The history of the Citizens Advice Service
The origins of a Citizens Advice Service can be traced back to 1924 and the Betterton Report on Public Assistance which recommended that advice centres should be set up in order to advise members of the public.
In 1938 the National Council of Social Services decided that a Citizens Advice Service should be established throughout the country to meet the needs of the public during war time.
War was declared on the 3rd September 1939 and the first 200 bureaux opened the following day.
From the start the service was delivered by volunteers, something that has continued to the present day. During the war the number of bureaux peaked at 1074 and the types of problems they faced were lost ration books, homelessness and debt.
After the war funding was cut and the number of Citizens Advice Bureaux halved.
In 1960 government funding for the national body was restored which went toward supporting 416 bureaux. By 1965 the total number of enquiries reached 1.25 million.
In the 1970’s consumer protection became a priority and a government grant was given to the National Association of Citizen Advice Bureaux to extend its network.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s two recessions and changes to the benefits system saw an increase in need for advice services. Demand saw the launch of an online information service which enabled people to access advice and information at any given time.
The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux changed its name to Citizens Advice and it became the first in the advice sector to audit the quality of its advice. An independently commissioned review concluded that the Citizens Advice Service provided excellent value for the funding that it received. A report in 2009 stated that nearly half of the population has used Citizens Advice at some point during their lives.
In 2013/2014 three hundred and nineteen Citizens Advice bureaux delivered advice at 3,300 hundred locations across England and Wales. It has 21,500 volunteers whose work has an estimated market value of £110 million.
Burnley & Pendle Citizens Advice
Burnley Citizens Advice was one of the first to open in 1939 and was run for forty years by the Council for Voluntary Services. Existing in its current form since 2005, the service is now located at Lodge House, Cow lane, Burnley.
The Pendle Citizens Advice Bureau was launched in 1976 and has been in its current location on Every Street, Nelson since 2001.
In 2011 both services merged to become Burnley & Pendle Citizens Advice. The service employs both paid and volunteer staff members who provide a service to approximately 6,000 people per year in Burnley, Nelson, Barnoldswick and Colne.
Our Charity is funded through grants received from Burnley and Pendle Borough Councils and project grants from other funders including the Money Advice Service and Big Lottery Fund.