Citizens Advice Wokingham offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice and information. We are a local charity, based in Waterford House in central Wokingham. At Waterford House we offer face-to-face, telephone and email assessments and advice by appointment. We also offer face-to-face assessments and advice by appointment at our Headley Road office in central Woodley. We also help clients with rent or mortgage possession hearings at Reading County Court.
Our team of eight staff and eighty five volunteers are committed to giving high quality client centred information and advice and all have a commitment to equality and diversity.
Aims & Principles of Citizens Advice
The Citizens Advice service provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. It values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination.
Our service aims:
- To provide the advice people need for the problems they face
- To improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives
The Trustee Board
All local Citizens Advice offices are local independent charities, governed by their own board of trustees, who are ultimately responsible for the quality and range of the service. Day-to-day control is delegated to the managers although the Trustees:
- hold staff accountable, and are ultimately accountable for the activities of Citizens Advice Wokingham
- provide leadership to all at Citizens Advice Wokingham
- develop policy
- provide strategic management
- are responsible for compliance with relevant laws and Citizens Advice membership requirements
How we use your experience to help others
Some recent case studies
The client had mental health issues, was receiving Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Reduction (CTR) and had significant debts (including with HMRC). She had started self-employed work and as a result her income based benefits stopped. A benefit check resulted in us helping her with new HB & CTR claims. We considered her income and expenditure and prepared a detailed, realistic financial statement in order to assess all her options. Two were identified; try to get her debts written off on the grounds of long term health issues and bankruptcy. Unfortunately, there was not enough evidence for a write off on health grounds so the client opted for bankruptcy. Whilst the bankruptcy was finalised we negotiated a hold on bailiff action. The bankruptcy completed and she successfully had over £50,000 of debt written off. The client told us that this had a positive effect on her mental health and ability to manage her day to day affairs. She is now able to maintain her self-employment and sustain a regular income.
The client and his wife, both retired, had been receiving Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Reduction (CTR) for a number of years. Their middle-aged son lived with them. Following a review the council discovered that the son, who had previously been unemployed, had taken a job some years previously.
This led to a benefit overpayment of many thousands of pounds. The client told us that they had little formal education and that they both struggled with reading. Both had great difficulty in understanding the benefit award letters and whenever they received a revised award they would telephone the council to check how much rent they had to pay. Their knowledge of how benefits were calculated was also limited. They did not realise that the change in their son’s employment status, which they had reported, had not been taken into account by the council. We helped the client appeal against the overpayment and a tribunal decided that the client was not liable to pay back the money.
Now that clients no longer have to pay Employment Tribunal fees we find that employers are more prepared to reach negotiated settlements rather than risk a tribunal hearing. This client had worked for a national mobile phone retailer. Nearly a year after resigning, he received a letter stating that he had been over-paid by a total of £3,724. The Company claimed that he was paid for a whole month in error and that he had received sick pay he was not entitled to.
The Client was now out of work and was unable re-pay this amount. Following a detailed review of all his information and payslips by our Employment Specialist it became clear that the calculation was suspect. The specialist also felt that with a delay of a year there were grounds for disputing the validity of their claim. It was also apparent that the Client hadn’t received the correct notice pay on leaving. As a result, a counter claim for £7,200 was made on behalf of the Client. The Company rejected this and continued to seek repayment. We then threatened to escalate to an Employment Tribunal. As a result, the Company dropped its claim for repayment of £3,724 and instead paid the Client a total of £7,000.