Agenda item

Maldon Citizens Advice - Funding Request

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed) and to receive a presentation from the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Maldon Citizens Advice.


The Council considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members’ consideration of a request from the Maldon Citizens Advice (MCA) for a review of its funding. 


The report outlined the work of the MCA under the contract it had with the Council.  It was noted that an increase to funding for 2023 / 24 had been requested to recognise the additional demands on the service and to help retain experienced debt advisors to support residents through the current financial difficulties.


The Customers, Community and Casework Manager introduced the report advising that since its publication the MCA had secured some additional funding and were now only requesting consideration of an inflationary increase.  The Committee received a presentation from Mr Wakeling, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of MCA.  During his presentation Mr Wakeling advised that the additional £14,000 had now been secured through the National Citizens Advice.  He outlined how the MCA supported the Council’s commitment to ‘Healthy, Safe and Vibrant Communities’ and provide a strong return on the Council’s investment.  In response to a question Mr Wakeling informed Members that the MCA had since June 2022 secured £70,000 of funding.


Several Members referred to the excellent service provided by the MCA and the savings to the Council as a result of this contract.


Members were advised that as part of the existing contract there was a provision that within any year the MCA could come back to make a funding request in relation to that financial year.  It was clarified that the requested 6% inflationary increase, if agreed, would only be applied to the 2023 / 24 financial year with any future years reverting back to the fixed contract price of £75,000.  To apply an ongoing inflationary increase would require a change to the Service Level Agreement and this was not before Members for consideration.


Councillor Mrs P A Channer referred to the assistance given to the Council by the MCA and proposed that the Council considered applying an inflationary increase of 6% to the Advice Services Contract.  This proposal was duly seconded. 


During the debate that followed it was requested that the following information be provided to assist the Council by way of clarification prior to making decision regarding the requested increase in funding:


·                 Acknowledging that inflation increases were being faced by all business, clarification was sought as to what the inflationary request related, i.e., staffing.


·                 Details of the services being provided by Chelmsford Citizens Advice in relation to the amount of money they received from Chelmsford City Council.


·                 A breakdown of the accounts for the MCA and Chelmsford Citizens Advice for comparison purposes.


·                 Details of the impact on risks to the Council if the Council was not to grant the inflationary increase or have the MCA. 


The Chairman reiterated the great service provided by the MCA and clarified that the Committee was not looking to remove this but ensure the Committee had carried out due diligence in respect of spending additional tax-payers money.  She then put the proposal in the name of Councillor Mrs Channer to the Committee advising that the additional information would be requested.  This was duly agreed.


RECOMMENDED that Members consider applying an inflationary increase of 6% to the Advice Services Contract, totaling £4,500.

Supporting documents: