Birmingham's Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) offices will close in three weeks unless it can raise £50,000 per month to continue.
The centre says that without the money its five "open door" offices, which provide drop-in advice sessions to the public, will shut on 11 February.
A CAB spokesman said the city council had decided to end its funding, worth £600,000 per year.
The council said it had made it clear funding could not be guaranteed.
Last year, the service helped 56,000 people.
Yvonne Davies, chief executive officer for Birmingham's CAB said: "We simply cannot operate the service without funding."
Ms Davies said Birmingham was the largest Citizens' Advice Bureau in the country, also delivering a hospital outreach service, outlets in children centres and offering specialist advice about debt and welfare benefits.
"Many of the areas serviced by our Bureaux rank as the most deprived in the country," she said.
The CAB's open door service is maintained by money from the city council, she said.
She added the council had decided to cut all funding used to support free and independent advice services.
Instead, the authority is to designate a smaller pot of money open to bids from the organisations which will be allocated in £50,000 blocks. These will not be available until at least August, she said.
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Jan 27, 2011 15:33:58 GMT
A staff member from Birmingham Tribunal Unit has said on Rightsnet:
"Just wanted to clarify the current position in Birmingham. BTU is not the only organisation under threat of closure. The city council has provided funding to 13 voluntary sector advice agencies for many years. All of them have had their funding terminated. New funding is unlikely to be availabe before August this year. Even if any of the agencies can survive until the Autumn (which is highly unlikely for most) there is no guarantee that they will successfully bid for the new funding because it will be put out to tender and opened out to private as well as voluntary sector agencies"
Post by Patrick Torsney on Feb 1, 2011 13:38:38 GMT
Latest press release from BBC Birmingham just in:
Plea to government on Birmingham Citizens' Advice cuts
The government has been asked to intervene after the Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) said it may have to close five of its offices in Birmingham.
The service said that unless it can raise £50,000 per month five offices, which provide public drop-in advice sessions, will shut on 11 February.
Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Hall Green, has tabled a Commons motion over the matter.
He said the city council made an "ill-conceived" decision to stop funding.
The CAB said the city council which had provided it with £600,000 per year had decided to stop its funding of the service, .
Last year CAB helped 56,000 people, a spokeswoman said.
Mr Godsiff called on the government to intervene and ring-fence CAB funding in the city and across the country.
A city council spokesman said the council's Conservative/Lib Dem coalition cabinet had always made it clear that funding was not guaranteed beyond any single year, up to a maximum of three years. Meetings are being held with the CAB, he said.
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Apr 1, 2011 15:05:27 GMT
Not strictly about Legal Aid (or directly about Birmingham CAB) but this is interesting:
" Decision to axe £1.4m funding for Birmingham voluntary groups ruled unlawful
by Paul Dale, Birmingham Post Apr 1 2011
A decision to axe a £1.4 million funding package for 13 voluntary organisations, including the Citizens Advice Bureau, was unlawful, a High Court Judge has ruled.
Mr Justice Blake said a Birmingham City Council decision to stop giving money to groups such as the Citizens Advice Bureau was “clearly defective” and that councillors appeared not to understand their obligations under the Race Relations Act, Sex Discrimination Act and Disability Discrimination Act.
Council leaders failed to take proper account of the impact that withdrawing grants would have on disabled and vulnerable people, the judge added.
No consultation was carried out with people who would suffer because of the funding cuts, neither did the cabinet consider other ways of helping the organisations to identify alternative funding.
Although council officers drew up an Equality Impact Needs Assessment it was defective and did not address the real issues, the judge said.
Mr Justice Blake allowed a judicial review by users of the three of the affected organisations – the Birmingham Tribunal Unit, the Chinese Community Centre and St James’s Advice Centre – and ordered the council to continue to pay them a total of £25,000 a month until the cabinet can reconsider the matter and reach a lawful decision based on effective consultation.
In reality, the decision means that the three bodies will continue to receive council cash at least until June.
The judge was critical of the cabinet’s decision to cut funding from this March, when a commissioning process to approve a new grant regime would not be completed until July, leaving a four-month gap when the 13 groups would receive no money at all from the council."