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Help Through Hardship Adviser

Help Through Hardship Adviser

Salary: NJC Scale 10-12 £23,620 – £24,496 (Salary based on experience/qualifications, pro rata for part time hours)

F/T (37 hours a week, part time hours also considered)

Cambridge Citizens Advice is delivering the Foodbank Helpline which is a Trussell Trust phoneline for clients who are struggling to afford food.

You must have an understanding of, and commitment to Citizens Advice aims , principles and equal opportunities.

  • Benefits:
  • Employer contribution to pension 7%
  • Holiday: 24 days pa (pro rata) plus Bank Holidays and 1 additional day per 12 months. Up to 4 days Christmas closure.
  • Death in service insurance (inc EAP)
  • Flexible and hybrid working negotiable
  • Learning and development opportunities

Closing date: Friday 22nd October 2023

Interviews: w/c 23rd October 2023

Charity 1056102. Company 3191085. Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 617537

Job Description

Employer: Cambridge & District Citizens Advice
Responsible to: Help Through Hardship Project Lead
Based at: 66 Devonshire Road, Cambridge. CB1 2BL + Home working (Remote working also considered)

Cambridge Citizens Advice is delivering the Foodbank Helpline which is a Trussell Trust phoneline for clients who are struggling to afford food.

The adviser carries out an exploration to find out about the client’s circumstances, looks to carry out a benefit check, help the clients with ideas to increase their income, assess and assist with any emergencies, look to see they are getting the required help to deal with their debts and assess for a foodbank voucher and provide advice and agree achievable next steps.

Main Responsibilities

  • Providing Advice to assist Help Through Hardship Helpline callers
  • Planning and Development
  • Service Delivery
  • Administration
  • Training, Development and Recruitment
  • Research and Campaigns
  • Other duties and responsibilities

Advising clients using the Foodbank Helpline

This likely to involve (but is not limited to):

  • Carrying out a full exploration of the client’s background and current situation and giving the client the appropriate advice & agree next steps to move the client forward
  • Advising clients whether their income and personal circumstances indicate that they may be entitled to any grants
  • Advising the client of ways they could increase their income & steps on how to achieve this
  • Assess the client’s needs to see if they would benefit from being awarded a Foodbank voucher & administer one of these to the client to redeem.
  • Offering and calculating a benefit check to ensure the client is receiving all of the benefits they are entitled to
  • Checking whether they are in immediate need with help for food, gas, electricity or accommodation or other emergency situations and take appropriate action
  • Checking whether client is in debt and is getting the appropriate help and support in dealing with these issues
  • If it requires it, with their agreement, make a referral to their local bureau for help with identified matters best suited to local bureau, for ongoing help & support.
  • Sign posting & referring to other organisations, such as the local authority
  • Be aware of client safeguarding, assess the situation, speak to the safeguarding lead, follow the safeguarding policy.
  • Ensure advice conforms to the Bureau’s Quality Standards and procedure

Planning and development

  • Advise Management on service delivery issues and problems
  • Contribute to activities, procedures and systems so as to promote common practices within the advice team
  • Utilise IT systems and other resources
  • Participate in bureau initiatives as appropriate and contribute to the work of associated committees, working parties and projects
  • To achieve 5 CPD points per quarter and log these in the CPD log

Service Delivery

  • Provide Advice and Information to Help Through Hardship Helpline clients by telephone and if required by email, working from the office and/or from home as specified in your contract
  • To work in accordance with Help Through Hardship requirements.
  • Ensure that systems are developed and maintained for case recording, statistics, follow-up work and quality control, in partnership with other members of the team.
  • To be a team player and attend meetings as necessary
  • To meet the targets set out in the contracted KPI’s for the project
  • The contract operates between 9am and 5pm so you need to ensure coverage for the service between these times.
  • Telephone platform codes used correctly to ensure we meet the KPI for availability, to contribute to 80% availability for the whole team.


  • To ensure effective and efficient administrative systems are maintained
  • Abide by the health and safety policy with regard to staff, equipment and premises with statutory requirements
  • To record an account of the client’s circumstances and the advice and information given to them on Casebook together with their name and personal details if they are prepared to provide this information, including outcomes.
  • To work in accordance with the requirements of Data Protection
  • Recording the appropriate legal basis depending on the client circumstances for client consents
  • Collect and report such statistical information with regard to client contacts, advice given and workload as required

Training, development and recruitment

  • Keep up to date with legislation, case law, policies and procedures relating to relevant subject areas and undertake appropriate training
  • Read relevant publications provided by the Bureau
  • Attend relevant internal and external meetings as agreed with the line manager
  • Prepare for and attend supervision sessions/team meetings as appropriate internally and externally
  • Assist with service initiatives for the improvement of services and make recommendations where improvements can be made
  • To ensure that you make time in your own calendar, for your own development (each month)
  • During a 12-month period, you achieve the equivalent of 20 CPD points and record these within your own learning account.

Research and campaigns (Social Policy)

  • Assist with social policy work by providing information about clients’ circumstances, either anonymously or with the client’s consent, raising as evidence forms on casebook.
  • Provide statistical information on the number of clients and nature of cases and provide regular reports to Bureau management
  • Monitor service provision to ensure that it reaches the widest possible client group
  • Alert other staff to local and national issues
  • Liaise with statutory and non-statutory organisations and represent the Service on outside bodies as appropriate

Other duties, and responsibilities

All staff at CCAB are required to:

  • Have a full commitment to the aims and vision for the organisation as laid out in the business plan and take part in annual processes such as business plan reviews, production of annual and other reports, etc.
  • Have a commitment to on-going change management in order to achieve those aims and objectives
  • Have an understanding of and commitment to, the aims and principles of the service and its equal opportunities/diversity policies
  • Have an active commitment to promoting Social Policy/Research and Campaigning as a key driver for effecting a positive change for our clients
  • Have a commitment to working as a team player – supporting and respecting each other in a time of limited staff resource – having a flexible approach to covering functions that may be outside a specific job
  • Abide by health and safety guidelines and share responsibility for your own safety and that of colleagues
  • Undertake duties in a resource efficient way, minimising impacts to the environment wherever possible
  • Undertake any other duties connected with the operation of the Bureau as may be required from time to time
  • To follow Citizens Advice Core values at all times

Person Specification

Factor Essential Desirable
Experience ·       Experience of providing Generalist advice

·       Experience of using a benefit calculator to estimate client’s probable awards

·       Experience of providing advice to maximise someone’s income

·       CAB certificate of general advice
Knowledge ·       Understanding of the benefits system

·       Completed the generalist advice programme on Skillbook

·       Completed Help Through Hardship training modules

·       Understanding of other related benefits, debt and housing
Skills and competencies ·       Ability to implement and promote equal opportunities policies and relate to clients in a non-judgmental way

·       Numeracy skills for monitoring and analysis of statistical information for project funders and management

·       Ability to prioritise and manage own workload.

·       Effective oral and written communication skills with particular emphasis on ability to work with a wide cross-section of clients, reports and correspondence

·       Competent at using computers and other IT equipment and resources to facilitate supervision and case checking

·       Proficient typist

·       Ordered approach to the prioritisation and management of work and an ability and willingness to follow and develop procedures

·       Ability and willingness to work as part of a team and to maintain a positive attitude whilst under pressure

·       Is resilient & able to deal with clients who are in crisis and have complex, urgent issues.

·       Ability to problem solve and think on your feet

·       Has completed & passed the Help Through Hardship training and assessments


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