Frequently Asked Questions

General

You can contact the Advice Line on 08444 77 20 20 between the hours of 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday

You will be connected to a Gateway Assessor who will take some details from you.  Depending upon the complexity of your problem the assessor may be able to help you with information from our www.adviceguide.org.uk website.  If you need to have more detailed advice the assessor will discuss placing your details in the local bureau’s Work Queue.  This will mean that the bureau local to where you live/work will contact you within 48 working hours and discuss your case further with you over the telephone.  The local bureau will then make a maximum of three attempts to contact you – please therefore be specific about when you are able/unable to be contacted.

We don’t judge – don’t tell – and don’t charge.

Yes – all of our face to face advice as well as telephone support is done in a private room – between you and the adviser working with you. All staff and volunteers adhere to a strict confidentiality code and any documents we make or you provide are kept in locked cupboards.

If you do not speak English well, or it is not your first Langauage we can still help – we have members of staff who can speak some of the languages spoken locally.  We also use a direct telephone line to a translation service which we may use if it helps you to explain your problem and helps you to understand the advice we can give you.

You are welcome to bring a friend or relative with you to act as an interpreter.

Stage one: Complaint to the local Citizens Advice Bureau

Write to the Chief Executive of Swansea Neath Port Talbot Citizens Advice Bureau if you wish to complain about any service from our bureau.   You will receive an cknowledgement to your complaint within five working days.  An investigation into the circumstances surrounding your complaint will then be undertaken. The records of your visit will be examined to check that proper procedures were followed and the best advice given. The target time for responding in full to a complaint is 20 working days, though, if the issue is complicated, any delay will be explained.

If the complaint is upheld, you will receive a full apology and, where appropriate, be given details of any action that the bureau was able to take to retrieve the situation or at least put things right for the future. The aim is always to achieve resolution at the earliest stage possible.

If your complaint is about the Chief Executive then you should write to the Chair of the Trustee Board.

Stage two: Chair,Trustee Board

The letter you receive from the Chief Executive will also inform you of your right to ask for a review of the investigation should you not be satisfied with the outcome of stage one. Details of how to do this will be provided.

While all bureaux are members of Citizens Advice each is a separate charity run by and accountable to its own Chief Executive and board of trustees. This is why complaints are first handled locally and why the next stage is the responsibility of the person with the ultimate authority at a bureau, the Chair of the Trustee Board. (Trustees are the people who run a charity; they all give their time voluntarily.)

The process followed by the C.A.B. Chair in reviewing the complaint is very similar to stage one in that the same target times for responses apply and there is the same obligation for an apology, where owed, and for putting things right, if possible.

The Chair will check that the investigation so far has been carried out fully and properly. She or he will check that the fundamental point of the complaint has been addressed and look at any outstanding issues raised by the complainant.

Stage three: review under the direction of the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice

If you still feel that all the issues have not been properly tackled, you can request a further review to be conducted under the direction of Citizens Advice Chief Executive.

You can send your complaint to Citizens Advice in a number of ways:

  • email Citizens Advice feedback
  • 020 7833 7202
  • Advice Policy and Standards team
    Citizens Advice
    Myddelton House
    115-123 Pentonville Road
    London
    N1 9LZ

(Please note that Myddelton House is not a public facing office)

Now that the complaint is being examined by Citizens Advice central office rather than the local bureau, the Chief Executive will not concentrate so much on the detail of the case but ensure that the process has been carried out properly and will check that the fundamental issues have been investigated fully.

Within five working days you will receive a letter acknowledging your complaint, and the review will be sent to you within 20 working days of the receipt of your file from the bureau.

Once again, the review will produce a full response, which will contain sufficient information to show that the complaint has been fully investigated, and an apology where appropriate. Details will be given of your right for a further review.

Stage four: review by an independent adjudicator

The complaint, first dealt with locally and then by central office, can then go to a person who is entirely independent of the Citizens Advice service.

This person is called the Independent Adjudicator. She or he conducts a review of the investigation to check:

  • that the investigation has been conducted in line with the stated procedure
  • that the investigation has been handled fairly.

The Adjudicator will not comment on the substance of your complaint.

Should the Adjudicator find that the stated procedure was not followed or that the matter has not been handled fairly, the Adjudicator will specify why and may give directions for a re-investigation.

The decision of the Independent Adjudicator is final.