A REDUCTION in funding support to Carmarthenshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau by £35,000 this financial year has been deferred for a year by the county council.
Executive board members agreed the move at its meeting on Monday (October 23) to help avoid staff cuts, possible closure or reduction in opening hours.
Executive board member for finance, budget and corporate efficiencies, Cllr David Jenkins, told his colleagues the authority’s full funding for 2016-17 was £162,510.
The Bureau has historically received grant funding from the council through a service level agreement to provide specific services.
Cllr Jenkins said the county council’s funding support to the Bureau made up the vast majority of the organisation’s core funding and this was seen as important leverage to draw in other external finance.
He said as part of the authority’s budget efficiency programme 2017/18 it was proposed to reduce funding in the next year by £35,000 and by the same amount for the following three years.
The budget responsibility for Citizens Advice Bureau was transferred from public protection to the chief executive’s regeneration and policy division in April this year.
Cllr Jenkins said there had been a budget reduction of £90,000 last year (2016-17) by public protection and it was felt any further reductions at this time would have severe implications on maintaining the current level of service with staff cuts, limited opening hours and client support.
Cllr Jenkins said the Bureau had asked for a reconsideration of the financial reductions and for a full considered consultation to be undertaken with them.
“Officers will use the next few months to review the current service level agreement with the Bureau alongside the wider provision of debt and benefit advice in the county,” said Cllr Jenkins.
The findings of the review will be reported back to the executive board when informed decisions will be taken regarding future funding of the Bureau.
To watch the full debate and access the agenda documents about this discussion at Executive Board, visit the council and democracy section of the council’s website – www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales