The difference we make
Annual Report 2018-19
Advice Dorset Partnership
Purbeck Citizens Advice works in collaboration with other advice agencies across Dorset as a member of the Advice Dorset Partnership. A recent report highlights how this partnership is enabling Dorset residents to access the best advice to address your needs.
Read how Universal Credit is impacting Dorset residents, including some case studies,
British Gas Energy Trust Project
A collaboration was established between a number of advice agencies in Dorset, including local Citizens Advice offices, to help those who have difficulty paying their energy bills, increase their income and get them back on track with energy payments. A brief summary of the outcome is available here and you can read the full report here.
Purbeck Citizens Advice helps many people with a wide variety of issues throughout the year – just look at some examples below.
If we have helped you or someone you know, we would love to be able to share your feedback on our website. Reading about how you have been helped by Citizens Advice will enable others to understand the service we offer and may encourage them to seek our help. Stories can be anonymous and we will always ask for approval before publishing any names. Details of how to contact us are at the bottom on the contact us page.
Our trained advisers are happy to help in a wide variety of situations - even helping you fill out complex forms. One grateful client, recently widowed, increased her income by over £4000 when our adviser helped her complete an attendance allowance form.
Reviewing benefit entitlement
During Energy Week, a client rang to ask for a home visit as she was housebound. She wished to discuss her electricity and gas supplier and we helped her gain a cheaper tariff for her utility bills, and assisted her to set up monthly direct debits.
A quick benefit calculation showed she was entitled to more Pension Credit because of a change of circumstances - something the client hadn’t realised. And spending time with her discussing her increased difficulties with personal care showed she may be entitled to an increase in her attendance allowance. We helped her complete the review form too.
By changing her energy supplier and paying by direct debit her utility bills are now cheaper. Her Pension Credit has increased from £26.52 per week to £161.95 per week, and her Attendance Allowance has increased from the lower rate of £54.45 to £81.30, resulting in a total weekly increase in benefits of £162.28.
Helping with consumer issues
A deaf client received a product safety recall notice which she was fully able to understand, but was unable to communicate over the telephone or by email as required by the manufacturer.
Citizens Advice called the manufacturer and explained the client’s difficulty. Initially the call handler reiterated the policy that the manufacturer required telephone and email details to communicate with a customer.
We then spoke with the supervisor who agreed to request written communication for this client. The client will contact us again if she does not receive communication from the manufacturer.
Getting finances under control
A single pensioner was struggling to make ends meet. They had a mortgage and income consisting of a state pension and a small work pension.
Citizens Advice set up energy and water review appointments, and did a benefit check which revealed that the client would be entitled to Pension Credit and help with council tax and mortgage payments. We helped them apply for Pension Credit and mortgage help, and also the winter fuel payment. During the review we noticed that the water bill was high – the client had a meter and had had a leak in the past. Their water company found there was another leak from the toilet.
The leak was fixed and the client received a refund of £450. Monthly payments were reduced from £60 pm to £8.86 and they received pension credit of 13.75 pw and £55 towards the mortgage every 4 weeks, plus £18 per week towards council tax and £200 winter fuel payment. We also helped the client deal with scam calls they were receiving.
Saving energy costs
A client had an annual energy bill showing a surplus of several hundred pounds and a current direct debit for £127/month. They contacted Citizens Advice for an energy review.
We looked at a comparison site which indicated that significant savings could be made. Citizens Advice contacted the energy supplier who advised that the client could immediately be moved to a better tariff.
The supplier made the tariff switch and advised that this will be in place for 18 months after which the standard tariff would apply. They also processed the repayment of the credit that had built up. The standing charge for both gas and electricity went down from 26.09p to 20.54p. The unit cost for electricity went down from 13.82p to 12.37p and gas from 3.80p to 3.27p. In addition, the client’s monthly direct debit was reduced from £127 to £44.67. They couldn’t believe how much less they would be spending on energy.
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