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Independent review gives Wellington CAB service the big tick

Citizens Advice Bureau has much to celebrate this week – the launch of a new website and Discover Your Rights campaign as part of its national awareness week, as well as the public release of an independent review of the Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau (WelCAB).

The review was initiated by Wellington City Council last year as part of the Council’s process to determine its future funding for the five Wellington CABs.

The resulting 120-page report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) highlights the significant value for money provided by the volunteer-led organisation, with WCC receiving a 139% return on its investment. It identifies the unique contribution the CAB makes to community well-being through its accessible advice and information service.

“We are very pleased to have the value and effectiveness of our service affirmed by this independent review”, says Lucy Trevelyan, Manager of WelCAB.

The CAB’s effectiveness in reaching vulnerable populations that others struggle to reach is noted in the report. A point of differentiation for the CAB is its degree of accessibility and the importance of its face-to-face service that provides clients with a “human” experience.

“Technology allows us to share information and to reach people in new ways, but the value of our face to face service cannot be underestimated,” Ms Trevelyan says.

The PwC report identifies that the CAB makes a significant impact with the resources it has but also highlights that with increased resources the CAB could be even more effective in reaching and assisting people. It identifies that both local and central government have a role in supporting the CAB.

The report points the finger at central government agencies that currently rely on the CAB service, referring people to it, without providing the CAB with any funding at all.

“While the review focused on the CAB in Wellington, we believe that the majority of its findings are applicable to all CABs, says Kerry Dalton, Chief Executive of CAB New Zealand.

“The report is a real validation of the CAB service and it provides a valuable basis for our ongoing conversations with local and central government about sustainable funding for our organisation, as well as greater collaboration to provide even better outcomes for the community” says Ms Dalton.

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