Council to ensure that the CAB continues to provide a high quality, accessible and innovative service for local people.” The director said they wanted to ensure the Tendring operation continued to meet nationally-agreed standards.

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She said the new management had already developed an action plan and spoken to nearby branches in a bid to improve standards.

Tendring CAB was forced to take the drastic action after the district council announced it would have to slash �100,000 in funding.

Peter Halliday, who is in charge of finance at the council, confirmed the authority was taking away �43,000 handed over to Tendring CAB in April for the provision of a fully-qualified welfare benefits service.

It is also withholding a further �57,000 while a new service level agreement is negotiated.

Alex Stanmore, chairman of CAB Tendring, said he was committed to working with TDC to resurrect the axed services.

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