What do I need to bring with me?

What you need to bring will very much depend on your issue. We recommend bringing as much information about your issue as possible as without it, it could take you longer to get the help you need.

We have listed below some recommendations but please note this list is not exhaustive.

Benefit Issue

  • Any relevant letters received from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Jobcentre Plus, Pension Service, or the local authority
  • Decision letters that you are not happy with or wish to challenge
  • National insurance number
  • Details of your income (wage slips, benefit letters, tax credits)
  • Recent copy of your bank statement
  • Tenancy agreement or mortgage details

Debt and money issue

  • Details of your income (wage slips, benefit letters, tax credits)
  • Recent copy of your bank statement
  • Details of all those that you owe money to and how much (demands for payment,statements, court papers etc.)
  • Details of your household expenditure – how much you spend on food, transport, phone and energy bills etc.

Housing problems

  • Tenancy agreement and any correspondence from your landlord or mortgage details if you have a mortgage
  • Any court papers
  • Title deeds – if you own your home
  • Details of your income (wage slips, benefit letters, tax credits)

Employment problems

  • Copy of your employment contract
  • Details of any disciplinary, grievance or dismissal issues
  • Staff handbook
  • Employment tribunal applications – if applicable
  • Details of your income (wage slips, benefit letters, tax credits)

Other problems

Any paperwork, letters or correspondence relating to the issue.

Why can’t I make an appointment?

We operate a drop in service in our bureau and outreach locations and slots are given out on a first come, first served basis. We understand this can be frustrating as when we are really busy, there is no guarantee that you will be seen. However, we find operating this way works best for us as the issues that are brought to us vary in the length of time to deal with and the number of volunteers we have each day can vary which makes an appointment system difficult.

 

We don’t like to turn those who need help away though so we operate a ‘triage system’ whereby you will see an adviser who will make an initial assessment of your needs in a short interview. They will talk you through basic information such as fact sheets and self-help information on our Advice Guide website, and when the client needs further advice, discuss they steps they need to take to get this.

 

There are cases where we will offer an appointment to you but this will usually only be if you need to meet with one of our specialist advisers or you need help with a benefit application form (We know from experience some application forms can take approx. 2 hours to complete – making an appointment for this means we don’t keep others waiting to see an adviser).

What happens if you cannot help me?

We will always refer you to someone who can help if we are unable to. There are also some cases where a problem has no practical solution and in these cases we will listen and offer support as best as we can.

Will you tell me what to do?

Our advisers won’t tell you what to do but will offer information and explain your options and the possible outcomes of different courses of action. We encourage our clients to make their own decisions and act on their own behalf. We enable clients to manage their own problems by focusing on their needs as individuals.

What kind of issues can you help me with?

There is no definitive list of issues that we help with. We can provide information on almost all problems that people face in their lives. All our advisers are specially trained to deal with any issue and utilise our main information system which is updated regularly and is checked by the relevant experts in each field. We hold over 12,000 pages of detailed facts and keep many reference books.  The adviser you see can seek support from one of our specialist staff and we have many external experts we can consult.