Skip the primary navigation if you do not want to read it as the next section.
Skip the main content if you do not want to read it as the next section.
|AdviceUK Development Consultant Mick Watson speaks about why Government, local councils and funders need to re-evaluate their approach to funding advice. |
As public spending cuts draw nearer and with more people seeking independent advice, AdviceUK thinks it’s time for Government, local councils and funders to re-evaluate their approach to funding advice. They should understand the positive impact that advice services can have - improving public services, saving money and empowering citizens.
Demand for advice, particularly in difficult economic times, outstrips supply. This is compounded by the fact that recent research shows that nearly a third of the capacity of advice agencies is spent dealing with work generated by the failure of public bodies to get services right .
Advice services are also forced by funding conditions into bureaucracy that is of no discernible benefit to the person seeking advice. Imagine how many more people could be helped or how the quality of services could be improved if these factors were removed.
Research also indicates that advice services with a human face achieve better results . But public service failure, funding conditions and competitive tendering practices mean that advice services are becoming dehumanised.
We are not asking for a bigger pot of money for our members, as we know that in the current economic climate this would be futile. Instead, our Smart Advice campaign is focused on aiding Government, local councils and funders to provide the landscape for advice services to realise their potential as vital components of a modern democratic society. More intelligent thinking about diverse advice provision will enable advice services to contribute to meeting social, economic, community and health needs.
Smartly funded and designed independent advice services can play a huge role in helping central and local government reduce cost and waste and improve public services. Making benefits, tax credits and other system better could save millions of pounds.
But first, thinking has to change. Improvements in services don’t come from top-down solutions. They come from gaining absolute knowledge about demand, need and delivery, real, purpose driven collaboration and intelligent, outcomes- focused funding.
Such new thinking is being put into practice. AdviceUK is working with Nottingham City Council and Advice Nottingham who are redesigning their advice services.
It is now time for the Government and others to follow this lead.
It is time to think again. It is time to think smart about advice.
To learn more visit: http://www.adviceuk.org.uk/smartadvice
Time Well Spent, Council on Social Action, 2009 [pdf document].